When to call children services... on a family member

Jenni - posted on 09/19/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am in a bit of turmoil right now. My brother, while I love him dearly, seems to be struggling as a parent. He lives in our parents' basement, where he's been for years. He had a girlfriend and when she got pregnant she moved in. They have 2 children together, 6 and 8, and broke up 2 years ago and them she moved out. Since the breakup they have both gone downhill. My brother was found guilty of an assault charge by his kids' mom and also violated a PFA (also by her) and was arrested. The reason they broke up was his periodical drinking and drug abuse, which continues off and on to this day. He was charged with a DUI this past summer and spent time in jail again. He now has a suspended license and no car. When I visit family he's just in the basement not spending time with his kids. The kids, a boy and girl, share a room in the basement when they are there on the weekends. Now my brother has a girlfriend, who had 2 drug charges on her from last year and she had her baby taken from her. But this is the person my brother allows to drive around his kids and watch them and talks of moving in with her in their own place.

The former girlfriend, mother of the children, isn't much better. She leaves the kids with her mom to go out drinking and is now unemployed. She was fired for poor performance and is having serious depression issues. Every time the kids go back to her, the daughter cries and throws a tantrum. I tried talking toy mom about how these kids aren't getting the stability, love, and attention they needs but she disagrees with me and defends my brother. I offered to take the two kids in our house to help him get on his feet, but she won't hear of it. I work from home, have two great kids, extra room for them, and my husband is a university professor so we have stable income but most importantly, love and patience.

Do I intervene and call children services even though it will start a family war or continue to try to see if my brother gets it together, like my mom says?

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Cecilia - posted on 09/20/2013

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Ok there are different workers through CPS, and usually they don't talk. Reporting is done through a hotline or the sheriff. Then you have an intake worker. They are the one who shows up at houses and checks things out. Lastly you have a caseworker. For placement, you would let the intake worker know ( since he/she would be responsible for placement if removed)

Jenni - posted on 09/20/2013

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We have been trying for about 10 years to get him help. He has only gotten worse. Nothing seems to reach him, even though he knows exactly what he needs to do: stop drinking and doing drugs. He just can't bring himself to do it, despite rehab, AA/NA meetings, counseling, and the support of our parents. I got a text message last night that he just lost his job.

My husband and I are willing and wanting to take in the children. However, we live about 2 hours away from most of the family. We already make regular trips to visit but will increase frequency if necessary, for additional visits, court dates, etc. if we were to get the children. When reporting, do we say we would like to be considered for placement?

The mother's parents would want the children, too, I suspect. However, they have a history of drug abuse though no known criminal record. Their other child, now 21 but still lives with them has an under aged drinking charge from 2-3 years ago. Even though the grandparents don't have an official record, I am hoping the under aged drinking charge would disqualify them from getting the kids. I don't think the environment would be much better. But maybe I'd be disqualified because I live far away? I don't think any other family member could take them in, other than us and the grandparents.

I want to do what's best for these kids and not screw it up. They've already been through enough.

Cecilia - posted on 09/19/2013

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It does not have to start a family war because you can report it without giving your name. That being said I do know as an Aunt to these children it would hurt you to see them taken. Do you have ant other options? Can you get your brother to get help without this step? Can a family member take the children while the parents are working on themselves?

If the kids are removed from him I doubt they would let you keep them during the removal since the father lives there.

It is a tricky situation, try to do what you can to resolve it without calling on them. When you talk to him do it lovingly. Tell him you can imagine it's hard to be a single parent and that you know he wants what is best for his children. You understand he loves them... This way works much better than pointing out faults.

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