is it abuse/neglect?

Sarah - posted on 05/19/2011 ( 40 moms have responded )

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i have a friend -two, really, a mother and her daughter who is 19 - who live downstairs from me. the mother has a 6 year old daughter, and the 19 year old has a two year old son. i could write a book about the issues these people have, but for this purpose i am focusing on the health and safety of the toddler.



while i have never witnessed the 19yo spank the boy or hit him in anger, she does things like eat her food before feeding him, even with him crying in front of her, specifically to spite her mother, because, as she has stated to me, she doesn't like being told what to do, and won't until she's ready. she says things like 'i don't want to deal with you,' and 'you're getting on my nerves,' directly to the boy.



the adults in the family stay up until 2am most nights and sleep until noon at the earliest. the 6 year old has missed school many times simply because her mother didn't get up. i know this because i'm the one who drives her to school (which has become a huge issue recently, i'll post on that later). because of the adults sleeping all day, the boy stays in his crib, alone in the room he shares with his mother because she sleeps on the couch. because of this, he is constantly in a dirty diaper. the apartment smells horrible. he doesn't get diaper rash, but i still think it is unhealthy.



he hasn't spoken yet. i know children develop at different rates, but i am concerned it is a symptom of neglect.



also, the 19yo smokes marijuana in the bathroom and living room almost daily, many times a day. never when the boy is in the room, but she is pretty much constantly high. all she ever wants to do is hang out with her friends and leaves her son with her mother more than twice a week, conservatively. her mother has no control over any of her 4 kids (3 who live with her) and they do whatever they want. all she does is cry and complain.



i decided to look into state and federal definitions of abuse and neglect and find out what i can or even should do, because a friend posted something about being the voice for children because 'you may be the only one,' and i was overcome with guilt. the laws i have found aren't specific enough for me, which is why i come to you all for your opinions and advice.



i appreciate anything and everything anyone can tell me.i'll report back what happens, in the interest of helping others in similar situations.



thanks!

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jenni - posted on 05/20/2011

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I don't think defining whether it's abuse or neglect in this situation is really important.
This story really makes me upset. There are obvious signs of neglect, for sure. If the parents are sleeping until noon, who the heck is watching the 2 year old in the morning?
The 19 year old sounds unbelievably selffish that she would be that spiteful to make her son go hungry and cry just to get back at her mom. That's disgusting behaviour.

If she is using drugs around the kids, that will have CPS removing the children in a second.

If the appartment is unsanitary that will be another check mark for CPS.

But, bottom line... call CPS and leave it up to them to decide what issues need to be addressed and what the appropriate course of action should be.

They may not remove the children, depending on what they find. But it *may* be a wake up call for them. And CPS will continue to check up on them if they find anything at all that's suspicious.

Lillian - posted on 10/25/2011

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In Canada, where we live, if you have even the slightest suspicion of child abuse, you are legally responsible to report it. If there is nothing wrong with the situation then the investigation will be closed but if there is then you will have saved the children more suffering and pain. I wish some one would have done something for my adopted daughter earlier. As it has taken almost 3 years for her to become a normal child and to work out her anger and pain.

Melanie - posted on 05/20/2011

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you can always report it and if child protective services doesnt find neglect then alls well that ends well. i was investigated once when a neighbor who was jealous called on me. they told me he clearly wasnt neglected because he kept coming up to me and telling me things and showing me things, basically interupting. she said neglected kids dont do that. if theres nothing to worry about cps will go away

Tracy - posted on 05/19/2011

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I would say if your concerned then report it. The authorities will deal with it and know what the laws etc are.

Sarah - posted on 05/19/2011

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It sounds like neglect to me. Really, I feel that I agree with your friend, if you have concerns about the child's well-being I think you should report it. There are many different kinds of abuse, emotional is included in such definitions. Really, it is a parent's responsibility to provide a safe, nurturing environment for their child free of abuse, neglect, and emotional turmoil. If they are not meeting these requirements, it may be in the childs best interest to have their home environment investigated. You can report your concerns anonymously if you so choose.

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Allison Danette - posted on 02/13/2014

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how many hours can a person leave there child in bed before it is considered neglect/abuse ? i am grandma & i have some concerns

Mel - posted on 05/21/2011

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yeah not a good situation. Most people I know do leave thier babies iwth thier parents on a daily basis so they can go out or go to the clubs every weekend, but this case definately sounds unfair, kids dont learn without being taught, my friend and I had this discussion the other day, how people say to us how clever our girls are and we have to say its not about being clever, we read to our kids we sit down and play wit them, kids just just know thier ABCs , numbers , colours, shapes you have to teach the so defiately Id be concerned about him not speaking. Id try my hardest to get someone to come investigation. Id keep calling CPS til they do something

Stephanie - posted on 05/21/2011

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As a social worker I would say that there is a great need to make a report to CPS if you have not done so. If you truly care about the children you will make the report!! Cps may not remove the children, that isn't the goal. The last thing they want to do is remove a child , they can provide services to the family and offer support to them in order to make the changes needed to keep the children and to provide saftey and security to them and their lives. I highly encourage you to call because the children are young and it sounds like they are at risk.

Schyla - posted on 05/21/2011

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call Child Services make a report tell them what you know and let them handle it. also tell them you wish to remain anonymous and KEEP CALLING till they do something about it. If you hear the kid crying call both of those kids need someone to stand up for them

Wendy - posted on 05/21/2011

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if you have concern thats enough. just the things you posted are a concern who knows what else....dont forget you dont need to prove anything just report your concern end of..........it will be investigated ...to not report is negligent on your part if you think about it........;)

Jennie - posted on 05/21/2011

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Your responsibility is to report it, they will investigate and determine what is needed. Listen to your instincts and report them so this family can get the help they desperately need.

[deleted account]

i would defo report it say for instance this child gets his dinner at 5pm then the adults arnt waking up till 2pm this child is going hungry for almost 20 hrs

JuLeah - posted on 05/21/2011

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You make the call, saying everything you have said here, and they evaluate. They will or won't come out, they will or won't take action once they do. That is out of your hands. They might respond becuase one kid is just two, but given the abuse they have on their case load, they might not.

Rebecca - posted on 05/21/2011

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Call CPS and let them make the decision. Your friend is right - so many children of abuse/neglect would certainly have been in a different state now if only someone had cared enough to make the call.

CHERYL - posted on 05/21/2011

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It's neglect you can call DFC department of children service, they can come and take them away. You dont have to give your name, or you can write to them and not sign your name. I did the same when I saw a pregnant mom grab one of her sons by the arm and shoved him down and smack both hard.She kept jerking the boy she had hold of his arm., and yelling at the top of her lungs over him going down the hill
Look up online for your nearest DFC and they will go right over with the cops at once.

Christy - posted on 05/20/2011

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In my opinion, you should call child protective services. Give them the details you gave us. That two year old deserves more and that 19 year old needs to grow up or not be a parent. I don't know whether or not they'd take the six year old since she is in school, but if there's signs of neglect while she's home, they'll pull her from the home as well. Those kids deserve so much more. You can ask to be anonymous, although I wouldn't be surprised if they figured out it was you that called, but who cares really. Those little ones do need someone to speak up for them.

Denise - posted on 05/20/2011

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I worked CPS in NC for 6 yrs. According to what you have stated, the young Mom smoking marijuana around the child (in the same house if not the same room IS neglect. The eating in front of him before feeding him to spite her mother is IGNORANCE; but not neglect. Missing school is a concern which should have been addressed by the school system; but make sure to mention it in your report to CPS. Leaving that baby in a dirty diaper for long periods of time is MIND BOGGZLING and makes me angry; but if there have been no adverse reactions/medical issues because of it, it does not rise to the level of neglect on its own. Lastly, leaving the baby with the grandmother so much is shameful (in my opinion); but again, it isn't neglect b/c the grandmother will be seen as an "appropriate" caretaker unless she has documented or observable issues which prevent her from being appropriate. Last; but not least: DO MAKE THE REPORT! Please remember the drugs is the neglect issue and the other stuff exacerbates the neglect/situation. Good luck, and thank you for being the voice for these children. Hopefully, the mother will learn to provide proper care and supervision. If not, CPS will make a determination once they become involved.

Laura - posted on 05/20/2011

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The safety and health of the children are at stake. Call your local child protective services and let them handle an investigation. As stated before, if they do not find any wrong-doing then no harm, no foul. If, however, they determine otherwise, you may have just helped provide safety and security to the kids in that situation. Call right away and good luck!

Patricia - posted on 05/20/2011

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I think it is so sad. It is definitely neglect which is as bad as abuse. If we, as adults do not do anything, who will help this child? I would call DHS. They will investigate without getting you involved.

Amanda - posted on 05/20/2011

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i am not really sure what needs to be done in this situation...frankly they are neglecting the children and if it was me i would have to call someone or say something...otherwise i was never really in a situation like this and do not know what u need to do. (sounds like the mother needs super nanny)..

Theresa - posted on 05/20/2011

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Call social services and report everything. Keep records and continue calling them with each new thing that comes up. It is their job to look into the things you've reported and decide if there is neglect and/or abuse.



I can't believe the school isn't doing something about the child that's missing so much. They should be reporting that.

Debbie - posted on 05/20/2011

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You need to get in touch with the Child Welfare Agency. Do it annomously; but help these children. They need your help; they don't know any better.

Kaddie - posted on 05/20/2011

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First off I think that it is a little of child neglect. Either of them should be doing that to a child. I think the best thing for you to do is get involved.

Didi - posted on 05/20/2011

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I would call CPS and at least put this woman on their radar because it may not be bad enough for them to be taken away right now but it could get worse!

Kathy - posted on 05/20/2011

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Talk to the school counselor. Because the 6 year old is a student, the counselor may be able to give you advice. The school may also be documenting problems they see and would welcome your information.

Tina - posted on 05/20/2011

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If you do not want to call CPS talk to the girls school when you drop her off. A school is required to report neglect or abuse if they even suspect it. I know it can be hard I have been there. I had to call on a friend of mine for the sake of my God Daughter. I worry everyday about them, I cut off contact 4 years ago because of my own children. I wish I would have done more. Don't sit and worry about the what if's like i am and do what you know is right for the sake of the children.

Jackie - posted on 05/20/2011

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I would call CPS and have them investigate and let a professional make the decision.

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There are issues that would raise red flags.I think maybe a call would be beneficial to this family.If anything to make them sit up and take notice of there actions/parenting choices

Jennifer - posted on 05/20/2011

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The key items a social worker will look at is the dirty diapers, Truancy and the drug use. Feeding the child after she has eaten isn't considered abuse and as long as there is food in the house, and the child is fed they won't do anything about it. The dirty diaper is a health issue as is the drug use. The Truancy CAN be considered neglect depending on how often it happens and how good the records are that the school keeps. I would call protective services and have them investigate. You do not have to give your name and you can remain anonymous if you want.

Brittany - posted on 05/20/2011

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The 19 year old sounds like another Casie Anthony to me. that is scary. I would call DCF and take advice from them as to how to proceed. Someone needs to be looking out for these children, and it doesn't appear to be the parents.

Angela - posted on 05/20/2011

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Of course the children are being neglected, but unfortunately CPS may not be able to remove the children unless they can prove the environment poses a physical danger. The truth is that your friends have very poor parenting skills like so many others. Most of the time by the time parents are charged with neglect or abuse it's after the child has suffered or too late. Those poor kids may not have any signs of physical damages at this point but will probably display mental and emotional scares later in life. God bless the children. Some how many children survive bad parenting. Maybe calling CPS will give them a wake up call.

Amber - posted on 05/20/2011

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I would definitley say neglect - which to me is abuse. I am the mother of a 6 year old and an 18 month old and I can't imagine treating either of them like this. How terrible for those children! While it's hard to report something like that, due to a friendship with the mother, the safety and health of the children are much more important. No child deserves to be treated that way. And maybe a visit from CPS would change the outlooks of the mothers.

Stifler's - posted on 05/20/2011

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And I don't think sleeping until noon while your kids are left to their own devices is any kind of parenting style so I don't think you're being judgmental on parenting styles at all.

Stifler's - posted on 05/20/2011

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Yeah I agree this sounds like crazy shit. Personally I'd call CPS. She definitely needs some help.

Crystal - posted on 05/20/2011

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there is a song that maybe you should lission to... it is called Alyssa lies. It's about this kind of thing. But first call CPS. No matter if they are friends or not. Your loyalties should be with the child first and last. They can not speak for them self YOU have to.

Blackwood - posted on 05/20/2011

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You know the issue is wrong, and you really should step up, sometimes there are people put in people's life to deal with issue they themselves can't. This is so sad that these children are growing up without a happy childhood. I would get involved without them knowing I was involve, it's okay to not tell the family or indicate that you are the one to do so. These children don't have a voice, you need to give it too them, if you don't you will always wonder. If you feel there is something wrong, then make the call and then let pretective services decide. You did you're part. Best of luck, this is a sad and just plain stupid situtaion. The more I write about it the angery it makes me. To sit there and let a child cry becuz you are being mean or doing what you want is just so sad. These children are not being "loved" the way the should be.

Krista - posted on 05/20/2011

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I think it's absolutely neglect. That poor baby -- what kind of sicko lets her hungry toddler cry, and eats in front of him, just to spite her own mother?

Nikki - posted on 05/20/2011

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I would certainly ring CPS. That poor little boy, this story makes me so sad. Leaving a child in a cot without feeding and changing them is certainly neglect.

Sarah - posted on 05/20/2011

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thanks for your advice and concern, ladies.



i guess the reason i'm asking at all is because it's so hard to be sure these days what is abuse or neglect and what is simply different parenting styles. the fact that i've been on friendly terms with them in the recent past makes it harder, to a degree, to decide to 'go behind their backs' to the authorities.



and know that i have brought the issue up with them, several times, as tactfully as possible. i'm always met with defensiveness and certainty that they're not doing anything harmful or wrong.



and i think part of me is upset knowing i've had to let go of friends... :/ c'est la vie, n'est-ce pas?



but i agree that there are professionals better suited to determine the children's health and safety than i, and i thank you all again for voicing your concern and helping me with this.

Louise - posted on 05/20/2011

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I would inform the authorities that you feel both children are being neglected. Keeping a child in the cot until noon and in the same nappy is neglect. I am surprised the school have not already logged a complaint if the 6 year old is missing school. There is no way I could settle knowing this is going on downstairs without trying to do the best by those kids. You do not have to leave your name when making a report, all you want is for the kids to have basic human rights and that means three meals a day and stimulation and love. It seems to me they are unloved, unkept and ignored. Make that call today!

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