Monday, July 11, 2011

The Insanity of Child Abuse Allegations

In our county, if someone calls the child abuse hotline, even if they report something that is legally not abuse, authorities will investigate.

We've now been investigated four times for child abuse. With the exception of one investigation two years ago, that was triggered because our child lied to police and claimed her arm had been dislocated*, everything else we've been investigated for is complete nonsense. Since all of these allegations have been completely bogus, all investigations have cleared us of any wrongdoing.  The charges have been unfounded.

We've been investigated for "forcing" our child to change her name and religion at the time of her adoption (untrue), not allowing post-adoption contact with her birth family (also untrue), sending her to a summer boot camp for troubled kids (true, but not abuse), griping about her annoying behavior (true, but not abuse), and most recently, because our child has been hitting us.

So that big violation of trust?  The crisis counselor filed a child abuse report on us because Danielle was hitting us, we were discussing out-of-home placement, and I'd told the counselor I wasn't going to follow some of her advice, because I disagreed with it.

So let's take a quick look at these allegations, shall we?
  • A child hitting her parents is not child abuse.  It's elder abuse.
  • Considering out-of-home placement is not child abuse, especially when said child has been violent in the home for close to two and a half years.
  • Parents disagreeing with a therapist's advice is not child abuse.

    In this case, the crisis counselor wanted us to buy our daughter a new cell phone, and give her increased freedoms and perks.  It didn't seem like a good idea, since we were debriefing after another episode of our daughter's violence.  Given our troubles over the July 4th weekend, I think restricting, rather than increasing, her freedom is probably the wise choice.
I'm not even sure what to say about this situation, other than I'm pretty unhappy with the crisis counselor at the moment.  I would have understood her actions if she was reporting something that actually could have been considered abuse if it were true, but this is just a complete pile of baloney.

We were investigated and cleared in one day.  The charges were unfounded.

But that one day resulted in a ton of lost productivity at work and caused our child so much anxiety and distress that I can't even describe it.  I am so unhappy about what happened that I don't want the counselor back in our home.  We are done.  She's fired.   Of course firing her is probably unnecessary, as she would have moved on in a week or two anyway.  This agency only provides short-term counseling services.

We spoke to the counselor's supervisor, and at first she tried to hide behind the mandated reporter laws.  That's all well and good, but what was reported was not abuse.  Then, she tried to backpedal and say that the worker had contacted authorities because our child was abusing us, and this simply turned into a miscommunication between her agency and the child welfare people.

I call bullshit.

Seriously.  If you pick up the phone and call the child abuse hotline, what do you think you are doing?  Ordering a pizza?

Give me a break.

The supervisor offered to facilitate a meeting between their agency and the child abuse investigation people.  No thanks.  Danielle has been traumatized enough.  She's terrified of social workers, and each time she is interviewed by one, her reaction is increasingly negative.  This time, she suffered through two hours of a panic attack, complete with vomiting, headache, heart palpitations, and dizziness.  My kid doesn't need to be subjected to more of this.

Then, the supervisor offered to have one final meeting in our home to debrief.

Again, no thanks.  We are done.

It absolutely boggles my mind.  We were turned in because our child is hitting us, we are considering an out-of-home placement, and I told the therapist I won't buy my kid a brand new cell phone a week after she tried to kick me.


* Our child's arm was not, and has never been, dislocated.  The police could plainly see that she had not been injured, but they had to file a report anyway, because Danielle had made the allegation.


  1. You have got to be kidding me.

    This wet-behind-the-ears INTERN reported you for CHILD ABUSE because you wouldn't buy her a new PHONE!?!?! I refuse to buy my 11 year old a phone. AND my 2 year old (who doesn't talk anyway) doesn't have a working phone. Am I next? I also take my 15 year old's phone for disrespect. Is that against the law now? What about shoes? Can I get reported for buying Vans vs Nike?

    If you hear screaming, it's coming from Texas because somebody has lost their everlovin mind.

  2. Here, even if the reports are ruled to be unfounded, it is still a mark against you (unofficially of course). You wouldn't be able to foster or adopt with a record like that. And each further report would be treated with more scrutiny because they would assume you had done wrong, given the 4 prior unfounded reports, and they would try to find something wrong so the 5th report could finally be founded/substantiated. And this is infuriating because in classes, CPS teaches that kids from the system will be like this and make false allegations, yet when they do, the same CPS workers believe the kid, investigate, and assume the foster/adoptive parent is at fault and/or doing an inadequate job. The whole system is so broken.

    But this? This idiotic and incompetent worker should be fired from the agency immediately. Really? Reporting on your for being abused? For not rewarding bad behavior with a new cell phone? WTF!?!

    Sorry you had to go through this again.

  3. Wow... All I can say is I'm sorry. That... and I hope I am not now or ever will be "one of those people" while working in the system.

  4. I would be naming that person all over the internet. (Send it to me and I will.)

    It's important for other parents to know that someone who may be providing services to their kid ratting parents out to CPS for frivolous and unnecessary reasons.

    But that's just me.


  5. I know that parenting a kid who has been through trauma can trigger big emotions - and when the parents look triggered, it looks like the parents are driving the machine. And in truth, after years of enduring the challenges of parenting kids like Danielle, it does seem that sometimes the kids hand the keys right on over and the parents really are doing the driving. That may be what the caseworker thought she saw. Even so, it's too bad she didn't offer more services in either case, rather than hotline the call. I can't imagine being a caseworker and not laying it all out there before making a call. Really bad practice.

  6. Wow. As I understand internship and mandated reporting, it would be SOP for the intern to discuss this with her supervisor PRIOR to reporting, so that someone with experience could evaluate the necessity. Do you know if that happened or the intern went off half-cocked? Are these counselors part of the same system that hatched Nasty #7? I'm really sorry you guys have been so abused.

  7. We have neighbors who have EIGHT children in a three bedroom home. There is one queen size bed in the home that sits on the floor. It's covered in stains, has no sheets, and quite frankly, it smells... There is a couch and a love seat that two of the children sleep on. The rest of the children sleep on the floor (Ironically enough, in this state, it's not required that your children have a bed to sleep in). There is food on the floor, and dog feces litters the floor. One of the two toilets is completely stopped up to the brim with feces and urine. One room of the house is scattered with clothes that reek of urine. Half the month there is no electricity or running water. The children will go to neighbors asking for food and water, sometimes being caught taking showers in water hoses from the surrounding houses. The mother is there maybe once or twice a week to drop off food, and to be there when she KNOWS social services is coming out for one reason or another. Social services has been called time and time again, yet this mother maintains all her children because social services says they have no room or resources to take all these children in. The calls to complain go on deaf ears. The workers who come and investigate stand on the porch refusing to enter into the home. It's disheartening that calls like these go ignored, and yet calls to homes like yours and others like yours get investigated to the fullest extent of the law, almost bordering harassment.


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