My Experience With Child Protective Services

In a couple earlier posts Parental Support During My Time of Crisis and Why A Strong Support Group is Important, I talked a little bit about how an attack on my son and I had gotten social services involved.

For those of you who have not ever had any interaction with social services, consider yourselves very lucky. In some cases once social services gets involved with your family, it can be pretty hard to get rid of them. Social Services is put in place to make sure that children are in a safe environment and that their parents are not abusing them. Since this was an attack on my son and myself, social services were notified.

Child Protective Services spelled out with scrabble letters on wood table

I was honestly not surprised when I received their phone call. I was surprised, however, when it sounded like I was the one being implicated.  My case worker told me over the phone that she had to come to the house to assess the situation, and basically to see us in our environment. I found out later that the same day that she called me for the first time, they went to the school and pulled my son out of his classes to speak to him.

I was irritated that he was being spoken to by state authority without me being present, or without me even knowing. I did also have to realize that they were there to do their job. Any push back from me would not end well. They needed to talk to my son to make sure that I wasn’t the one that hurt him, or as they later said, intentionally put him in harm’s way.

I was so stressed out, I hated that the state was poking and prodding into my business and life. I didn’t have anything to hide, but it was ONE MORE THING TO WORRY ABOUT. Another hit on my pride, as if I hadn’t already been humiliated enough. I wanted to just be left alone already! I had to worry about the in home visit as well because the night of the attack left my house a complete disaster.

Cabinet doors were slashed, windows were still broken, and worse but I will spare the gory details. I didn’t have a lot of time to get the things fixed that were NECESSARY to make it a suitable home. I didn’t have a lot of money either. So the best I could do was have one of my friends who happens to be a contractor come to my house and fix a few things, and then write up a quote to give to social services when they came for the visit to show them that I was doing my best to get everything fixed. They actually accepted it.

When my case worker came, she actually really pissed me off. I know the questions she was asking me were standard, but her tone was so condescending. One of the worst parts of the whole interview was that she didn’t have any kids. She was currently expecting, but no kids at that time. She was not a single mother, she had NO IDEA what it was like to be on my side of the interview. She had no idea how terrifying it is to be attacked in your own home, to protect yourself so that you can protect your kids from further attack. After I walked her through the house and when we were talking, she even had the nerve to call my son “cocky” TO MY FACE!! I know my son can be quite the handful if you don’t know him, and that is because his guard is up against strangers… gee I wonder why. But she had NO RIGHT to say that to me. She should have kept her thoughts to herself on that one. Did she think I needed MORE people to pound me while I was down? Apparently.

alone-boy-child

Anyway, she continued to tell me that I needed to tell her EVERY ASPECT of my life, and that she would do a thorough background check.  I didn’t have anything else to tell her, I was so done with her. My case manager was kind enough, well more like legally obligated, to tell me that every case would be open for 30 days, and then closed. The only way a case would stay open was if something in my background came up to implicate that I had put my son in harm’s way.

In the end, the case was closed, but it was OBNOXIOUS! The case manager was rude, and awful. She had no regard for my feelings, or the fact that MY SON AND I had just been through some serious trauma.

You know, when women are attacked and we end up feeling like it’s our fault, we are immediately told that we shouldn’t feel that way. That is the OPPOSITE of how I felt after that interview. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why we feel at fault after something like this. I knew deep down that it wasn’t my fault, but during that interview I felt like it was completely my fault.

Takeaway

At the end of the day, the case workers are there to do only their job, which is to make sure that the child is taken care of. It seems as if you’re cooperative with them, adhere to their requests, and answer their questions everything should be fine. I’m not saying that this is always the case, though. Unfortunately I know of many families where CPS has gotten involved for bogus reasons, and their kids taken away. I also know many cases where CPS has been involved and probably didn’t do as much as they should have.

Please note that this post is only my experience with social services and should not be taken as any form of legal advice. I am definitely not a lawyer, and I know that every situation is very different.

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