Friday, July 29, 2011

Phoned it in, in a positive sense

Yep, that's right, I called Child Protective Services about my ex-coworker Calliope. They do prefer that you be able to give them your name and number, and the names/ages of the children you're calling about, as well as the parents' names and address. Luckily for me (as an abuse reporter, not as a taxpayer) Calliope's family is on "medical assistance" (ie her husband's on disability) so the person I spoke with was able to pull up her address easily. Since I haven't witnessed any direct child abuse, all I could report is that she is clearly a meth addict, and I know for 100% certain that she drives while intoxicated, both with and without her kids in the car.

As the case worker I talked to said, that's not enough for them to go and investigate the family. However, when something else inevitably happens, this will go a long way toward building a case for intervention. No one can be an adequate parent and a meth addict at the same time. I'm just so sorry for those kids that they have to wait for someone else to call it in again. I hope their teachers are being alert for signs of abuse and neglect.

As a reminder, if you have any reason to suspect child abuse or neglect in any kids you encounter, a national number is 1-800-4-A-Child and you can easily find the local numbers with google. If you're wrong, nothing bad will happen. No one goes and snatches kids away for no reason; they don't have the resources for that, for one thing. At worst, they'll do a check-in and find that everything's okay, and the family will be puzzled. At best, they'll do a check-in, find that things are not okay, and those kids will get the help they need.

The current trend with child welfare services is toward "family preservation". The goal is to give malfunctioning families support services (counseling, food stamps, respite care, medical care, etc.) in order to rehabilitate them and get them to be a decent place for their children to live. Even the agency I used to work at (theraputic group home for teen boys with multiple failed foster care placements) provides preservation counseling/coaching. It's pretty cool. Especially with the lack of people who want to foster parent. It's hopefully easier to fix the parents that already exist than to find new ones.

I guess we'll know in a few more years after the next batch of longitudinal studies come out.

In the meantime, screw you, Calliope. I hope your kids have other caring adults in their lives.

1 comment:

  1. You did the right thing. Actually, we are bound by law to report any "suspected" abuse, professionally speaking.

    I have had to phone Child Protective services several times with my patients. It's so sad that things like this actually happen.

    And you are correct....phoning to give info may not trigger a visit this time, but it does build a case if something happens down the line.