Social Question

Rangie's avatar

Would you turn your own family member into CPS, and would you admit you were the one that did it?

Asked by Rangie (3620 points ) April 11th, 2010

My nephew and his wife, had a little 10 month baby boy. They let him crawl all around the living room, without removing little things that could hurt him. When he did crawl over and grab something he shouldn’t, his father gave him a rather hard swat on the butt. The baby cried so hard he threw up. I was appalled and said something to him. The wife approached me and said, well he has to learn not to touch things. I assumed the child was not carefully cared for, after seeing her pick him up with one arm. After talking with my husband, the next day I called CPS. They went to the house to check on the baby. I got a phone call from my sister asking if I turned them in. I told her yes and why. She understood and she and I were fine. Should I have minded my own business?

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43 Answers

figbash's avatar

Yes, I would. No, I would not say that I was the one who did it.

I would want the parent to see the result as a consequence of their actions and not try to pass it off as something that happened only because I turned them in.

I do think you did the right thing in this instance – especially with a child that’s so young and potentially fragile. You would have hated for something worse to happen and then look back in retrospect and wish you had done something different.

Likeradar's avatar

I don’t think you necessarily did anything wrong by calling CPS. Protecting those who cannot protect themselves is their very noble job, and they largely rely on people not minding their own business.
If I every called CPS on someone, I don’t think I would tell them it was me. There is anonymity in place for a reason, and I’d be happy for the protection.

Rangie's avatar

@Likeradar I am pretty sure I didn’t tell them who I was. But, I was the one there at the time it happened and so was my sister (his mother). So she just figured it was me. I probably would not have offered that information, but once she asked me, I had to tell her the truth, and let the chips fall where they may.

filmfann's avatar

I’m sorry, but I think you jumped the gun on this.
CPS are not a pleasant group to deal with, and it can cost quite a bit for a family to deal with them.
Your family’s actions, while perhaps harsh, don’t rise to the level where you call out the big dogs.

MacBean's avatar

If I really thought the baby was in danger, yes, I would report family. I’d rather be wrong and have someone mad at me than be right and have the kid wind up seriously injured (or worse). I’m not sure if I’d admit I was the one who reported them or not. I think that would depend very heavily on the specific circumstances.

MrItty's avatar

The answer to the posted question is: “Yes – the child is my family too.”

The answer to the details is “No. There was absolutely nothing you saw that warranted calling CPS”. Child Protection Services is for kids who are in actual danger of being physically and/or mentally abused. Not for kids who get spanked.

Zen_Again's avatar

10 months isn’t a kid. It’s a baby. And even kids shouldn’t be spanked.

dpworkin's avatar

Without evaluating what you have chosen to do, if a subadult member of my family were in danger, I’d call in a minute with no regrets, and I wouldn’t care who knew it.

nimarka1's avatar

i think you did the right thing! that is what i would have done. poor baby. Just imagine thats only a few things you saw with the little bit of time you spent with them. I can only imagine the other things that happen the rest of the time. Do they even know what they are doing is wrong?

Rangie's avatar

@filmfann It is very difficult to put everything in writing without writing a book. But, knowing the attitude of my nephew, and seeing how hard he hit him, followed by his remarks to me following my retribution of his actions, I felt this wasn’t the first time, nor would be the last. But for me, once is enough.

Cruiser's avatar

A rather hard swat IMO is not a CPS enforceable offense although it is IMO an awfully lazy and disgusting choice of parenting. The difficult part here for me is you ”Assumed” the baby was not properly cared for and that is a dangerous and slippery slope for you to be on. Like many have already said you have brought the big guns down on your nephew and for your sake I hope it was warranted.

Rangie's avatar

@MacBean I agree, sometimes we have to make a judgment call. It was after considerable thought that I made the decision. I honestly didn’t care who knew it was me. That was not my issue.

Rangie's avatar

@Cruiser , Trust me, it was warranted. This is the same nephew that would go out and see how hard he could kick a chicken across the yard etc.

Bluefreedom's avatar

If a child is being abused or neglected, even by one of my family members or relatives, I would notify CPS authorities without hesitation and I would let my loved ones know that I was the one who initiated it. No one should ever be abusing or neglecting children, for any reason, no matter who they are and if activities like this are witnessed, action should be taken concering them in a very timely manner. Just my humble opinion.

I think you made a correct decision @Rangie. You were right to be concerned and you acted on it. Good for you.

DominicX's avatar

I think what you did was fine. Just because you called CPS, doesn’t mean they’re going to take away the kids. Maybe this will scare them into not being shitty parents.

Rangie's avatar

@MrItty I understand my Q, is asking should I have minded my own business, and you are giving you opinion, just as I ask you to. Thank you for that. And now I am trying to tell you why I did it. I’m sorry but this was not just a kid. This was a little baby, that was hit so hard on his bottom, from a crawling position, he lurched forward and landed on his face, causing him to cry so hard he threw up. I call that inexcusable and does warrant intervention by any agency that can do something about it. Who knows what the result will be the next time.

Rangie's avatar

@DominicX They did not take the child away. But there is still abuse. The baby is now 3 years old. My sister has told me of some of the events, but neither she nor CPS seems to want to do anything about it. talk, talk, talk. surprise visits to see if the house is clean and food in the frig. Apparently, no marks, no problem.

Rangie's avatar

@Cruiser It wasn’t for my sake, it was for the babies sake. It wasn’t about me.

rahm_sahriv's avatar

I would turn them in. I have called the police on my own aunt when I was witness to her abusing her daughter and would do so again in an instant.

Other than my mother, the rest of the family was furious with me. Told me, and still to this day tell me, that I did the wrong thing. I do not think so and stand by my decision to call 911. Family tried to tell me it was a ‘family matter’ and should have been kept within the family. I say bullshit.

phillis's avatar

Most of the time (not always) picking up a baby only by it’s arm is indicative of ingorance of potential damage, lack of patience, or both.

Additionally, why in the HELL would any infant ever need to be spanked? What the fuck is wrong with this picture?

@Rangie I gotta admit, you have bigger balls than I might have in the same situation. Most people know that I have a particular hatred for child abuse and those who perpetuate it, so believe me when I say that I am all kinds of proud of you, lady! I wonder how long ago the generational legacy of child abuse would have ended if there had been more people like you? Or, how much pain and emotional illness would have been averted?

I place high priority on being as honest as humanly possible, but there are times when I fail. And another thought just occured to me, too. Why should I have to suffer spite and vindictiveness because I had the guts to protect a child? I mean, seriously…..is there anybody else around these children to protect them? How many children have fallen through the gaping cracks in ou system?

If it was a stranger, sure, I’d tell them, no problem. But I have to go through years of family get togethers with these people. They would likely jump at any possible chance they had, to make my life miserable….all because they spanked an infant?? Come to think of it, hell no, I wouldn’t have told them! They shouldn’t have been doing it in the first place. They can suck it.

cazzie's avatar

With a bit of luck, they’ll get some parenting advice and some classes to help them out. It sounded like they needed a bit of perspective on things.

Rangie's avatar

@phillis Thank you for your support. I do have one basic rule that I hold dear to my heart. ” If I say it or do it, I own it.” Also, I practice “there is nothing I would say behind your back that I wouldn’t say to your face.” For me, life is much easier for many reasons, practicing those two things. Let them try to make my life miserable. It will take a lot to do that and people like that don’t have a clue as to where to even start. I never spanked, hit, yelled or othewise abuse my children. As a result, they are grown with children of their own, and they don’t spank, hit, or yell either. I did have long conversations with them when they were old enough to understand. Short reminders with a time out did the job when they were very small. Thanks phillis, I love to hear what you have to say. Maybe because, it seems we think a lot alike.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If I saw what you saw, it would be appalling – I’d call CPS but before that (because they’re not the greatest organization) I would talk to the parents about how serious I found this action to be and see where the conversation goes – if I felt that it was still necessary to talk to CPS, I’d do it.

Rangie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I did talk to them, but got shut down promptly. So I did what I felt was the best thing to do. Thanks Simone, I was waiting for your response, as I know you are a social worker.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Rangie I am not a social worker though I do the same things – I am a patient navigator

phillis's avatar

@Rangie Yup! We sure do, my friend :)

YoH's avatar

Yes I would and I did make 3 calls,after addressing the issues with the abuser and the spouse (family member).My complaints were lost in paperwork with CPS and never investigated. 2 years later, the abuser divorced my family member and I lost contact with her. A year later I received a call from social services and the sherrif. In the 3 way conversation I was told in detail about the abuse and asked if I thought my former sister-in-law was capable of commiting the acts. I cried as I listened, and answered yes. I was told she was a licensed foster parent and the injuries involved a 2 yr old girl.
The social worker taking my original complaint and the social worker who licensed the home, both lost their jobs, as their supervisor did. The guilty party was given 12 yrs in prison. The 2 yr old girl spent 12 months in the hospital, physically recovering from 2 broken legs that were old injuries were new breaks,an arm broken in 3 places,fractured ribs,cigarette burns,severe bites,a head injury,and skin damage of embedded gravel from being pushed out of a moving car.
I would do the same again,even though the system failed at that time. When addressing the abuser isn’t an option or leads no where,then I believe it’s up to all adults who are aware,to speak up for any child. Doing right and risking the consequences may be the only voice a child has.

trailsillustrated's avatar

1000000000000 GA’s @YoH

dutchbrossis's avatar

Yes Yes Yes ! One thing I can’t stand is child abuse. Most people disagree on this, but I think any hitting is abusive. A 10 month old though has no understanding of why they are being hit and what you describe definitely warranted a CPS call. Good job

chamelopotamus's avatar

You were the adult in this situation. Your sister has to learn she can’t do that to a helpless baby.

Rangie's avatar

Well, it wasn’t my sister that did the deed, it was her son and daughter in law. My sister is somewhat afraid of her daughter in law, so she tends to back off. They were living with her at the time. I really think she was hoping I would intervene. please, read the Q again. Her son hit the baby. I did what I had to do, and I believe in my heart, my sister was relieved.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I would and have reported my concerns to CPS whenever I had evidence that a child was subject to neglect or abuse. It is critical to know what kinds of behaviours constitute neglect or abuse.

Rangie's avatar

yes, and I did. As I was a witness, I had no other choice. I don’t care who they are, my son, daughter, sibling, parent, it just doesn’t matter. Nobody get away with hitting a child, let alone a baby in front of me and gets away with it.

dutchbrossis's avatar

@Rangie I applaud you !

Janka's avatar

No, you should not have minded your own business. It is difficult to say from your description alone if you were correct in your worry, but it is not your job to decide that. Your responsibility is to report to CPS if you worry for a child’s safety, and their job is to figure out how serious it is or is not. A CPS visit is about checking it out. Your contact to them is not damning unless they observe something to worry about too.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Yes, I would turn them in. My job, by law, requires me to do so. I don’t know whether I would tell them I was the one that turned them in. That would probably depend on the result of the CPS investigation.

jca's avatar

@Rangie : what was CPS’ conclusion?

snowberry's avatar

In my opinion, CPS has hurt at least as many children and families as it’s helped. I might call ‘em, but I’d sure have reservations about it.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

I am not even sure if I would call CAS (that’s what they are called here) on anyone at all. I know that sounds harsh, but I have been a foster child. I have been taken away from my family, along with siblings of mine, and all because it was believed my father was abusive. My 13-year-old brother, who was 2 at the time, had horrible experiences while in foster care. My 17-year-old brother, who was 6 at the time, still has dreadful memories and does not even trust the police anymore because they were there when we were taken away. He is absolutely frightened of social workers because two took him from the home he felt the safest in (ours).

I would rather say something to the parent(s) and watch change happen then someone go through what my family went through…

If I were to call the CAS on someone, I think they’d have to do something pretty bad!

Why do I say this?

Oh, man…

My then 7-year-old brother and I got into a fight when I was 10 years old. A shoe was involved. He threw it in my face. It hit me in the eye. I got a black eye. I went to school. I was asked what happened. I told the truth. He was asked what happened. His story didn’t match mine. Boom! The whole situation was blamed on my parents, my parents who had nothing to do with our fight! Nothing I said seemed to matter with these people! They seemed to be convinced they were right! They seemed to truly believe that I was lying to protect my parents… when that was nowhere close to the truth!

I’ve read stories about my parents in articles that made me cry.

One of my sisters and I were lucky enough to have awesome foster parents, but my youngest brother’s foster mother was not someone I liked. I didn’t like the way she treated him. I didn’t like the way she treated my parents.

I am hesitant to report anyone, unless it is completely obvious their child(ren) should be taken away, because of the way my own parents were treated when I was 10.

snowberry's avatar

@AnonymousGirl Your story is not unusual. There are many many documented stories of unsubstantiated child abuse in every state. I grew up in Utah, where at the time they called it DFS (Division of Family Services). Then they changed the name to an even MORE accurate description of what they do: DCFS (Division of Child and Family Services)!

It might be possible for a decent person to start out working for the government social services agencies, but if they stay very long, they soon become jaded or have to quit to keep their sanity. These agencies have their own police force, and they educate their people to operate by intimidation and thuggery. I have seen them lie and break their own guildelines and state laws to get children into the system. I know because it happened to us!

Folks, there is a reason that people in the know call it “The Child Abuse Mill”. Child abuse is big business because a state gets money for every child in its system. The longer the child is in the system, the more money Social Services gets. There are so many books out about this. Do your own search for “unsubstantiated allegations of child abuse”.

snowberry's avatar

Oh, and one more thing. If a child is damaged (no matter if it’s due to him being traumatized by living in a bad foster home, being ripped away from his parents, or if he actually had parents who hurt them), the state gets even MORE cash! This system started out to actually help children who were horribly abused by people. Now, as often as not, it’s the system itself that does the abusing, and gets paid well for its trouble. and it has taken on a life of its own.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Due to my job, I am required by federal law to report possible abuse to CPS and/or my direct supervisor.

I won’t say what I think of this law, that can get me in trouble too.

snowberry's avatar

Yup, @WestRiverrat I wouldn’t be surprised if there are government idiots out there just lurking at even this site to report people who have liscences and speak out against laws like this.

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