General Question

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

Cps and baby help!

Asked by AlyxCaitlin (933points) May 9th, 2014

My friend’s infant was recently injured pretty badly and no one knows how it happened. I believe my friend when she says she had nothing to do with it nor the father. No one who handled the baby during this time would ever hurt the baby.

Being the caring parents they are, they took the baby straight to the hospital and the hospital contacted CPS and the local cops. The parents are being interviewed and questioned like it’s going out of style and the baby is being put through the ringer with tests to see if there’s any physical signs of abuse and they’re not finding anything else.

The hospital they’re staying at treats them like criminals; withholding information about the test results and everyone is being very rude. I guess one doctor stated and I quote “If no one can come up with an answer, the baby will be taken away.” So basically they are being bullied and intimidated until someone wants to make up something just to get this over with. It comes down to the fact that they have proven they’re innocent and the baby clearly hasn’t been abused. The hospital is so busy interrogating the parents, no one is telling them how to heal and get the baby better.

What will happen? What should they do? Is the hospital treating them unfairly? ANY input would be very helpful. If it’s Abby consultation they live in Michigan.

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37 Answers

GloPro's avatar

We need to know what you know about the injury. No judgement, but without medical details it’s hard to provide any opinions.

you are definitely withholding details at the moment.

hearkat's avatar

There is no way to speculate what will happen.

Health care providers are obligated to report suspicious injuries, CPS is there to protect the well-being of the child.

Even if no one harmed the child, the Child Protection Service has to investigate negligence, because how could a baby get hurt badly and no one knows what happened? At the very least, someone who was supposed to be caring for the child was not doing so. If the child is not appropriately cared for or adequately monitored in that home, the authorities can not risk sending them back there.

Caring for a child is a 24/7 job, and your friends need to show that they are capable of being responsible and vigilant in ensuring that the child is safe and healthy. Cooperating with the authorities is the best first step in showing maturity and that they have the child’s best interests at heart.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

The child unfortunately has a couple fractured ribs. All we can put together is maybe the baby was handled wrong or a child who held him, held him too tight and things just got worse.

GloPro's avatar

If it helps my sister has a wild child. He’s had stitches/staples to his head 4 times before his 3rd birthday.
He’s bound for the Olympics, in my opinion. Maybe this kid is on the same path.

hearkat's avatar

My son also had a couple sets of stitches in his head before his third birthday, but we always knew what happened because an adult was supervising him when the injury occurred. It is that no one knows what happened that has them concerned. I’ve heard that cracked or broken ribs are very painful, so the child would have cried in pain when the injury occurred. If no one was monitoring the child to have witnessed him crying in pain and recognized it as such, there was inadequate supervision of the child. Again, it is CPS’s job to ensure that the home environment is safe before they can release the baby back to that environment.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

That’s the thing I forgot to mention. The baby showed NO signs of being in pain. Smiled all the time, never was extra fussy and never looked stressed. I promise you these parents are not neglectful or abusive. I myself might be neglectful about this information though lol

GloPro's avatar

No offense, @AlyxCaitlin, but “lol” is not appropriate in describing any of the details or lack thereof in describing a situation you want opinions about. Involving an infant. With broken ribs.

The ribcage is very malleable in an infant. I find it hard to believe there were no distress signals. I find it easy to believe that new parents would not recognize the distress signals. This may be an instance of parenting awareness classes if no abuse has been determined. Accidents happen, but being in tune with an infant is very important. It is not an “lol” matter.

Coloma's avatar

An infant being “injured pretty badly” doesn’t “just” happen without cause.
Of course the parents are going to be first suspects, this is protocol.
SOMETHING had to happen and the hospital doctors are only doing their job, trying to suss out a suspect.
If the parents are truly innocent of any harmful actions, as much as it sucks, they should, be grateful for a job being well done.

If nobody else had been around the baby prior to the injuries, well…somebody is not telling the truth, plain and simple.
Better false accusations than lackadaisical investigation.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

@GloPro I really appreciate your answer, but I am NOT laughing at the situation. Thanks.

Coloma's avatar

Or…the baby was shaken. Shaken baby syndrome is responsible for many infant traumas, injuries and death. A baby does NOT get broken ribs from modest mishandling. Broken ribs are a sign of abuse. A lot of force must occur to break ribs.

johnpowell's avatar

I really doubt the doctors are just making shit up. They have no reason to. All they would get out of it is more paperwork. And I hang out with Devi ALOT (like hours a day) and we discus this shit to the point of me crying.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

When I was a kid, I was breaking an arm, or a wrist or an elbow almost every year from 1st grade to 5th grade.
One of those years (probably 3rd or 4th grade [around 1965 or 66]) my whole family got dressed up and we went to a court of law. I had no idea what was going on until they called my name and put me on the witness stand.
I was asked questions regarding my parents and siblings care and treatment of me. At the time I didn’t relate my string of injuries to these questions, but they obviously were concerned that I was being beaten by my family.

I wasn’t. I was just a bit accident prone.

So everyone jumping to conclusions should just sit back and wait and see what is real here.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What should they do? Like anyone else would; lawyer up and say nothing with out one present.

hug_of_war's avatar

I’m a mandatory reporter. You have to take this stuff seriously because you can lose your job over this, and more importantly, license.

I think they should look into retaining a lawyer, because this could get bad quick.

We’re not talking about a toddler who can walk and get into trouble, this is an infant who is completely reliant on others for everything. Something happened. There could be a medical cause, or abuse, or an accident, I have no idea but cps are not your friends. They need an advocate.

filmfann's avatar

I have had to deal with CPS and while they are certainly concerned with the child’s welfare, they are more concerned with justifying their existence. Your friends are probably not going to lose custody of the child if this is the first time, but broken ribs are certainly cause for concern. CPS is going to immediately assume the child was kicked or dropped.
The parents need to figure out how this happened, and pay special attention to the child’s bone health. I know a couple of people who had diseases that allowed them to easily break bones. If they are sure the child wasn’t injured, it may explain everything.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I am also a mandatory reporter. Hospitals are required to contact CPS for any suspicious cases. CPS is then responsible for conducting an investigation to make sure it is safe for the child to return home. From your question and responses, I have several questions.

How old is the baby?

You said, “The child unfortunately has a couple fractured ribs. All we can put together is maybe the baby was handled wrong or a child who held him, held him too tight and things just got worse.” Was this actually witnessed or are they just guessing? Are there times the infant is left alone with older children and no adult supervision?

You said, “The baby showed NO signs of being in pain. Smiled all the time, never was extra fussy and never looked stressed.” Then why did anyone take him/her to the hospital? Obviously the baby had to have something wrong to require a trip to the hospital.

Has the baby shown a normal response to pain in other situations? For example, if they started an IV or drew blood, did the baby cry during that time? I ask because fractured ribs are very painful, yet you said the baby did not have any crying or signs of discomfort. There are disorders that cause people to not feel any pain, but it is all pain. So if the baby had pain for one thing (such as the needle sticks), it wouldn’t fit.

Has the baby had any other broken bones?

As some other users have mentioned, there is a disorder, Osteogenesis Imperfecta which can cause bones to be weaker and able to break without the usual force. This is a congenital disorder and the baby would have been born with it.

As for the CPS investigation, your friends need to be as open and honest as they can. If they really don’t know what happened, they need to be helpful with accounting for the baby’s time before the injury was noted. This includes who was the one responsible for watching the baby at all times and any periods of time the baby was left alone. It is a grueling situation to be in, but they need to understand that everyone is doing their job in order to make sure the baby is safe. If it goes to a point beyond the initial investigation, I would definitely get a lawyer.

Cruiser's avatar

As much as you are invested in this baby’s welfare you cannot stop this train that has left the station. Apparently something happened to this baby and the medical staff at hospitals have extensive training to spot and identify injuries to children as potential child abuse. I hate to admit that there were times when I so wanted to snap my kids like a twig but I didn’t. I feel for these parents and the child as much as you do and hope for the best, especially for the kid.

jca's avatar

Folks, it’s called a “Mandated Reporter” not a mandatory reporter. I am a former CPS worker. @filmfann I don’t know why you think if it’s the first time, the child won’t be removed. That makes zero sense.

This is a baby. If the baby has broken ribs and the parents have no idea how it happened, then it seems that the baby may have been left alone (Inadequate Guardianship and/or Lack of Supervision) for a time, which, in the case of a baby, is not acceptable.

Please post an update as to what happens.

If the child is removed from the parents’ custody, they will have their day in court. Actually they’ll have about six months in court, as nothing in court consists of just one day. It’s multiple days over multiple months.

AlyxCaitlin's avatar

@seaofclouds the baby is 6 weeks old and the reason they brought the baby to the doctor was for his 5 week check up. They mentioned his back feeling weird and they sent them to get xrays. Now they’ve performed 4 MRIs, 1 brain scan, 1 nuclear MRI, 2 bone surveys and 1 eye exam. No shaken baby syndrome is being found and all of these MRIs and tests are coming back negative or clean. I guess they’re just waiting on the genetic testing.

And yes @jca I will keep this updated.

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t see anything wrong with protocol. When a baby is injured and the family has no idea how it happened OR their story seems fishy, this is what happens to rule out abuse. Laws actually REQUIRE healthcare professionals to do a report if they see any signs. They could lose their job if they don’t. If the parents have not abused their infant, then their stories will not change and the medical tests will rule out abuse.

I don’t think it’s “unfair” at all. Parents are always the first suspects in these cases and need to be cleared first. Instead of criticizing the system for being “unfair”, they need to realize why this is being done. There are many cases of child abuse that happen in this country and its through these required reports and investigations that the abuse is stopped and justice happens. If they did not abuse their child, then the truth will come out.

The police and doctors have no reason or incentive to “make stuff up”. It is what it is.

These parents need to lawyer up.

seekingwolf's avatar


My boyfriend’s mother lost custody of both my boyfriend and his sister (separate occasions) over ‘first time” offences. She never regained custody of my boyfriend and he still doesn’t have contact with her, his choice.Yes, they were that bad. If officials believe that the abuse is great enough, the child will be removed. You don’t “need” multiple offences in order to remove a child. That would make no sense.

jca's avatar

@seekingwolf: Yes. I said that too.

Seaofclouds's avatar

@AlyxCaitlin That’s a lot of testing for a few broken ribs. Sounds like there is more going on. I hope they get answers soon and the baby is doing well.

cheebdragon's avatar

As if your friends are just going to tell you “yeah I beat my infant”.....?

I get that they are friends of yours, but someone is lying. If the baby showed no signs of distress, how did it end up in a hospital? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t take my happy little infant to a germ infested hospital just for shits & giggles.

If you are in the same house as your child when it breaks a couple ribs and you can’t for the life of you figure out how it happened, you shouldn’t be allowed to have a child.

seekingwolf's avatar


It sounds harsh but I agree with you. Someone is either 1) lying about abuse or 2) neglectful outright or 3) is, right now, a very, very, very dense and poor parent and needs some serious help.

The other (but much more rare) possibility is that the child was born without pain receptors. Very rare issue but it does happen. Children with this problem don’t perceive physical pain when they hurt themselves. However, a doctor can rule this out.

jca's avatar

It’s not likely the parents will tell you the truth. If they’re lying, and they’re smart, they’ll keep their lies consistent.

The genetic disorders that make bones very easy to break or that affect pain reception are extremely rare, so although that’s a possibility, it’s really not the likely answer.

GloPro's avatar

@seekingwolf Even if the child was born without pain receptors it isn’t an everyday occurrence to inflict enough force on an infant to break ribs. It’s a silver lining, I suppose, to be able to determine that so early, but most babies are handled with enough care not to injure them to the point of needing multiple MRIs, a CAT, etc.
I guess it would be possible for it to fall off of a bed or changing table, but does a 5 week old really wiggle that much or roll over yet? I don’t know. And it seems unlikely that would be an unwitnessed event.

seekingwolf's avatar


I agree with both of you. I believe “Occam’s Razor” applies. I was just mentioning the mere possibility of a genetic disorder like I mentioned, but you are right, it is highly unlikely. It would take a really neglectful/clueless parent to allow an infant to break their ribs like that and just “not know” that it happened.

Always a very, very small possibility, but I agree with you guys – not likely.

GloPro's avatar

Maybe they have a huge dog and it stepped on the baby. It isn’t an ideal answer, as they shouldn’t leave pets and babies unattended, either, or maybe it happened right in front of them and they didn’t realize it hurt the baby. 5 weeks is tiny. That’s really the only thing I can think of if they are being honest about having no clue.

filmfann's avatar

CPS are a bunch of self serving Nazis who will step in and remove children when they want, but they then have to go before a judge and justify what they did. Threatening to take the child unless the parents admit to abuse is a trap. CPS needs the admission to support their removing the child. They are playing on the parents emotions, and the need to stop from having their child removed.
I am kind of surprised the this 5 week old child, whose bones are still hardening, could break its ribs without any bruising, hence my comment on bone health. Don’t be surprised if there isn’t abuse here.

jca's avatar

@filmfann: When CPS goes before the judge, if they remove the child on an emergency basis, they have to have the judge’s blessing for the child to not return home. Also, the judge can specify that the child go with relatives, if there are relatives that are deemed appropriate caregivers.

CPS doesn’t need any admission. Even if the parents don’t admit anything, the doctors and the medical professionals will weigh in. You’d be surprised how even in the face of all kinds of evidence, parents will still swear up and down that they did nothing wrong.

As I said, I worked in this field for over ten years. You’re not the first person who thinks CPS wants to remove children. I used to tell people that it’s easier to keep families together. It’s way, way more work to remove children from their parents.

filmfann's avatar

I have had to deal with CPS, and I know others who had similar interactions, and I stand by my statement.

seekingwolf's avatar

Somewhere in the middle there’s the truth. I’m sure there are many CPS workers who have a real chip on their shoulder and yes, maybe some of them have a personal agenda, That’s true of any profession, really. But they all aren’t “self serving Nazis” and all of these parents with complaints are not little angels either, incapable of neglect or abuse.

What do they tell you when you take the SATs? “Extreme statements are usually wrong”. Applies here.

jca's avatar

@filmfann: Yes, that would be the opinion of the parents who deal with the CPS workers who are just doing their job. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I am telling you from a worker’s standpoint, when you go to someone’s house, you are hoping for a relatively effortless visit. Removing children is far from what is an ideal day. Having to go to the hospital and get them checked out and deal with multiple caretakers to ensure that the children are ok until what has become a huge court case, it’s just a big PITA. Like I said previously, there’s no quick court cases either. Even once we settle it this time, we’ll be going back for court dates in six months, and a year, proving that the parents should or should not get their kids back. No matter what we say, it’s always up to the Judge. So while the CPS worker gets the bad rap that they’re overzealous, nobody seems to realize that nothing happens with out the Judge’s consent. All the worker does is report to the Judge (the parent refused to go to treatment, the children have not missed any school days this quarter, etc.).

filmfann's avatar

Not all CPS workers are bad. Some try to do their job correctly. Others do not.
These workers should not immediately assume there is abuse, and that the parents are telling the same lie, and that the child should be removed,. Pressuring the parents to admit to something they didn’t do smells of desperation and injustice.
Regarding judges, they depend on CPS to get it right, and bend over to give them what they ask.

filmfann's avatar

All the worker does is report to the Judge (the parent refused to go to treatment, the children have not missed any school days this quarter, etc.).

That actually nearly made me laugh. My daughter was 16, pregnant, addicted to meth, and involved with a dangerous gang. CPS knew all this, and all they reported to the judge was that she was thriving, working towards getting her diploma, and happy.

jca's avatar

@filmfann: I can’t speak to your individual case because there are several sides to a story, and only the players in your daughter’s case know what the results of evaluations, services, recommendations, etc. were. I can’t second guess something I know nothing of, other than what you write.

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