Is this child neglect? Need advice.

posted 1 year ago in Parenting
Member
2851 posts
Sugar bee

I would also be horrified. I don’t think you are overreacting either. I would be so scared for these children :( I wish I could offer advice.

Member
3573 posts
Sugar bee

From what I’ve read, I would feel no choice but to report it.  She may well go downhill, but those children have no voice and right now you are in a position to speak for them.

Member
280 posts
Helper bee

@anahappilyeverafter:  This isn’t about your friend or her feelings this is about the welfare of the children. I would report it to someone anyone but I wouldn’t hesitate because the situations will never just fix themselves. 

Member
40 posts
Newbee

That sounds like a pretty bad situation. As a friend you should bring some of this up to her. Scratches on a child, are concerning, bruises from tripping not so much. My son has a ton of bruises on his legs, he hops, he jumps, he falls, he runs, he skips, he falls, he falls. lol. Thats what kids do.

The mess, and dirty diapers piled high are certainly concerning, it is a health issue. I hope though that once you report them that she will get help, rather than her children taken away. The system is really no place for children.

Member
768 posts
Busy bee

Wow! Your poor friend! She is clearly suffering from some kind of untreated mental illness or depression.

Do you know any of her family that you could possibly reach out to? Or anyone that is close (emotionally and geographically) to her that could help? Unfortunately with you being so far away you can only do so much, and I agree that as heartbreaking as the situation is, there is a fine line when dealing with a person in her position between what she will accept as help and what she will take as you telling her what to do.

Also, to get a better understanding of her position and how you can help, you could look into a show called Hoarders. A lot of the people on that show suffer from some type of mental illness or depression that leads to a lack of personal care. I wonder if perhaps they might have some suggestions for friends or family on how to help a person in that condition.

Member
176 posts
Blushing bee

I know in the US if you work with kids in most fields you have to report things like that. I had to report my neighbors because if I didn’t and someone else did and they found out I knew about it I would be punished as harshly as the law would allow. Generally as harshly as the parents are.

I don’t think your over reacting. Someone has to stand up for those kids and it sounds like their mother isn’t well.

Member
456 posts
Helper bee

If their home poses a threat to their safety then yes it is neglect/child abuse.  That’s not a healthy environment for anyone to live in and especially when there are two small children involved.  Clearly this woman is having a hard time raising her children and can’t create a stable home environment when she tells her children to fuck off, doesn’t clean, isn’t concerned about wires that her kids are tripping over, etc.  I would recommend reporting it.

Member
456 posts
Helper bee

@anahappilyeverafter:  Oh geez.  :(   I think the bigger issue here is here childrens safety and her own safety.  Once she gets the help she needs, she will be grateful.

Member
1686 posts
Bumble bee

This is by all means a mental health issue, and you will be doing a huge favor to your friend and her children to notify someone who can help. It doesn’t matter if she finds out that it was you – she is not well enough to handle this on her own and needs intervention.

(DH’s cousin has two kids and lives like this as well.  She’s out of state, and her parents do her no favors because they try and cover up and make excuses for her.  Every time we visit, I want to steal her kids and take them home with me.  As they’re growing older, you can see exactly how much their mother’s behavior has influenced them – the boy is being held back from first grade and doesn’t know his alphabet or how to count, and the 3 year old girl is so mean and nasty that she’ll yell at her grandmother to “fuck off”. We can pretty much confirm that the mom has addiction issues, but again, her parents cover up for her and enable her…it’s so sad.)

 

Member
307 posts
Helper bee

I think you have to report her to the authorities. I don’t know how it works in the UK, but I don’t think Child Protective Services truly wants children to be separated from their parents if it can be prevented. Your version of CPS might be able to get her connected to some social or health services so she can get treated and get some support and be a good mom to her children. Like a PP said, those kids don’t have a voice and are relying on you. Good luck!

Member
40 posts
Newbee

@anahappilyeverafter:  

I think you need to just report her then, if she does not see what she is doing is wrong, or harmful to her kids. I think when reporting her tell them what you know, but tell the whole truth, not just the bad things, that way they know what they are working with, and can potentially just do parenting classes and stuff for the parents. I just feel so bad for children of the state, sometimes it truly is not a better life.

 

Member
3303 posts
Sugar bee

Yikes what an awful situation for everyone, the children, the mum, and you as a caring friend.

I also work with children and have to make the calls to authorities many times.  I am protected by our laws that mandate that we report any concerns.

Our approach is to work with the family.  So if I were to make a call I would encourage the mother to make the call with me.  If she wasn’t on board I’d explain my love and care for her and her family and that it was my personal obligation to do so.

But empowering her to make this call with you is important. 

We live in different countries so the outcomes of these reports may be drastically different than here in the states.  But in my experience the first response is not to take children away (again something I can reassure families).  Typically the service providers want to keep children in the homes with their families and will first try to help through services to improve the living conditions in the home.  If it is genuinely an unsafe environment and the mother is unwell and unable to make changes at this time the wellbeing of the children takes precedence.

It sounds to me like you are being a concerned friend and taking the necessary precautions to protect a friend who is struggling.

You are doing a great job and can be one of her biggest advocates in this.

 

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