Post # 1
I have once again found myself in a sticky situation and can’t sleep because it’s weighing on my mind…
I was caring for a friends child today. I care for this child often. While in my care the child lashed out and so I put him in time out. I follow the same rules with him as instructed by his father. I went to retrieve him from time out and have a conversation with him about his behaivor.
He went on to tell me that his Mother hits him in his arms and legs when he is a bad and doesn’t listen to her. He said that when she gets angry she hits him.
Now I’m caring for him on behalf of his Father. His Mother and Father are divorced and the only thing that I know of her, is second hand. I do however know that she did hit him one time when he was 2 and it caused some issues between the parents, since they had mutually agreed to having a no physical discipline policy. (The boy hit his Mom and she struck him back, so that he “understood” what hitting feels like).
In the state where I live, it is legal for a parent to discipline through physical contact. The rules are vague but basically state that the parent can not leave a mark on the child and can not do it out of anger. The boy has bruises all over him, as many little boys do, so I’m not sure if any of these are from the discipline. I also don’t know if she has done it out of anger because I wasn’t present and he wasn’t able to provide to many details and I know pushing is bad for the child.
So here’s the question…if you were me would you call child protective services and report the information? Let’s say for the sake of this question that the Father is also unsure what to do and is leaning on me for help deciding what’s next. The Father fears confronting the Mother due to the backlash from the last incident. (The Mother attempted to have custody changed and take the son away from Dad)
Post # 3
I think since you’re caring for him under the fathers instruction and that the child claims he has been hit by his mother it should be up to the father to decide. If the father is concerned about the welfare of his son (as I imagine he is) then he should speak to child protection; especially if confronting the mother may only compound the problem. A check over by the doctor should also be able to confirm whether he has or hasn’t been hit. Long story short: I think you’ve done your bit; but I know it’s hard to step back sometimes.
Post # 4
@ladyartichoke: It’s really hard to step back, when I’m worried that a child is getting injured
My other fear is that I don’t want the boy to think that he finally told someone, and nothing happened. That he trusted me enough, but that I sat back and didn’t help him. It’s such a catch 22.
Post # 5
@mwitter80: I agree. I figured from your post you had a good relationship with his father. Have you spoken to him? These things are so hard. I wonder if there are any pro childcare bees with suggestions.
Post # 6
@ladyartichoke: Dad and I keep talking about it. I think he’s just so unsure of what to do himself. His immediate reaction was anger, which is understandable, but I think there’s part of him that just feels on the fence about which way to go. Calling CPS on your ex, I’m sure comes with all kinds of consequences.
Post # 7
I know that I personally am a mandated reporter. I would Call CPC, tell them exactly what the little boy said. Because you are a babysitter, I do not know if YOU are considered a reporter, but I know daycare voulneteers are. Have the father ( or you) take pictures of the brusing, and since it would come from an “neutral source” rather than a “vengeful” ex, it would be checked out.
Post # 8
I would call CPS only because in my job I am legally obligated to at work, so I believe in my personal life I would too. Better to be safe than sorry…
Sorry you are going thru this thou I have had a few cases at work and they are hard to deal with 🙁
Post # 9
So sorry you have to face this difficult situation… I would check the laws in your state to see if you are mandated by law to report. It would be awful to be going back and forth about this, choose to not do anything and then have to face consequences because of it, you know? Also, how old is the child? I mean, is he past the age to understand right and wrong and all of that? Definitely take pictures of visible bruises.
I would probably call in this instance. It would be really tough, but better safe than sorry? If there’s truly nothing wrong, then at least it puts everyone’s mind at ease. If there is something wrong, then at least a trained investigator will be able to see.
Post # 10
I know he would hate to have to deal with his ex again but I think the childs father should call. Not that he can prove it is happening but usually children have no reason to lie or don’t know how to lie. He also could save alot of mental issues that could occur later on in ife if he brings light to the situation now.
Post # 11
Call Protective Services. If the father calls, it might just look like he is lashing out to the courts since the child did not disclose to him. If you call, you are disclosing information that you have. From there it would be up to the CPS to deem what is best for the child, regardless of the custody battles and other issues between the parents. Beyond this, lets say mom goes crazy and in a few years punches him and he gets a black eye. They will have a hard time considering it an “accident” if there has already been complaints against her for similar acts.
When you call CPS in Canada (CAS is ours), they give you the right to NOT be identified when talking to the person they are investigating. Most people chose this, and I would highly recommend it so you don’t face any backlash. For all the mother would know, it could be a teacher, neighbour or friend’s parent. As a teacher, I can say I have been accused many times of calling CAS, and have not called several of those times.
Post # 12
I think it all depends on the age of the child. Some children at a young age will say things that are not true. I would push for the father to call CPS more than anything. Right now, for yourself I would document what the child has said.
Post # 13
I work in a school, and unfortunately, I deal with this question all the time. You need to be the one that calls. If you put this in the hand of the father, or anyone else, you don’t know how it will be handled. My theory is, if there is ANY doubt in your mind, you call! The cool thing about CPS/DCFS/CAS is that you will remain un identified, and they determine if they feel an investigation should ensue. As for the child saying or not saying things that are untrue, they have specialists there that work with this kind of thing all the time. A great deal of work and investigation goes into each case. It isn’t like you call and then they just come in and take the kid away from the parent or anything. You need to advocate, because he cannot advocate for himself!!
Post # 14
I’m still not sure what to do with this. I feel super conflicted. I happen to be having lunch with my friend who is a social worker. I’m going to discuss it with her.
Thank you for all the responses.
Post # 15
I disagree that the father should be the one who calls. As a PP said, you are a “neutral” source, so the mother can’t accuse the father of using CPS as a weapon in a divorce/custody battle.
The thing to keep in mind is that CPS, if it’s doing its job properly, will simply investigate. It doesn’t mean that any harm will necessarily come to the mother if it can’t be shown she’s done anything illegal.
I’ve seen so many people who were abused as children say “I wish that an adult had stepped in.” If you can take a step that might protect him, I think you should do it.
Post # 15
- Wedding: October 2012 - Adrianna Hill Grand Ballroom
Report! At the very least, if CPS has this in their history of the child, then they will be able to pull it up and use it in the future if necessary. You could be the one to save this kid’s life. If he really is being hit out of ANGER, then that’s abuse, no question, and no human being deserves that.
Are his bruises in various stages of healing? Are they on the back of his legs, or on his back? (Most kids fall and get bruises, but they fall forward and get bruises on knees and shins)
Just a couple of things to look for that may indicate abuse. I am a mandated reporter also, and I have had to report once. The child was too terrified to say anything, but once we reported, CPS moved her to live with other family members and she just thrived! This is a horrible reality, but good things can come from it in the long run!