Post # 1
Bees, this is a very serious post. Very serious. I need help. My sister has 3 kids. 4, 3 and a few months. And i am their babysitter while i go to college. I love these kids like my own. But i love my sister too. Im so conflicted and the words to put this together are so hard. I dont even know where to start. In the year i’ve been babysitting the kids i have seen them eat months old food, ive seen them shove things in uncovered vents while the heat was running, ive seen months old dirty pull ups and diapers in their beds and floors, they drink from cups with spoiled milk, there is poop all over their bathroom and bedroom. My niece gets a bath like once a month. There are so many more things i am too mad to even think of right now. I’ve held it all in, but i feel so guilty leaving the kids. I know they love their kids, but love doesnt make you a good parent. You can love someone but still be so selfish that you only care for your needs. I want to turn them into child services, but will that do anything? They’ve had them come to their house before. They notify you, so of course she cleans the house and the kids up really well and they leave thinking nothing is wrong. Ive thought about taking pictures and video of the house or even taking the kids the way they are, no baths or clean clothes for weeks, to child services. Will this help? Does anyone know? I feel like i need to protect them, but idk how. Plus what happens if they get taken away? I’m only 19 almost 20, will they let me take them if i can prove i can handle it financially? PLEASE HELP ME!
Post # 3
Yes I would take pictures and call again. You can only hope that another visit will scare them into cleaning up. Maybe they will start a regular unannounced check up if there are enough calls to report them encouraging them to maintain their household.
Post # 4
Have you talked to your sister about the health concerns? Has anyone else expressed concern? If you haven’t told her how you feel, I would do that FIRST. Then if she doesn’t listen, bring another friend or family member to help support you. Do everything you can before bringing child services into it. She is family, so try your best to confront her in a loving manner for the sake of the relationship.
If she refuses your advise and other people’s advice as well, then you really have no choice but to go to more extreme measures.
Post # 5
People have talked to her multiple times. What set me off is my younger sister told me my niece covered herself in poop yesterday. My younger sis was there for about 4 or 5 hours and my niece was still covered in it when she left. Plus, her mattress is now exposed springs, there is no cover anymore.
Post # 6
I would take videos and photographs and find some legal help. Perhaps you can get custody of the kids without having to go through CPS? I’m not sure. Regardless, even for temporary custody, you’ll have to retain a lawyer for that and that could be very pricey.
I’m not a lawyer, but I think you would have to prove that you have a place where they can live, and that you can provide for their needs — food, shelter, clothing, daycare (if necessary), medical care, etc.
Post # 7
@conflictedfiance: based on what you have presented to the bee, I feel like you have no other choice than to report her again and this time take pictures.
It honestly sounds as if she is not fit to take care of them. What I find unfortunate is that that she is aware of this issue yet does not care enough to fix it.
I know you love your sister, and I am so sorry you are put in this situation but I think it’s best to think of her helpless kids.
Post # 8
I used to deal with hoarders on a regular basis, the level of biohazard in your sister’s house sounds quite dangerous. The suffering that the kids could go through in the future is immense (I’ve seen it first hand with children of hoarders). Your sister needs help NOW. Go back to child protective services and get involved as much as you can. Your sister may react angrily, but please be assured that you will be helping in saving these children’s lives. If you or other family members can help pitch in for a big housewide professional clean-up please look into that. Let your sister know that you are on her side, but that she needs to get help and that her young children are living in an unsafe, unsanitary environment. Look into counselors in your area. A&E has put together a good list of resources for messies/hoarders take a look, your sister may not be a hoarder but her tendencies of messiness could be helped by these sames types of people:
Post # 9
Does your sister have a drug problem? I ask because people generally don’t live like that unless there’s some kind of substance abuse issue. I would take pictures of the standard condition of the home and report her to CPS, since prior calls to them and talks with her from the family haven’t been helpful. You could also call the police and report her (with pictures, of course), if you’re willing and ready to watch your sister get arrested for child endangerment. I know that sounds extreme, but sometimes people need that kind of wake-up call to get their lives together. Just know that if the police arrive and your sister isn’t prepared (they don’t generally alert people before doing a welfare check) and the place looks as you’re describing it, they’ll likely remove the children immediately and take them to social services. So if you DO choose to go that route, make sure you tell the police repeatedly that you’re willing to take the children.
Post # 10
I am an attorney and I also am a volunteer guardian ad litem for children under the care of the state Child Protective Services. I can’t give you legal advice, however, from what you said, the best thing you could do for your nieces and nephews is to report the situation to CPS. IT IS THE BEST THING FOR ALL PARTIES INVOLVED. The court and the social worker will recommend parenting classes that will help the parents and opening a case indicates to the parents that their children’s health and well being is not to be taken lightly. It is a true eye-opener to parents who sometimes do not understand that how they are caring for (or neglecting) their children is harming them.
Opening a CPS case does not result necessarily in the termination of their parental rights — in fact, it does not necessarily mean that the kids will be taken away. The state never takes separating children from their parents lightly — the goal is often reunification wtih the parents.
A few of my cases have ended where the kids have ended up with foster parents, but trust me, those kids are happy and thriving and are put in the most loving homes with the most loving parents. And, believe it or not, the natural parents actually agreed that their kids being placed in foster care was best for them!
Every state is different, but visits by social workers can be unannounced, perhaps that right was just not exercised in your sister’s case.
In sum, I would most certainly report this situation to CPS. It really would be for the good of all parties. Good luck and kudos to you for recognizing an unhealthy situation and doing something about it.
Post # 11
She doesnt have a drug problem. No drugs, just lazyness and neglect. I dont want the kids taken away permenatly., i realized i might have made it sound that way. I just want her eyes opened, and i want her to realize that this isnt safe or healthy for the kids. I mean, she lets the 3 year old take a bath unsupervised. Like, on different levels on the house. And now with the newborn there, i worry even more. But you guys have given me some great advice. Thank you so much. It really helps.
Post # 12
You are a wonderful sister and aunt for being so concerned — I would highly suggest you calling the authorities to report the condition that the kids are living in. I want to assure you that no court will take separating parents and children lightly and particularly if she is not doing drugs and the kids are not being physically or sexually abused, the kids probably won’t be taken away.
I’ll say it again, reporting this matter would really be in the best interest of your nieces and nephews. You would not want something to happen to them and then think that you “SHOULD HAVE” done something about it.
Post # 13
FYI I read your post again.
I know it is not your responsibility, and this does NOT help your sister get her act together, but can you help to bathe the kids when you babysit and clean up the bathroom and their beds so they are not living/sleeping in filth? Throw away spoiled milk and do what you can to make the house safer? Obviously, it will improve their living conditions.
What about telling your parents as a first option to see if your mom can talk some sense into your sister and/or help with the childcare?
In the event the kids do get taken away by CPS (again, the court takes this very very seriously and only does it when there is imminent harm to the children), they will look for the most appropriate placement options. They always, always look to family first and see if those family members are fit to care for the children. The state will give you money to care for them as the foster parent. I’m not sure how much this is but don’t feel as though the kids will be taken away and given to strangers, never to be heard of again. It doesn’t work like that at all.
Post # 14
I came to a different conclusion than drugs. Is it possible that your sister has some psychological problems? That should also be taken into consideration because folks don’t usually live like that.
Post # 15
What a terrible situation. I feel sad just reading about this. I wish the best for all involved.
Post # 16
You are such a wonderful auntie for looking out for these kids. I hope the advice here helps you, especially what @futuremrskelsey: wrote.
I would take pictures the next time you see the kids. Document everything. Tell CPS everything you’ve told us here, including that the last time they visited, your sister cleaned everything up in anticipation of their arrival, so their next visit needs to be unannounced.
Those poor babies. They’ve very lucky to have you in their lives.