Post # 1
I have never been in this situation before where I feared for another’s life, let alone small children’s lives. Less than a month ago a new man started showing up frequently in the apartment above me and I assumed it was a new roommate for that neighbor. Soon a small child popped up then another would show up as well. I have had to listen to very alarming behavior (yelling/swearing at the children and violently hitting things) everyday countless times for the past couple weeks and just was at a loss of what I could do. I thought I was being too sensitive or dramatic to think of calling the cops or child protective services. I worried I was naive and that some kids just have shitty parents and wasn’t sure what line had to be crossed to take action. But the behavior continued and after talking to some people (fully confiding about everything I had heard) they actually said to try to call CPS and to alert the landlord. So I called and reported what I could but still feel horrible and guilty like this is my responsibility that I should’ve acted sooner. My landlord was disturbed by what I told them and immediately took action. Surprisingly, to me at least, they also said don’t hesitate to call the cops at any time (usually the fights were daytime or early evening). I thought it would be blown off that because it was happening during daytime nothing could be done. I know the children have to deal with the verbally abusive father who uses physical intimidation but I worried that just wasn’t enough to get people to care/do something when I am unsure if physical abuse was happening. I guess this post is me trying to process that other people did care as much as I did and I didn’t exaggerate and should not have doubted myself. Bees if you have been in a situation like this or can think of how to help me make peace that I have done all that I can to help the children I’d be grateful.
Summary: For those who don’t want to read all that. For the first time in my life I called CPS about concern for the safety of small children who are my neighbors. I am riddled with worry for them, frustrated that I feel powerless and clueless about what to do, angry at the shitty, violent father and scared as to what happens now. I am being told I did the right thing but feel guilty that I didn’t call the cops or something the first time things happened or sooner. I will not hesitate now to call the cops if I’m hearing outburtsts but that family will be kicked out by the landlord and I don’t know how long they will be here.
Post # 2
I’m a teacher and have reported suspected abuse twice. It’s always better to call, they investigate, and nothing comes from it THAN not calling, no investigation, and a child continues to suffer.
Post # 3
You did what you were able to do. You can’t exactly go up there and challenge this asshole to a fight or something. Otherwise, you have to get over your guilt for not calling sooner; most people wouldn’t have called at all.
Post # 4
You did what you could and it was the right thing. At least their downstairs neighbor cared enough to call CPS. Too many people allow this to happen and don’t do anything because they don’t want to be involved.
I know it is frustrating and you really want the best for those kids. I’ve had to call for my work as a nurse. It is sad that there are so many kids who are in this situation. Your call might be the one that helps them. Or at least your call will put this family on the radar in case their are more calls. I agree about calling the cops. The cops can also do a CPS report. The more reports that are done the more likely something will help these kids.
Post # 5
So as a parent who has had a lot of interaction with CPS (we have a child with mental health issues)… dont feel bad at all!
Ive had CPS reports made at least 5 times by well meaning people who didnt know the full context. Every time I cooperated with CPS and they quickly determine we were good parents dealing with a difficult kid.
Its not like when you call they just yank the kids out of the home. They investigate and can recommend great family resources. Our favorite family counselor was referred to us by a CPS worker. They are really plugged in with resources to try to help the parents and the kids. And if the dad is truly dangerous they can escalate to removing the kids if they are in danger.
I dont think calling CPS should be something people take lightly. But it’s also not like setting off a bomb… it just initiates conversations and resources and support to try to make the family better.
Post # 6
- Wedding: April 2019 - USA
anon1bee : Don’t beat yourself up. You did the right thing and reported it.
Post # 7
Not exactly the same but when I lived in an apartment I called the police when i heard a terrible fight between my upstairs neighbors. I thought he was abusing his gf I heard her screaming for him to stop. Police came and arrested them both. Afterwards they told me it was actually her who’d stabbed him with a broken glass flower vase and he was seriously injured and had to go to hospital. I am glad I called the police it was a serious injury they said. Something worse could have happened if I hadn’t called. Never don’t call if you are genuinely worried. If it’s nothing they will investigate and leave it.
Post # 8
Whether you should have reported earlier or not doesn’t matter now. There’s no point beating yourself up about that. None of us were there is your shoes so who can say at what point we would have reported it. All that matters is you have told someone now and will continue to do so if necessary. It’s not up to you to personally fix the situation.
When you report stuff like this to CPS it’s not like they immediately storm in and take the kids. It’s about building a case. If you keep calling and establish a pattern they may wish to investigate. Or, for all you know they have already been reported multiple times before and your call is adding to that list. Even if you’re not sure how serious it is it’s useful to report it so CPS can build up a full picture. Same with the cops – you can call and explain what you’ve heard and ask for a welfare check. It’s what they’re there for.
Side note, I’m very baffled by this comment: “I thought it would be blown off that because it was happening during daytime nothing could be done.” what does time of day have to do with anything??
Post # 9
Just so you know – you did the right thing. It’s not your place to decide if what’s happening is truly abuse. That’s on the police and CPS. Calling them to let them know they need to look into a situation is absolutely the right decision. It’s not like you’re calling because a parent didn’t hold a child’s hand crossing the street — you’re calling over loud arguments and noises that have the potential to be hurting someone.
Don’t beat yourself up about not calling earlier, or being dramatic/sensitive. You did the right thing by calling and having professionals assess the situation.
Post # 10
You did the right thing, like PPs have said, social services just doesn’t barge in and remove the kids forever, they do an investigation. And please, if you hear/see this behavior again please report it.
Post # 11
You did the right thing. Protect those who cannot protect themselves. If you hear what you think is violent actions towards the children or spouse call 911 and report it too. You would if you saw two adults going at it that loudly in public wouldnt you? Just bc it is behind closed doors shouldn’t matter. Violence is violence and should not be tolerated towards children.
There was a little boy in the news a while back who was viciously abused by his parents and no one who knew stepped in to help him. He died in a cage, malnourished and alone…i pray for him.
Always call. It is better to be wrong than to have ignored it.
Post # 12
You did the right thing bee and those children will get the help they need!
Let go of the guilt of not acting sooner, those kids are lucky you are looking out for them – some neighbours wouldn’t get involved and would leave them to suffer.
Post # 13
nonablu : oh that is because I had looked online to see if others had posted similar problems and there were discouraging comments saying that there arent noise/disturbance laws for daytime and cops can take longer to show up… it just fed my uncertainty of what to do.
I really appreciate you bees taking the time to say I did the right thing. I am starting to feel better about my actions and will do what I can to look out for the little ones until they move out.
Post # 14
nonablu : they can and do storm into take the kids. About four years ago we had police knock on our door and take my son. They took him to his father.
I had to wait until the next morning to go to CPS, where we figured out his father had a picture of a bruise, shaped like a hand on sons leg.
my four year old at the time was very hard to interview because his father threatened him. But during the interview, son eventually told the social worker that his father had done it in the bathtub than taken pictures of his leg. The father then called CPS and reported that I was abusing our son to attempt to get full custody so he could stop paying child support.
It took about 72 hours to get my son back in my care. The police literally took my child out of his safe place and put the fox in the hen house. It was a terrible ordeal.
the father lost visitation for about 18 months but then a judge overruled social services to allow visitation again. Judges don’t always do what is best for children. My son sees his father every other weekend. The Thursday night before he goes, he makes up excuses that we should tell his dad, ex: he is throwing up so the father won’t take him. I now have a soon to be 9 year old that really doesn’t like his father much and it kills me to have to send him. I have offered to have him terminate rights and discontinue paying support but he won’t. He clearly has a terrible relationship with our son but he would rather stick around enough just to piss me off.
Post # 15
Screw CPS, Bee. Call the police. Let them make the referral to CPS. The police will get much faster and decisive action than you will.
CPS is a bureaucracy, the precious children may not have time to wait around.