Q&A: Abuse/Neglect/Closure?

Our own commenter enu writes:

"Friday's column has been bringing up all sorts of bad stuff that's never far from the surface for me.  So here's my question:  I have been living under a cloud of suspicion since my older daughter was 5
months old, and we were investigated for child abuse/neglect b/c she was underweight.  I've felt I had to parent in such a way as to look good, rather than follow my gut, ever since then.  It's been a tense
20 years!!!!  We were never told the investigation was over or what the findings were.

Tomorrow my younger child turns 18, and we become DSS-proof.  I would like to tell the state and everyone who dealt with us how much misery they caused our family, and basically to tell them all to take a big, cosmic flying F—–…. er, flying fish.

In the end, I guess, we did show them.  My kids are just incredible young adults.  We are all very close, they have very bright futures ahead, it's all good. Living well, best revenge, etc.

Nevertheless, I feel I need closure on this 2 decade long reign of terror.  So maybe whenever people start talking about reporting people to DSS for this or that I won't risk a stroke ;-)  Any ideas?  Anyone else live with false allegations and find a way to move on?"

I've known about enu's situation for a decade now (we've been friends for that long, but have never met IRL–go figure!) and have known how much of a shadow it's cast over her parenting, especially parenting in public.

Maybe that's one reason I never joke about reporting anyone to CPS (although I occasionally joke about someone reporting *me* to CPS). I know how much damage it can do to a family. And one of my friends who used to work for the DA's office said that reporting someone is a very common method of revenge in some neighborhoods, because everyone knows it takes months if not years to completely clear yourself of the allegations.

Readers? Do you have any comments on this for enu? Has anyone else been in a similar situation? I suspect that there may be some people with similar kinds of traumas from nasty custody battles, or from life-threatening illnesses, but  don't know if those compare in any meaningful way.

0 thoughts on “Q&A: Abuse/Neglect/Closure?”

  1. I was reported to CPS last August. It was declared unfounded (because it was ridiculous) and in my state that means they delete me from the system, but I have been scarred by it. Same thing Enu says: it’s not just whether something is a good choice for my kids, but whether it *looks* to an outsider like something is a good choice for my kids.

  2. My parents were reported after I went to college (I have several younger siblings) by their own daughter (my older sister).It totally changed their parenting style–I’m not sure they could even be considered to have a parenting style now. The kids just do what they want, and my parents just sit back and feel helpless.
    I don’t have any great words of wisdom, I just wanted to say you are not alone. It has affected the way I raise my children in that I am hyper-aware of how my parenting looks to everyone–even those in my own family. It is a high-stress way to live, and I’m glad you are finally out from under the shadow of it.

  3. dearest dearest Enu-please know that of all the comments from posters in the past; that i have never forgotten yours- about this very situation.
    it was months and months ago when i read it; but it has given me much strength and encouragement during this time.
    I have a daughter who is under 0% on height and weight; and through your long suffering I have the courage to say f… off to all those that question so many things about me and my abilities as a parent.
    yes, you need closure.
    and please don’t stop sharing the goodness that has come from your beautiful family and your fruit of parenting love.
    the most powerful things come out of suffering.
    thank you for sharing your journey.

  4. enu -I, too, have always remembered your situation since I first read your explanation of what happened. It’s something I always try to keep in mind–that things aren’t always what they appear. I also don’t ever joke about reporting people (or even myself) to CPS and really don’t even suggest it to people, because of what I have learned about it from you and others. I always appreciate hearing your comments and perspectives on things because you often provide a balance when people may start to react quickly.I don’t know if anyone reads Redneck Mommy (she is hilarious and has been through SO much), but she was also falsely reported to Canada’s CPS. She has written a series of posts about it on her blog and how it affected her hopes to adopt a special needs child. Luckily, things worked out for her, but it hurt her and affected her and her family deeply.
    On Friday, I mentioned that verbal and emotional abuse can be just as serious as physical abuse. I truly believe this, having seem the affects of both (especially of emotional abuse) on friends. However, I know the hardest thing is discovering when this is truly going on, and not just a parent have a bad (or a few bad) moment(s). It’s all so gray and hard to know from the outside. It’s also so hard to know what to do.
    I think some people jump to CPS because they don’t know what’s going on and don’t want to have to figure it out themselves and expect that CPS can figure it out. But they don’t take into consideration what reporting does to the family. And, of course, there are people who do it because they are spitful and mean.
    I guess this is why I believe in being open about what is going on with my parenting, so others can know how hard it is and know that we all go through rough times. It’s why I appreciate Moxie’s site, because we are open about how tough things are (as well as how wonderful) without judging each other. If only the world could be like this site.

  5. I never saw the original comment and am now spooked because my own daughter is underweight, and has been since she was 6 months old. At 15 months her twin brother ALSO fell off his curve (neither is on the chart for weight) and their doctor was concerned but decided to hold off for 3 more months on the next round of GI tests. To be honest I have been worried that the doctors will think that I’m a lousy parent, especially because now both of them are too small. I worry that when we go back for their 18-month check-up in June we’ll get another round of this, and all of the worry and stress that comes with it.Do parents routinely get reported for having underweight kids, or was this a fluke type of story? My husband and I are both small, which the doctors can see, but I’m always paranoid about what the doctors think. The amount of work we’ve put into trying to fatten up our kids has been ridiculous. The only thing I’ve learned is that you can’t force a toddler to eat…

  6. I coudn’t even start commenting on Friday’s thread. Okay, I started, but didn’t finish. Twice.I know someone who was reported – or rather, not reported, but someone called to ask about what the reporting procedure was, not knowing that this equates to reporting. That person was a relative, not a parent of the child in question, which raises all sorts of other issues and mangle and mess. And it was also unfounded, and was determined by CPS to be unfounded, but the intra-family taking sides, the distrust, loss of faith in each other, just horrible.
    And at the same time, I’m the survivor of abuse by a relative that was never reported, and that is likewise awful.
    There is no easy path. And resolution can take more than 20 years, and still creates echos. I think that family counseling after a CPS call should be offered as standard procedure for those who were NOT guilty of anything, to prevent the parental paralysis and parenting-for-appearance impacts it has. Post-traumatic stress is a normal reaction to the very real threat of having your children stolen from you by a power you cannot effectively fight.
    I have talked to teachers who have had to report (they’re mandatory reporters in our state), and the ones I know HATE reporting, because even if they are 99% sure they’re right that there is something going wrong here, they know that the impact can make things worse even if they’re right – and are guaranteed to make things worse if they’re wrong.
    @enu, living with the constant re-traumatizing impact of the CPS call, in that every time you go outside you are re-exposed to the fear… I can just barely picture it, and it’s enough to make me feel sick, and angry, for your sake. I don’t know how to get closure on that, or resolution. Yes, there’s a degree of living well is the best revenge. But that’s not closure, that’s only revenge. There’s no apology for the suffering – even if there need be none for them HAVING to investigate a report, there should be some apology for the harm done as a side effect. Some sign of systemic remorse, regret, guilt, SOMETHING… In the family I mentioned above, there was eventual show of regret, some re-ripping open of wounds, then re-healing in a better way, with faith and trust finally regrowing – but there are still scars, and always will be. I wish I could make them make amends for you. Beyond that, I’d say pastoral counseling (because parenting for me hits those ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ spot that comes in the spiritual question set)… no idea if that would at all be helpful, though.
    Bleah. There really should be something more potent than that, more powerful, symbolic, and healing. There’s so much ‘guilty until proven innocent’ in the CPS process… gah.

  7. Not quite been reported to CPS, but I did once mention to the pediatric nurse that I found it hard to engage with my son one day (when he was a baby), and then I had CFS calling and asking if I needed respite care. Which on reflection was very nice of them, but actually scared me a great deal and I from then on put on the mask and smiled and told everyone official that everything was ok, even when it was not. Pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to work!As my son grows older and graduates from toddlerhood to early childhood, I’m finding the temper tantrums and refusal to comply very trying indeed, and have found myself screaming at him. Also, I am dealing with the breakdown of my relationship with his father and him actually now moving out, so that makes me very short fused as well. Recently, he (the child, not the ex!) has started to hit me when he sees me start to get angry, which is for me a great defuser, but by then I may have already shouted (I am the product of a shouting mother myself, so to me the shouting is reflex). The problem I have is that I live in an apartment and had quite a close friendship with the neighbors downstairs, and I have noticed a distinct cooling off on their part since the latest screaming episode (I’m making this sound much worse than it is – it only happens once every couple of months, but to me, even that is way too much). These neighbors don’t have kids themselves, so they don’t understand the frustration that is sometimes involved, but I miss them and I am too embarrassed to talk to them about it. Also, I am concerned that they will perhaps one day talk to CPS because they don’t have a frame of reference of having raised kids of their own. Gosh, here I am, excusing my behavior…
    Anyway, from the side of a mother who is scared of CPS and scared that their involvement may be justified (by their standards, not mine), I think it is sad that we live in a society where people do jump to authorities without taking the time to find out what is going on and if they can help, or even understand someone else’s situation a little, as caramama pointed out. I am terrified of being judged by a society that thinks they know it all, without ever having walked in anyone else’s shoes.

  8. I was reported to CPS when I went to return my shopping cart to the grocery store and left 1 of my kids in the car strapped in to his seat. I always tried to assume the best of that person and figure they thought I was going into the store to shop (but then, why didn’t they call me back, or wait by the car for the minute it took for me to return?)a cop and a social worker came to my home, to check things out, thankfully it was nothing, and they recongnized that it was not necessary to continue looking into it, but 6 months later when my son feel down a flight of stairs, I thought for sure they are taking my boys away from me.
    as a social worker myself, CPS plays a vital roll in our society. but as a mom, it is scary how quickly things can get out of hand once the authorities are involved.
    Enu, I also do not know your backstory, but wish you only the best in healing what is very clearly a deep hurt. I hope your children can remain proof of what a great job you’ve done

  9. Enu’s story is TERRIFYING, as are the stories from those of you who have also had run-ins with CPS. Seriously, how screwed up is it that we might live in fear that our (too frequent, sometimes inadvertent, always regretted) parenting mistakes will condemn us in the eyes of (well-meaning but ignorant) busybodies who end up jeopardizing our very families? There is something vastly wrong with that. **shakes fist in helpless rage at injustice**I have shared before the story of the anonymous passerby who heard a ripsnorter of a 2 y/o tantrum through my open windows and approached my neighbor, asking if he thought she should call the police. Thankfully, he knows us and laughed at the suggestion — telling her my daughter is, “vocal.” (too true.) But COME ON. I have said it before and I will say it again (@Anonfortoday’s downstairs neighbors, are you listening?): Self-righteous childless people who think you know/can do better — BUTT OUT. YOU DON’T GET IT.

  10. 3 day PP, I had a community nurse come to our home to weigh my DD(standard in my part of Canada) – and decided that my DD had lost more that 10% since birth and therefore she was going to report it to my doctor. (DD was 10 lb at birth, and definitely thriving IMO). She was also telling me NOT to feed her formula if I was going to BF – leaving me feeling like my hands were tied and I was Not Good Enough. I cried for an hour – then she called back and told my husband her scale was *maybe* wrong and she wanted to come back with another scale. For some reason I let her, and DD had gained, not lost, weight. I still have white-hot anger when I think about her.

  11. We were reported after the birth of my daughter. During my pregnancy, I required high dose narcotics to endure the pain from a chronic condition. As a result, she was born addicted to my medication. We were under a half dozen doctors care during my pregnancy and everyone was aware that her addiction was nearly certain.No one has ever been able to tell us if that falls into the “Mandatory Reporting” category or if some random good samaritan thought they should “help out”. It has made me question every word that comes out of my mouth with regards to my condition.
    The trauma to me was seeing CPS on our caller ID the day after I came home from the hospital without my child. Let’s see, I’ve just given birth, have a child in the NICU, and let’s just add a CPS investigation to the mix and see how far over the edge we can push a postpartum mommy!

  12. so, so, SO tough. as a bystander, it’s hard to know if this is a good parent having a bad moment or the last time this child will see daylight.but, concretely, i wonder if you should write a big letter to the powers-that-be, enu, with all the impotent rage and stress and injustice, and either send it or…not. you could ask for an explanation or apology, and perhaps just the asking would feel more powerful than the ‘taking it’ you’ve had to do for so long. you may never get a response, but if it were me, i’d feel better knowing my side was out there somewhere. then again, perhaps the writing itself would be so cathartic you wouldn’t need to send it.
    (my child is also not on standard growth charts, but since he was a 25 weeker, his growth is very well documented and i’ve never worried about being reported *for this*. for letting him play with forks, maybe.)

  13. Oh, God, I’m feeling horrible today and a lot of this resonates with me. I too was struck by enu’s post months ago and have held her in my mind ever since. I’m so happy that at least the fear of the other shoe dropping will soon be over. It’s horrible to have had so many years marred by such a scary and horrible fear though.I haven’t had any experiences with CPS or DSS or whatever they call it here, but I am trying to remake my life in the wake of an abusive relationship, that I’m only now beginning to see was truly, damagingly, abusive to both me and my daughter. And I’m hyper aware that I am still not safe from it, and neither is she. I won’t be until she’s 18 and she won’t be until he’s dead, and it does color everything I do, my every waking moment. I only hope that the fear will become less constant through time. I know it will never completely abate until he dies.
    Not only that, but I am feeling awful about myself as a mother. I have been having rage, yelling at my daughter (can’t wait for that class to start Moxie!), been rough with her, been disconnected and unsympathetic and thoroughly un-adult. I’m not like that all the time and in between I think I’m a pretty good mom, but the acting out in rage obliterates the good moments. At least in my mind. And I have fear about the repercussions, even if they’re not CPS related, the repercussions for our relationship, for her mental health, and my own.
    Maybe this is the nadir of the crap, maybe now that we’re going to be (I hope) settled, out of the abusive situation, moving on with life, I’ll be able to get a handle on things, start taking care of myself better, taking care of her better, get a routine, get a life. I am recognizing how awful I feel about myself, about how I look, what I do, who I am. It’s the consequences of being abused, and having to start life over from scratch in a new place. I feel like a refugee.

  14. My parents were reported by my sister’s teacher because she wet her pants one day in kindergarten. I was a teenager. It was an enormous ordeal, and even though the investigation part itself was relatively short-lived, it was insanely intrusive and humiliating and had a huge (negative) effect on me personally that lasted at least until I was in my 20s. People who call CPS out of spite or from a misplaced sense of “doing good” really, really suck.

  15. @enuI thought of you every time I took my daughter (who at the time was in the 3rd percentile for weight) to the ped to be weighed. She hugged that curved for 18 months and although here in Italy there isn’t that spectre of being investigated for child abuse, but to think it was my responsibility that my daughter was not thriving, was sickenig to say the least.
    Anyway, at 28 months she is now in the 10th to 25th for weight and I still dred having to go to have her weighed in case she has slipped back down again, or the ped realises she has made a mistake.
    This is all to say that I totally feel your pain and hope that you eventually find the peace you are looking for.
    paola

  16. I unintentionally got my parents reported, when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. I was playing with a friend, did a flying faceplant on the carpet and ended up with a wicked-ugly rugburn across my cheek. I was so horribly embarrassed about my own clumsiness and stupidity that when people asked, I said “I don’t want to talk about it”, or I made up improbable lies.I had no idea what CPS was, or why anyone might be alarmed by my response to such questions! A CPS lady came by our house and talked to me and my friend; fortunately I did tell her the truth and the incident ended there.
    I’ve always thought this story was funny, but I realize now that at the time, my parents must have been both mortified and terrified. At least now, 20 years later, they’re willing to laugh about it with me.

  17. As an elementary school teacher, I am a mandated reporter, and this is my biggest nightmare. I have never been in a position where I had to make that phone call, but I have had families in my class in years past who have been reported by outside parties, and it’s just awful when the police show up at your classroom door asking to speak to one of your students. It is such a fine line between respecting parenting differences/taking what you hear out of kids’ mouths at school with a grain of salt and actually protecting a child. Because if you are wrong – as was the case with Enu – that family is never out from under a cloud of suspicion, and once CPS is in your life, they are never really out of it until the child(ren) are 18. Awful awful awful. Congratulations, Enu on coming out on the other end victorious, but what a painful trip it has been.

  18. @enu – I’m so glad it’s ending for you.I think parents should be told, as a matter of procedure, when records are expunged and what they can expect in terms of follow up. In writing.

  19. @Julie – Now for some gallows humor! When I was still teaching, my joke with parents was that I would only believe half of what students said happened at home, if parents would believe only half what kids said happened at school.

  20. Enu, I’m so sorry about your plight. I’m also (assuming you’re in the US) sorry that your state wasted precious resources coming after your family unjustifiably, whilst actual children were being abused and neglected.No one has mentioned hiring an attorney as a possible way to get some answers and some closure. I know they can be expensive and the US legal system is fraught with many, many challenges, yet I can’t help but wonder if hiring one to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request (and/or file the appropriate document/lawsuit at your state level) to obtain the state’s files on your family might be able to provide you with the cold, hard truth if you really want to know. If it were me, I’d want to know.
    I had a friend whose family was unjustifiably reported upon by a neighbor with an ax to grind, and hiring an attorney right away helped mitigate a lot of fear and worry. On a policy note, I would also see if there is anyone in your state legislature who would sponsor legislation that would create fines and civil penalties for knowingly false reporting. If there are no consequences for false reporting, unethical people will continue to use it as a weapon.
    That being said, I have another friend who I think is a great mom, but who was reported for what I do believe was a valid reason – her husband was not watching their oldest daughter very closely one day, and at age 2 she was able to walk out the front door, down the street, where thankfully a neighbor found her, brought her back, but felt she had to report them because she didn’t feel comfortable about the husband’s blase, rude response to the knowledge that his toddler had been missing for over an hour. I think this friend needed the wake-up call about her husband’s level of child care that the authorities’ visit provided.

  21. @MrsHaley – I’ve heard that before and it always cracks me up. As a parent, I remind my son’s teachers of that too. Because at 3 years old, pretty much anything could come out of his mouth. And that’s the scary thing….I would hate for some do-gooder parent or teacher at his school to hear him say something like “Daddy yelled at me again today”, and then call CPS. When in reality, Daddy might have raised his voice in frustration because for-the-love-of-mike, put your freaking pants on already, we are LATE!!!!!for example.

  22. It seems like there should be the possibility of some lower level intervention–the “let’s see if there is actually a problem here” function that some people apparently hope CPS will serve. This would let a professional do a little gentle check-in with a parent without bringing to life the giant clanking machinery of the bureaucracy. Don’t know if this is feasible, or if it would feel different to the parents, but at least you would know that the sword of Damocles wasn’t hanging over your head for the next 18 years.I had very very bad baby blues after my son was born. It miraculously lifted after two weeks, never to develop into full-blown PPD, thank goodness. I clearly remember my vision of my son as this malevolent force that had created a swirling storm out of everything that I loved about my life. Yes, this sounds a bit like post-partum psychosis to me–I never told anyone quite what I was thinking. And I did not have any ideas about hurting my son or myself, so I felt justified in keeping my thoughts to myself.
    The point of this is that my midwife could tell that things were not right and she sent me to see a social worker who was wonderful and helpful and gave me concrete steps to take to get back to normal (get outside! cook dinner if you enjoy that!). (Note: I certainly don’t mean to imply that people with real PPD can cure themselves by cooking dinner, but in my case this was a total short-term hormonal reaction that went away on its own). She helped me to understand that things would eventually get to a place where they felt normal again. I DID need some help, but my son wasn’t in danger and I didn’t belong in the “system.” I think more people could use something like this.

  23. I feel for you Enu – being a great mom and raising great kids doesn’t change the feeling of anger (and fear) that’s been sitting there for this whole time.My only comment is that I think the whole CPS system should be changed. Instead of being investigated (depending on the allegations) families that are “reported” should be counseled. There should be no worry of ramifications but more of feeling of teamwork. I think the first role of CPS should be to find ways to HELP the parents be better parents, provide an extension of support to parents, education, etc. Perhaps there should be a different agency with less “negative connotations” that is called first and then if it has to escalate from there only that agency can bring in CPS.

  24. I am a survivor of childhood sexual and emotional abuse who was finally rescued from my abusers only because someone cared enough to call in and report their suspicions. The social workers came, I was examined, and I immediately went into foster care, after which I eventually found a loving, healthy home during my teenage years. I’ll never know who to thank, but their call literally saved my life.I don’t agree with the idea that being investigated by someone from CPS is inherently bad. If there is no evidence of abuse or neglect, 99% of the time, your kids won’t be removed from your home. False reports do need to have some stiff penalties, I agree with that, but if your gut is screaming at you that something is “off” about a family and you honestly think the kids are at-risk, I urge you to make the call. I’d hate to think that fear about embarrassing innocent parents would mean that guilty ones get away with abuse.

  25. @mo, they’ve tried that approach in the UK – it’s called Children and Family Services, but everyone knows it’s Child Protection wearing a fluffy sheep suit. However, they are fighting hard to change their image, but are not helped by the social workers themselves who have, shall we say, differences of opinion over whether to take a child into care or work with the parents. Consequently, the fear pervades as you never know which type of social worker you will be assigned! There doesn’t seem to be a collective ethos, as yet. This may well be due to the mechanics of change.Also, recently you may have heard of the case of Baby P, who died here at age 2 after having had no less than 60 visits from various public sector organisations (doctors, police, social workers etc) and who was very much on the “at risk” register, due to a host of background factors, and as such Social Services came under the microscope for not being decisive/proactive enough (regardless of whose ‘fault’ it was). So now there is a general fear amongst the profession that they will be held responsible if anything happens, which means that reporting and subsequent removal of children has now increased again.
    I think it is very very difficult to get the balance right, even in places like the UK where there are distinct levels of Social Services involvement. It is very hard to draw a line which definitively describes what constitutes “hidden harm to children and vulnerable adults” and what you should do to protect individuals from it. As we have seen even in the comments here, it is a very subjective judgement.
    (I work in substance misuse, where there is quite a lot of CFS involvement.)

  26. Similar, though worse story: my boyfriend was pulled over by the cops 9 years ago because his car and hair fit the description of that driven by a man who had flashed 3 girls in a shopping center near where he was driving. Sure that he could easily clear up any confusion, he agreed to go with the cops to the shopping center to be ruled out as a suspect by the girls, who he did not know were 2 six year olds and one 10 year old. When he got out of the car, adults around them said leading things like, “Dont worry, he can’t hurt you” and the girls started crying and hid behind the adults. Even though he was wearing totally different clothes than their description from 15 minutes earlier, and the girls cried and said they didn’t know at first if it was him, he was arrested and charged with 3 counts of indecent liberties with a minor…three felonies carrying up to 20 years each.Even after watching a zillion cop shows teaching us to get a lawyer right away no matter how innocent you know you are, his first instinct was to cooperate and be “ruled out”…but that dragged into a nightmare that still haunts him today.
    After nearly a year, the judge threw the case out of court based on what was clearly a tainted and unreliable identification (including a stern rebuke from the bench to prosecutors) but he ail always have the case hanging over him because in our state, there is no statute of limitations on these kinds of felonies, and having the case thrown out is not the same as bey g found not guilty, though it’s pretty much impossible for the case to ever proceed since it was entirely based on that original totally faulty ID.
    On the advice of counsel, he volunteered and passed two polygraph tests, but that doesn’t really matter. His name was in the paper for having been arrested and charged with such awful crimes, and of course there was no follow up story when the charges were dismissed with a rebuke from the bench. Neighbors stopped speaking to him. He was suspended from a government job for over a year while the case was pending (and subsequently cleared of an independent investigation of the matter, since he had to maintain a top secret clearance.)
    He told me this after our 5th date, when we first started getting really “into” each other, because he didn’t know how and when to bring it up in a way that wouldn’t make him sound guilty. When he wanted to volunteer as a coach his now 14-year-old daughter’s soccer team, he had to fill out an application that asked the routine question, “Have you ever been arrested?” and he couldn’t make himself fill it out, because if you say you’ve been arrested for indecent liberties with a minor, people are going to think differently of you, no matter that you weren’t convicted. It’s a shadow over his life forever.
    I’d like to believe that everyone in law enforcement, CPS, etc, have the best of intentions, but sometimes completely innocent people are caught up in a nightmare of bureacracy, and what you think is cooperation can entangle you further, unintentionally. As someone advised above, I’d now get a lawyer, immediately.

  27. I absolutely sympathize with Enu’s case and agree that the system has major flaws.That said, I do feel like *someone* needs to play the devil’s advocate. Some cases ARE legitimate. Sometimes that child IS in danger. If we stopped trusting our gut when we saw a child in distress, would that scenario be better than this hyperzealous CPS interference?
    Just a thought.

  28. I too have a close friend who was wrongly reported to CPS, but as an abused child and a social worker I think we need to remember that CPS is there for a reason. Mistakes happen, but I WISH someone had seen the signs and reported my family. Maybe it would have helped fix some problems in my family.We talk so much about what’s right and wrong in parenting but sometimes you have to be able to act in the best interests of the children you’re sitting there feeling sorry for. I know I’m coming from a different place than most of you, but sometimes, most times, you will only see something happen once. You will only see something strange or inappropriate ONE TIME and then the family will self-correct and hide the behavior again.

  29. A few months ago I got the eerie feeling that my son’s nursery school teachers thought I was abusing him. A series of little things happened that really freaked me out…like their reporting his bruises to me everyday (that he got on the playground, but there was something accusatory about it). One day I was in his classroom trying to wipe some gunk on his nose and he cried out, “help! my mommy’s hurting me, she’s hurting my nose!”– at which point I turned to his teacher and said, “I’m wiping his nose. He’s been doing this a lot lately, just so you know, overreacting to small non-violent touching”. His teacher said, “Well, we teach our kids to let us know when someone is touching them inappropriately. They need to learn to speak up when they are being hurt.” Talk about a dagger through my heart. Why couldn’t he have said, “your mom was wiping your nose, it’s fine”? Days later my son actually told his teacher that I had given him the scratch that he had on his chin! He told her I was hurting him right in front of me! Of course I told her that I would never do such a thing. In any case, I decided to speak to the Director of the school and she totally calmed me down and just told me that they are legally bound to point out every scratch and bruise and question me the best they can. I felt better, but still there is a complete unwillingness to speak frankly and sympathetically for fear of legal recourse! So infuriating. Meanwhile, THANK GOODNESS, my son has stopped making these terrifying things up…so it’s been smooth sailing for a couple of months.

  30. I have *thank heavens* never been reported, but I was threatened by a lady that saw me waiting for the bus outside my job. My babysitter occasionally drops off my kids at my job and I take the bus home with them. My daughter, who is now a year, and my son, who is 3.5, were with me. Both of them had on 3 layers of clothing, but my daughter had taken off her socks and my son did not have a coat on (just a sweatshirt). The lady threatened me quite harshly saying that I am abusing my children by not having hats and gloves on them. It was not a cold day by any stretch and we had approximately a 5-10 minute wait for the bus, in the sunshine. No wind. I was scared out of my mind that we were going to be reported and it seriously shook me. People like THAT are the ones that I fear because they use CPS as a threat instead of trying to understand the situation (kids were dropped off, short wait). I am not anti-CPS by any means, but I do hate that it is used as a means of striking fear in someone’s heart. I see the woman frequently and would love to approach her. If she had that much of a concern, why didn’t she offer to buy gloves and hats for my kids? Or just take 5 minutes to let me explain it was an usual situation and I could use some understanding instead of judgment.

  31. I’m so sorry you (and others) had this horrible experience. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to parent after that; we already 2nd guess ourselves too much as it is!However, I must admit that if I thought a child was in danger, I would call CPS too. I’ve never done or even been tempted to do such a thing, but I do think better safe than sorry when it comes to a child’s welfare, that maybe it could save someone’s life. I would hope that CPS would at least tell you the results of the negative investigation to give you some peace of mind, though I imagine that would be small comfort.

  32. My God this all sounds like something out of ‘1984’. How can anyone possibly think that not putting gloves on a child amounts to child abuse?A student of mine told me that when his son broke his arm for the second time ( he had actually sat on his kid’s arm by accident when playing and it snapped!!!)the people at the hospital gave him an unofficial warning that if it happened a THIRD time, he would be reported. Of course it WAS an accident ( I believe) but THREE times seems the other extreme. But yeah, this is Italy, where nothing is ever taken seriously uutil someone actully dies.

  33. Enu, I think you were absolutely owed some closure by CPS. It is unfair to leave parents in some sort of legal limbo about a case until they just “age out” of the system. Maybe you could invent some sort of closure ceremony for you and your family, to celebrate the fact that you ARE a good mother and that your children are thriving despite what someone else thought.I think the decision to report someone to CPS would be an excruciatingly difficult one for most people, which is why so many states have laws requiring teachers and doctors to report in certain situations.
    A more gentle check in with families that might be struggling is a wonderful idea, but I agree with Ashramama- it is hard to do that as a government agency without being seen as just another incarnation of CPS. There are charities that work with families at risk for child abuse or neglect. One in San Diego is called Home Start. I hope other communities have similar organizations. These organizations aren’t the final solution to the problem- they usually focus on the lower income families, and of course, abuse happens at all income levels. But they are a start.

  34. And yet, and yet…We live in the greater Seattle area, so the first thing that comes to mind for me (and I’m sure, many of my neighbors) is Shayne Abegg, the boy who was deliberately starved by his father and stepmother, the boy who weighed twentyfour pounds when he was two. Millbarge weighs twentytwo pounds. She’s fourteen months old.
    At the same time, Fitz-Hume was born a pound and a half below zero percentile. At every appointment, we watched the scale anxiously, detailed her feeding regimen, asked what else we could do, obsessed over every ounce of formula and body fat. We were terrified, not just for her health, but of her medical staff’s opinion. Luckily, her doctor was a practical woman who treated Fitz-Hume like, well, Fitz-Hume, instead of fixating on the numbers.
    Enu, I’m so sorry for what happened to you and your family. Clearly, it was wrong.
    What happened to Shayne Abegg was also wrong. He was repeatedly reported to CPS and the police, but nobody did anything, and when they finally took him away, he could no longer sit up or stand. He’ll face physical and intellectual challenges for the rest of his life.
    CPS needs an overhaul. Seattle CPS needs a good hard shake.
    We need a better safety net for children, but also a better support system for parents who are doing right by their children.

  35. @akeeyu- my daughter weighs 25 lbs and she is 2. We are not starving her, I promise. She’s just small. I think the key difference is probably that she’s meeting her developmental milestones and that she’s always been small and is growing normally, just at her own pace. I only say this to point out that it is almost impossible to gauge these things strictly by the numbers. It will always be a judgment call, which is what makes it so hard.However, I agree with you- as terrible as it is when innocent families get caught in false or erroneous reports, it is far more terrible when innocent children suffer long term effects or DIE because they are not removed from abusive homes.
    No system will ever be perfect. I’d rather we err on the side of the children, and I’ll just have to hope that I never get a chance to really test that belief.

  36. My aunt was reported in a parking lot, years ago. My cousin has a port-wine birthmark across his face. Someone called in my aunt’s license plate saying that she had a child that had obviously been beaten. The police showed up at her doorstep. Fortunately, my cousin was napping, and the policeman could see that the mark on his face was a birthmark, so they didn’t even wake him and he never knew about it. The policeman told her that the person who called was a nurse, who said she had to call because she was a mandatory reporter. My understanding was that mandatory reporters have to report on stuff they see in the course of their duties, not snoop around in parking lots.I know that it was years before my aunt really felt comfortable walking around with my cousin without feeling like people were staring at her.

  37. Wow.I thought of Friday’s post myself when I stood painting my shed this weekend, with “assistance” from my 2-year old. To offer some sense of the ratio between moving-paint-from-brush-to-board and interacting-with-child, I managed to paint about 20 feet worth of (one side and one edge of) 1*8 trim in one hour. Much time was spent filling a tub with water for DS to splash a ball in, rescuing ball from having rolled down the hill, admiring assorted bugs located by DS, providing DS with his own paintbrush and allowing him to “paint” the shed … you get the idea. 3 seconds were spent uttering the exasperated sentence, “Do you think you could possibly be MORE pathetic?” (yes, that’s verbatim) in response to one of several incidents involving his whining at me to pay attention to him rather than to paint the trim.
    Am I really damaging my son by uttering such stupid queries? Honestly I think not (I’ll add that in our household “pathetic” is sort of a catch word … I used it myself this weekend to DH: “I know this is pathetic, but I’m exhausted and I’m going to lie down and take a nap myself [having just gotten DS for his]”). Nice people, the kind of people who not only admire the millipede you just found but who later help you track it after it disappears under the leaves, can and do get irritated (and sometimes with good reason). It’s not the end of the world, it doesn’t reflect on your overall quality as a human being even when it does reflect on particular behaviors you’ve exhibited, and it doesn’t reflect on theirs, either. These, I hope, are lessons my son will learn, and I don’t know that 2 is too young to start, or that even Mama shouldn’t be involved in teaching them.
    Thank heavens that’s all Friday’s post brought to me and I have not been in Enu’s situation. How utterly dreadful.
    My son, too, is 2 and weighs 25 lbs., and is right about at 25% on the weight chart, so there must be more to the story Akeeyu posted. But certainly no one would dispute that there are horrible examples of unreported and/or unaddressed neglect and abuse.
    Our state has a Guardian-at-litem program that on the one hand sounds, um, challenging for those who volunteer for it and that may only apply to kids already in foster care (not sure), but that puts a (hopefully) caring and trained adult in the role of offering advice on what, in their judgment, is best for a given kid in a given situation. I’m sure the program’s not perfect, and think it’s also very time-consuming and thus maybe not an option for many of the busy moms on this board, but it’s a way for ordinary people to assist kids who need a friendly/supportive eye on their situation as they and their families negotiate CPS, etc., get that.

  38. @better be anon for this one, I don’t know of what type of abuse you speak, but my father was pretty dreadful (though not physically or sexually abusive) and my mother stayed with him until we kids were grown partly, I think, because she knew how ugly a custody battle he’d create had she not. FWIW we survived and came out strong and will forever be awed by the strength and faith my mother demonstrated in enduring for us. Obviously your situation is different from ours, though I don’t know your specifics, but I hope your daughter’s experience will mirror ours in its positives. Incidentally my mother drove me crazy much of the time and was a dreadful nag, so it’s not like she was perfect … just strong and good in many (not all) ways that mattered. Here’s wishing you the same strength and goodness.

  39. My heart really goes out to enu on this one. Clearly 20 years is way too long to carry around this pain.I’m wondering if your children know about this? Do you think sharing this with them would help you? I can’t predict how they’ll react, but ultimately, it’s their opinion of your parenting that matters the most. They might be able to help you work through your pain.

  40. Seems a good place to delurk and put some must-watch videos. The first one is a law professor explaining why you ALWAYS use your right to remain silent and get a lawyer if you are being questioned by the police, even if and especially if you are innocent, and the second is a former detective telling how he gets people to incriminate themselves (people that he believes are guilty, keep in mind, but just because they’re convinced you did it doesn’t mean you did – and then there’s the unethical types who just want to close the case the quickest way possible).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8z7NC5sgik
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE&feature=related

  41. Yay for coming to the other end of things, enu!I grew up in a family where we should have had CPS all over us, and went to ridiculous lengths to keep them away. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my father is/was verbally and emotionally abusive, and so was his mother, with whom we lived. Here’s the thing: she owned the house we lived in, and his was the sole income – as a social worker! If we’d had CPS come down on us, we would have been in a baaad place, and we kids knew it. It was awful.
    Thinking about it now, today, though… it might well have been better for us, in the long run. My mother and my brothers and I all carry horrid emotional scars, and all have trouble (to put it mildly) functioning in the world – holding a job, etc. I try not to get caught up playing “what if” generally, but this has me thinking hard. I’m definitely determined not to let my kids get hurt this way!

  42. My best friend and her husband had to stop seeing his son (her stepson) when his mother used DCF reports to manipulate him into doing what she wanted. They were investigated several times, all unfounded, but when they started talking about “well, we’ll have to figure out what to do with your baby” they said forget it. He is a fireman and she is a teacher and anything on their records would have destroyed their careers – they just couldn’t risk it. It’s really sad, because the boy’s mother was a nut and who knows what she is telling the kid, but they couldn’t risk their other children and their livelyhoods.It’s a major reason I don’t ever consider calling DCF if I don’t know what the deal is. It messes with people’s lives. I always think that calling to report someone would be a last resort, not a “well, I don’t know and I can’t be bothered” decision.

  43. Funny, I’ve been on the narrow edge of this a few times, actually – and I mostly just found it annoying, because while some of the people involved were kinda clumsy about the process, they were also responsible and sensible about it.Scenarios:
    1) Mr G at preschool, when asked in circle what things he didn’t like, said ‘I don’t like when people hit me’. The teachers did listen, but also waited for any kind of other evidence than a single verbal report before assuming ‘something reportable’ was going on – and it turned out he was being bullied on the playground under their noses. Whoops? But they also took in the information without making any snap judgments.
    2) (actually, happened first) Mr G broke his leg when he was about 2 years old. There was a substantial delay in seeking medical care, because he just wanted to hang out on the sofa watching tv with daddy, so it was something like six hours later (when I got home) that the cross-check on ‘how bad is this boo-boo really’ was done. When he refused to put any weight on the leg, that’s when I called it in. Ep didn’t know about doing that check, he just had a child who was content to sit on the sofa with him and watch tv and snack. The ER staff did rather get all over me in dramatic tones of voice, Way Too Serious to the point that they were asking incredibly leading questions trying to catch me in a lie… like asking if I trusted his father with him alone, how often this kind of thing happened (er, never?), where was his father right now, etc. When the decided to cast his leg, they didn’t know if it was a thigh break or a shin break, because his bones weren’t calcified enough to read the break until it started to heal. Thigh is almost always abuse – it’s really hard to break that bone without twisting it at the same time at that age, which takes human action in most cases. But the docs also held off reporting until they could get a second (2-week-later) x-ray to identify the break location – turned out to be shin, and they all heaved a great sigh of relief that it was the bone most likely to be broken by a child slipping and falling, not the most likely to be abuse. (had the same reaction from the ER when I broke my ankle, and decided to drive home 2 hours rather than take my busted ankle and a 2-year-old to a strange ER by myself…)
    3) FTT with Mr B. When a child drops down the charts without apparent reason, that’s always a red flag issue for being starved or maltreated or neglected, etc. But we see a family doc who was my family doc as a child, who has seen me parent over the years with Mr G, my mom sees him, my brother sees him, etc. – and he said openly that FTT could raise flags, but he was NOT worried about my parenting, only about Mr B’s wellbeing. Now, that might be a dangerous assumption because some people really hide their craziness under a veneer of perfect, but I think the fact that I don’t try to prove I’m perfect – just learning and trying – he felt pretty confident of that assessment.
    So, with some reasonableness, it is a fair process. ANNOYING (Oh, man, I still roll my eyes at the ‘so, what orthopedist do you USUALLY use for this kind of thing?’ comment, and the ‘do you want to change your story?’ question being repeated over and over… UGH).
    And I want to say that I do see the value in CPS – I also think that there should be services or some other way to manage the aftermath for those who are not in the system. Granted, funding funding funding, and the ‘healthy’ families are the least likely to get priority on funded services. It still creates a lot of trouble.
    Imperfect systems for imperfect humans.

  44. @aeekyuMy daughter was 21 pounds (fully clothed) at 2 years.
    I don’t know if it will help anyone else, but if you have a kid who is falling off the charts and the doctor is concerned, ask about constitutional growth delay.

  45. I think that this topic and a subject that came up late on Friday are linked. While I don’t know the circumstances of the people who have posted here about having been reported unfairly, statistics make it plain that white middle class folks regardless of their behavior are much less likely to be reported. There is a freedom in this – to be you own parenting self in public, and in the face of official-dom. Poor folks and people of color do not have this privilege – they know that that they are much more vulnerable to the system.I think this is very linked to public parenting whose purpose is to show the child to be obedient and the parent to be in charge – even if means being authoritarian. When we feel vulnerable to judgement about our children’s behavior, we tend to boss more, I think.
    It even extends to appearance – for middle class white folks to be have dirty, scruffy kids (like mine) means that you are kinda hippy and like to let your kids your explore. For poor folks or people of color to have dirty, scruffy kids means (in the minds of many) that the parents aren’t capable of taking care of them. No one is going to risk that, if they can help it, and might end up yelling more about kids making messes. That might raise the eyebrows of someone who doesn’t feel vulnerable in the same way.
    Plus, poor folks do way more parenting in public, so a much larger percentage of their frustrated moments happen in front of you. For example, the frustration of traveling every day with your children by bus – it takes longer, they are less comfortable, kids need more control over their own behavior, you feel more vulnerable, you are the mercy of the bus system as to whether or not your kids will be late for school, etc, etc, etc. The situation virtually guarantees more yelling, for the exact same folks who know they are more vulnerable to reporting….

  46. Shayne Abegg weighted 22 pounds when he was *four* years old. I think Akeeyu mistyped.I’ve reported people to CPS, but only with what I considered reasonable cause. No parking lot drive-bys. I think CPS should be stricter, actually, but then I haven’t been reported so I don’t know what that is like. No matter what, CPS is always going to be big bureaucracy, and as such is going to be difficult to run well.
    Alexicographer, my mother always asked why I remembered the bad stuff and not the nurturing stuff. Unfortunately, the bad stuff carries a lot more weight. I don’t think you/your parenting falls into this category, but it is something I think about with my kids. Does the knowledge that they are loved unconditionally (which I didn’t have from my mom) make up for my lapses? I hope so. (Just for the record, my lapses involve yelling, and my mom’s involved hitting and other physical and verbal abuse.)
    Finally, Enu, I’m sorry that happened to you; it sounds terrible.

  47. I’ve been noodling on this more, and Mamie has gone in the same direction too.What really gets me is how dramatically parenting standards have changed in one generation that make it harder to be a poor parent and make poor parents much more vulnerable to this. Some of it is legal like expensive carseat requirements (which then only fit in certain size cars), but a lot is a changed culture that really seems to be a middle/ upper-middle class thing. Good lord, when I think about the things that were commonplace when I was a kid in the 70’s/80’s (we were left in the car with the windows cracked all.the.time) – my mother would be arrested these days.
    It seems a lot of what is perceived to be neglect by outside observers is not having the money to do things the most “correct” and “safe” way.
    (I don’t mean to say I think the new standards are wrong – often excessive, but it’s a lot safer to be a kid now. It’s just a lot harder and maybe impossible to achieve without disposable income.)

  48. I cannot imagine that anyone would make that call lightly or as some kind of revenge on someone. I agonized for almost a year and a half before calling CPS about a family I was reasonably good friends with. And I told them ahead of time I was doing it. They were “doing their best” but the kids were in really rough shape… they desperately needed help, and to be “forced” to get their son help that he desperately needed.I still feel … not conflicted about the decision because I wouldn’t have made the call if I didn’t think it was the right decision, but sorry for the family. Sorry that what they thought was their best was still really crappy for their kids.

  49. Husband of a friend of a friend was reported as a sex abuser by unstable sister-in-law, based on a vague remark by the three-year-old. Everyone around them agrees that this was obviously revenge, and unfounded. The lawyer advised that the child’s mother retain separate counsel, basically take an adversarial role against her husband even though she had not one particle of doubt that he was 100% innocent. The logic was, if he loses in court, and you have supported him, kid could wind up in foster care. But if you distance yourself enough, he could lose custody but you might get to keep her. It’s hard to say what needs fixing in this case. If an abused child confides in her aunt, and lots of grownups were in denial it would look the same from CPS’s perspective.

  50. My prayers go out to those of you who have been wronged by DSS and for those of you who have been wronged by those who should have loved you unconditionally. today’s post has made me cry.and more prayers for those of us parenting in conditions which exacerbate our stress and in bring on the yelling and fear. Friday’s post made me cry too. Four year olds are HARD.

  51. @akeeyu- I hear you. I have basically had to institute a policy whereby I don’t click through and read those sorts of stories. Not because I want to pretend that such things don’t happen, but because I know they do and I can’t handle my reaction to it. Someday, I am going to figure out how to do something with that reaction other than just go and hug my daughter and then throw money at a relevant charity.

  52. I have spent the day wondering about recovering from injustice and I just don’t think I know how it’s done. I would imagine most of us can think of a time when we were falsely accused for things minor, or in enu’s case, devastatingly major. The sting of being so deeply unknown by the accuser is awful (part of what helps me understand the tantruming 2 year-old – those are HARD feelings).In my own life, time & distance have taken the edge off the pain of these instances, but I truly don’t think they’ll ever ‘close’. They make up part of the story of me now, and are a reference point for some of the why’s of how I live and think. But there are people out there that I still imagine myself getting to put in their place if God help them, I ever see them in public.
    So all that to say enu, I don’t have good news for you. I think you get stay tender in that spot forever. Perhaps with a deeper compassion for other victims of injustice in your world. But tender nonetheless.
    Oh. But do send flowers to the case worker with a card that says “F&*k You motherf&*cker. We did it despite you.”

  53. Enu,I am so sorry this has happened to you. No one should have to live with anything like this for 18 years!
    What I’m about to suggest may be too new age for you, but it does work, if you really get into it.
    My read on your post was you were looking for a way to release the rage and injustice you feel toward CPS now that your child will be 18. I think you owe yourself the gift of release.
    You could write an anonymous letter to the editor. However the journalists can be pretty savvy and they may somehow out you to the public and I don’t think you want that.
    You could go in person or write to the head of CPS and say you want a letter of apology now that she is 18. You may never get that and that rejection could reaffirm the anger.
    You could go to your local state office and see what they can do, but due to the state of our government, I think they will brush you off.
    You could invest in therapy and have a therapist help you release this, but that’s expensive.
    So, IMO the only thing that’s left for you to do is as one person suggested, release it.
    If it were me, I’d kick everyone out of the house and allow yourself to feel what you feel about this. You can look at it as a way to honor your child and yourself as you begin the “letting go” time of life.
    I’d start by looking at old pictures to spark the memories. Then with no intention of sending it, I’d begin to draft a very emotional letter to those people and be brutally honest. In the letter scream at them, tell them the impact this has had on you and on your parenting. Tell them how you feel deep inside and allow yourself to yell and cry at the heavens. Be honest, really get in to it and then see how you feel afterwards. See if it makes any difference. See if your perspective has changed. Unfortuatly those who did this to you no longer remember you, or the case, but you remember them and all the details. That means it’s up to you to release this injustice because justice in the normal sense will most likely never be yours.
    Congratulations on having the courage to post this so others can learn from your experiences, it’s very valuable.
    Good luck.

  54. @Chiara and others who have posted about how difficult it is to meet the current standards of ‘basic’ parenting (as defined by the childless and casual observers in parking lots and grocery stores), I really agree. The standards are nearly impossible to meet, I think, and anyone who is looking for something to criticize in ANYONE’S parenting will be able to find it. I’m lucky enough to be white and middle class, and I find the pressure enormous. I can’t imagine how I’d hold up if I were further scrutinized because of my color or socio-economic status.And I would add that for those of us who are single parents, the standards are even harder to meet. Purely logistically, there is no one to leave in the car with the sleeping child when you have to run into the post office or to the gas station to pay for a fillup, no one to call the doctor while you hold the sick or injured child, etc. etc. Any of these situations could be read wrong and judged by observers.
    All that said, of course we need CPS, and of course it’s vital to call them when you suspect abuse or neglect, and thank God for the people who work in these terribly overwhelming jobs. Reforming that system to provide more support to well-meaning but overwhelmed families and true closure and exoneration to the falsely accused would be a good life’s work for someone.
    All of which reconfirms my strong belief that parents, mothers in particular, are in an impossible position in our society. Damned if we do, damned if we don’t, judged mercilessly in any case, and with so very very little in the way of emotional, financial, or logistical support.

  55. Enu, I am so sorry for what you went through.When my child was 8 months old, I had him in a Baby Bjorn in the grocery store. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and smiling/babbling away with me. A woman came up to us and talked with him. Then she said to me, I should call CPS, he must be freezing (it was close to 100 out and I was not holding him in the freezer). As she walked away I asked her if she would like my name to make the call easier…reading this I would not be so glib.
    On the other side, are there agencies that offer extra help to parents that are a step before CPS. Help with child care, nutrition, parenting skills? There have been a couple of times when I have been on the fence about calling CPS and it is agonizing. If there was some intermediate third party that was as not accusatory as possible that was in the position to offer help I think that children would benefit greatly.

  56. @mamie I think that is a great point. I can’t think of examples, but a number of times recently (good heavens, what have I been up to?) I’ve thought, “Well, if anyone stops me as I …” [Do what? Cannot remember!! Was I trespassing? Investigating the well-being of someone else’s dog on their property? Something else? Yikes! But, um, honestly, I’m a polite, boring, mild-mannered middle American. Really.] “…I’ll just explain and that will be that.” And, yes, it probably would, and because I’m white, middle class, middle aged (there I said it) and boringly well spoken, well, it would be. But the same is not so for others who are just as harmless as I, and I know it.@Akeeyu, I, too, entirely empathize. Indeed, I didn’t google Shayne Abegg’s name precisely because I suspected I couldn’t (can’t) read his story.
    @CherylC thanks for your point. I don’t mean to minimize the importance of good, loving parenting (quite the contrary, really), and certainly I along with everyone need gentle nudges and lots of support to attain the standard many parents (me included) set for ourselves. Still I do think that kids can be resilient, particularly when the negatives are yelling/nagging (as was true of my mom who drove me CRAZY as a teenager but whom I adore and respect today), not the sort of abuse you experienced, and when the love is unconditional (which my mom’s was and which I certainly hope and intend for mine to be).
    @Chiara and others commenting on the changing standards for parenting — yes, my mom routinely left me and my brother in the car when she ran into the grocery store, e.g., from the point when we were perhaps 8 on. Those with fond memories of some aspects of those days might enjoy http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/.

  57. I know it’s not at all the same, but last fall someone called the cops on us TWICE in one week because my son, then 3, was having horrible tantrums and screaming his head off for 30-45 minutes at a time.The first time, they arrived after the tantrum and we were all playing happily; the second time, they arrived just after we got out of the shower (and I was still without clothes!). He hadn’t wanted the bath at all and was screaming to put his dirty shirt back on.
    We recently moved and I feel so much better- I’ve stopped having mini panic attacks whenever I see a strange car pull up to the house, and I’m not afraid to see a police officer. I had no idea if CPS would get involved, or if I would even know if they did. I was sure to do all the “right” things- take him to a pediatrician for a thorough checkup, talk to a counselor, etc. and everyone declared “normal 3 year old behavior”.
    Oh and after that second time, he never threw another tantrum.. but the constant stress and fear of having my children taken away wasn’t worth it.

  58. My sister told me once of how she reported her neighbor to CPS, and it still just burns me up that she did this. Apparently a 9 year old child was spending a lot of time outside by himself, and she thought that was inappropriate. The neighbors are Middle Eastern, and I imagine that there also might be some cultural differences in parenting going on as well. Needless to say, her neighbor doesn’t speak to her anymore. I can’t blame her.I also yell at my son sometimes, and I am not proud of that. Now that it is spring and the windows are open more often, this gives me another reason why I should learn to control my temper. We are also currently doing some sleep training for my son (who is 11 months old), so he does his fair share of crying at bedtime. Hopefully that won’t be fodder for CPS. It’s really disturbing how paranoid we have to be as parents.

  59. I have a slightly different opinion on this. I worked CPS in a city of 300K for almost 5 years.I would have loved to provide counseling services to my families and my kids. And I was trained to do that. I was also supposed to have no more than 25 cases at a time. I *never* had fewer than 65 families on my caseload. I worked 80 – 90 hours a week, on call 24/7, making life or death decisions, and trying to do that in a respectful way that still kept my kids safe. If a placement disrupted at 2 o’clock in the morning, then I got up out of bed, went and got that kid, and found him/her a new place to live. All this for wages that would have qualified me to receive food stamps. Granted, this was the early/mid 90s, so things have improved somewhat, but I did all this for a yearly salary of $16,000. I think after a few years I was up to 20K per year. It was almost but not quite enough to live on.
    Our foster parents were heroes – willing to take in kids (sometimes violently troubled kids) at all hours, provide love and consistency, and they were paid less per day than it would cost to feed a child. Yet they were almost always accused by the family of being in it for the money. Yeah, that $10 per day per kid sure was raking it in.
    This is hard, hard work. The pressure is intense, and just as shown in these comments, we couldn’t win. We were either A) lazy and incompetent and intentionally left children in dangerous situations, or B) evil and faceless bureaucrats whose sole mission was to disrupt families and bother innocent people. You pick.
    I lost 3 kids. One to medical neglect, one to abuse, one to gang violence. I almost lost 2 more adorable little girls who were getting on their mother’s nerves at the ages of 2 and 4, so she decided to overdose them on her rx. She almost killed them, and then fought like hell when we tried to terminate her parental rights and free the girls for adoption. I did everything possible to prevent those situations from happening, and help those families stay together and safe. And yet, those kids died on my watch. I was supposed to keep them safe. But I couldn’t be everywhere at once.
    I was lied to *constantly*, threatened, held at knifepoint, followed home, and shot at. Shot at more than once. I have held crying children in my arms while I tried to explain why mommy didn’t show up for her visit, then a few hours later dealt with drunk mommy who’s pissed off that I won’t go and pull the child from school. Then calling the paper, the lawyer, and the court saying that I’m refusing to grant her visitation rights.
    On the plus side, all these years later, I’m still in touch with some of my kids, so hopefully I’ve made some sort of difference in their lives. Goodness knows I tried. Are all social workers good? Hell, no. But most of them are in it for the right reasons and are trying like hell to keep their kids safe, in a violent and threatening environment where almost everyone lies to them.
    Think you can do better? Have at it. They need good social workers, and apparently many of you are omniscient.

  60. Oh anonymous CPS worker! I think the majority of people here do not have a issues with you, but rather take offense to the person/people who report to you based on (mostly) one time run-ins with the parents. See birth mark, playing alone outside, tantruming toddler, etc.

  61. Also, anon CPS worker, I am curious to know how many of your overage cases (65+ when you were only supposed to have 25) were cases like the one-off situations listed above. How often was your time spent investigating an obvious non-issue vs. dealing with serious issues?

  62. @ Definitely anonymous – yes, yes, yes! Such a big problem is the unbearable pressure the social workers are under to do an impossible job with unreasonable expectations on every side. I certainly meant no judgement on the people who are trying to help. As Melanie TM notes, it’s frivolous calls, and the bureaucracy of the system that are so scary and frustrating.

  63. MelanieTM – we pretty much went by the universal 80/20 rule. Probably about 20% of the calls that came in to the hotline were probably/obviously BS. In many cases, it stopped right there.But in about half of the 20%, it wasn’t clear from the information in the call, and we had to go out and investigate to be sure. Yes, that was disruptive and intrusive. But if I was going to make a mistake, by god it was going to be on the side of protecting a child.
    There was nothing we loved more than being able to close a case and notify the family that no action would be taken. And know that the child/ren were safe.
    The vast, vast majority of our time was spent on “real” cases. And most often on the ones that we had no real hope of helping, to be quite honest. But those were the ones most at risk. We had investigative teams and ongoing teams, and although I worked both at different times, I spent most of my time on ongoing cases, which were often generational. I had one case that went back four generations.
    Many of my cases were in-home, where the child/ren remained with their family, and we worked together to develop a safety plan to keep the kid/s safe. The out-of-home cases were the ones where a judge had determined that the child was at “imminent risk of death or serious physical injury” and had to be removed from their family. It was a high standard, as it should be. It may be different in other states, but in mine, social workers don’t make the determination to remove a child – the court does, most often at the request of DSS/whatever it’s called now. The police can, as well. But social workers don’t make that decision, and the decision to file for custody was not taken lightly, not by a long stretch.
    The system is broken. But I *was* the system. There’s no way in hell that I could do that job now, not just because of money, but because now I’m a parent myself. And I no longer have the professional distance that is required to do the job and stay sane.
    And I still have nightmares about some of the things my kids suffered.

  64. Like others here we had a close call with our elder son when boiling water spilled on his face. My husband was making tea and our son ran and crashed into his legs (he was 16 months) and so water spilled on the counter and then on our son’s face. We called 911 b/c he wouldn’t open his eye and the paramedics, fire dept and police arrived. One of the paramedics immediately assessing the situation (tea mugs with tea bag, tea kettle, all left abandoned) said it was an accident but still we had to answer endless questions to the police while at the ER and then later on had to have a home visit with a detective assigned to the case. I agonized before the visit over everything in our house to make sure nothing could be misconstrued. We didn’t have baby gates on our stairs because our son could climb up and down and yet that seemed like a bad parent decision. In the end an ice storm prevented the detective from coming and she dismissed the case because of what the paramedic had said and because it was an isolated incident.For those 2 weeks until the visit was supposed to happen I lived in fear. Even after we have lived in fear. We live in fear for the same reasons that others have mentioned but also because we have the wrong skin color and names in today’s environment and with all the craziness that has been going on we live in fear of giving anyone even the slightest excuse to abuse their power. Perhaps it is an irrational fear but it is a fear that I think we will live for at least in the near future until hopefully the present president will change perspectives and policies.
    I have the utmost respect for people in the social work field and other social services field because yes the pay is pitiful and the hours and work is long, demanding, and heartbreaking. BUT there have been too many stories and too many instances of people who have been destroyed even though they were innocent in the first place (just as many have mentioned as well as Enu).
    I think if CPS workers (in this case) were actually not overburdened and supported in their profession they would be able to support the families more. And at the same time YES there should be penalties for false reporting and YES there should be a first step friendly non-permanent record kept policy or procedure.

  65. I think it’s a tough call. Goodness knows we didn’t have time to waste on BS investigations.But if there’s no anonymity, some people simply won’t call. And then a child is at risk. Cutting down on false allegations would also reduce the real calls, and then a child will be hurt.
    I’d rather err on the side of safety for kids.

  66. Touching on the class issue…I was raised pretty comfortably middle class. Maybe working class middle class. My husband was raised working class poor. We’re both white. Grew up in the same city. His sister had several children by different fathers, men who didn’t stick around to help. She was off and on welfare. When I freak out about CPS or how our parenting might look to someone, he just keeps saying, if the social workers never took his nieces away, they’d never take our kids.Our city has been having a rash of co-sleeping deaths (3 in a month, I think). And we co-sleep with our baby. But we’re suburban and white. And not drunk/high when we sleep with her. Or have 3 other kids in bed. But I wonder if that would matter…
    What a nightmare.

  67. @Definitely anonymous- thank you for posting and thank you for your years spent doing such an incredibly difficult and important job.I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for ways people who don’t have it in them to do that job or be foster parents can still help? For instance, are there good charities that try to pick up the slack, which we could donate to? Smaller ways people can volunteer?
    And @enu, I’m wondering if some sort of involvement with the other side of the coin would help heal your pain? Do you think that would give you a way of taking charge of the narrative and writing your own end to the story? I have no experience with this level of hurt, so I don’t know if that would be pouring salt in an open wound or a way of giving you some different associations with the subject.

  68. I’m with cloud – how can we help?I alluded to the fundamental issues CPS has when I said it came down to funding funding funding – not enough resources to handle the issues, and that cascades through the entire system. The constant cycle of financial pressure and overwork sets up some of the subculture problems in some CPS systems (like a city with corruption in CPS, or a practice of faking casework being allowed by supervisors – had that locally recently, and definitely a side effect of long-term overwork, where the crushing effect of that undermined professional standards).
    I knew a couple who specialized in fostering HIV-positive and addicted infants, and talked with the wife periodically about the heartbreak of returning a child to a situation that was likely to crash and burn again later. And the few shining situations that looked like the family had found the right support and guidance within the system (and outside – often through church groups) to get them pointed in a sane and reasonable direction. They continued doing it until they couldn’t manage the nights anymore (I think they were in their 80’s at that point), because regardless of how broken the system might be, it was the best system we had. Their position was that the more they supported the system, the better it would work.
    Now, I’m unlikely to become a foster parent any time soon (as I’m maxed out with my own kids), but there are plenty of other areas that could use some propping up, moral support, contributions, etc. But I don’t know what they are (and the couple in question are deceased, now, so I can’t ask them).
    @enu, I think cloud’s suggestion is a very interesting one. You might need to do some steps between here and there, but closing that loop might be one way to close the entire thing – and a way to do so that reflects your best self, rather than your anger and hurt. That’s another way of expressing that ‘revenge’ – not letting the hurt stop you from being your best self. Still, healing comes before forgiveness for most people. I’ll again mention pastoral counseling because it’s more than about the feelings, it is about the meaning, identity, and faith in the world – even if not in anything Divine. Sometimes a ritual can help, too – and that’s also something the average counselor won’t be as attuned to doing (some may).

  69. Thanks all, for your comments and suggestions. I’m working through them.I think CPS plays an important role. I do not believe their own policies were followed in my case. My case should have been closed within a reasonable amount of time, and I should have been notified of this. I don’t think asking that much is asking too much of the system. I was told nothing, nada, except that we would be investigated and records sent to the state of all doctor’s appointments.
    Whether a low weight should automatically trigger an investigation, I am not sure. In our case, I had a remarably robust, if skinny, baby who was meeting all her milestones very early and strong as an ox. She did later turn out to have a serious condition which may or may not have been related to her slow growth as an infant – I don’t think we’ll ever know. But none of this should have been a cause for lifelong suspicion.

  70. @Hedra “3) FTT with Mr B. When a child drops down the charts without apparent reason, that’s always a red flag issue for being starved or maltreated or neglected, etc. But we see a family doc who was my family doc as a child, who has seen me parent over the years with Mr G, my mom sees him, my brother sees him, etc. – and he said openly that FTT could raise flags, but he was NOT worried about my parenting, only about Mr B’s wellbeing. Now, that might be a dangerous assumption because some people really hide their craziness under a veneer of perfect, but I think the fact that I don’t try to prove I’m perfect – just learning and trying – he felt pretty confident of that assessment.So, with some reasonableness, it is a fair process.”
    @ hedra, I really did try to be reasonable, compliant, etc. with the doctor. We did everything she said to do. We did not have the luxury of a family history and trust with her; my childhood pediatrician was 3 states away and had been dead for years – besides, I wouldn’t have sent a child to him, he creeped me out. I don’t see what I could have done wrt to being more reasonable – this was an automatic reportable thing.

  71. @enu, I’m not saying that *you* didn’t do all the reasonable things you needed to do. I’m saying that sometimes it is the OTHER party that has to do the reasonableness. And sometimes they can’t, because of the mandated reporting – in my case, I stood right on that line, but BECAUSE my doc had all that background, he called it for me being on the one side. Without that degree of background and probably a good dose of ‘I know these people well’ (which is why I mentioned the degree of family interaction), I’d have been right in your shoes. It wasn’t meant as a smack to your situation, but a recognition that much of the time it isn’t what happens from our side, but from the side of the other players, that makes all the difference. You can do everything right, and still get caught if any one person draws the line differently.

  72. (and I’m sorry – on re-read, it did sound like ‘if you just played your cards right’… but I really meant I FREAKIN LUCKED OUT by total accident of x + y + z conditions = my result. Change one factor, different result. I can see how that sounded like ‘if you were only more like me, blah blah blah…’ NOT the intent, in any way. Sorry for the unintended ouchies on that one.)

  73. @Definitely anonymous – I’m so glad you shared your perspective.@Enu – I’m so sorry you felt you had to live in fear for so many years. “My case should have been closed within a reasonable amount of time, and I should have been notified of this. I don’t think asking that much is asking too much of the system. I was told nothing, nada, except that we would be investigated and records sent to the state of all doctor’s appointments.”
    Yes, yes, and yes. I hear you and how overwhelming that had to have been for you. If I may inquire about this touchy subject – did you ever ask in writing for a letter from the agency stating the status of your case, in order to find out whether or not your case was closed? Was something (like paralyzing fear? lack of finances?) preventing you from seeking legal counsel to help you obtain the finality you deserved? I realize the world was a different place 18+ years ago, but in today’s world, if someone is currently experiencing the bureaucratic hell you went through, there are helpful and sometimes free legal solutions available, and pursuing them would be my advice.
    @People in the US who open the door to strangers saying they are from the government – Please ask, through a window, to see some i.d. You don’t have to grant access to your home to anyone without a valid warrant. They can go see a judge about it and come back with the sheriff. It’s called the Constitution.

  74. Oh, and suggestions for how to help the system . . .In my state, we have (or at least had) a Foster Care Review Board. They are community volunteers who are screened and trained. They review our case notes and files. Sometimes they present findings to the court in certain cases. Their notes become a part of the official case record, and their role is to ensure that we are working cases appropriately and providing adequate services. It’s a good check/balance on the system, and most of us never minded the input. Sometimes a fresh eye is good. However, many of them were extremely naive about what could be done, and some were hostile. Workers whose paperwork was chronically behind were less thrilled, because they had to spend a lot of time catching up their case notes.
    CASA is a great organization, and always in need of volunteers to represent the child’s interests in court.
    As for how to help directly, and again, it’s been a while for me, but one thing our kids always needed were suitcases or duffel bags. I can’t tell you how many kids I removed who had to put their clothing in trash bags. If I could have provided them with a new suitcase, it would have been just a bit less traumatic and embarassing.
    The office was also always short on car seats. Social workers generally transport their kids to and from visits, doctor’s appointments, therapy, etc. Sometimes foster parents will, but probably only about half the time. We only had 4 or 5 car seats, 8 – 10 workers, and dozens of infants and toddlers to cart around. It was a nightmare of scheduling to figure out if there would be a car seat free at the time each of us on the team needed it.
    You might contact your local office, or work with a community group to provide those sorts of things to help the kids.

  75. @Definitely Anonymous – I have a good friend who also was a social worker for CPS (or whatever it was called where he lived) for many years. He pretty much told us the same situation you gave, without details that might have made his wife nervous. I could never imagine doing that job, because surely I would go home crying every night. But I truly appreciate those who do. And I really appreciate the ways you suggested that people can help. I will look into those options as I am able!Like MelanieTM said, it’s the people who use the threat of CPS for spitful reasons or because they don’t understand a situation that concern me, as well as the problems with the bureaucracy of the system. If I could decide where my tax dollars went, there would be a large chunk sent to CPS nation-wide. And if I could, I would insist people talk to each other and try to help each other, not just spy on strangers and assume they know what is going on and what is best for everyone else.
    I truly believe that CPS should err on the side of safety for the children. And I also believe that the system should ensure that people who are cleared are notified and never left hanging, as enu was.
    There just simply isn’t a win-win in many cases. Most of us are doing the best we can, and I love this site because we try to recognize that about each other.

  76. I am a supervisor for Child Protective Services in California. I have worked in child protection in a vareity of different programs for over 10 years. I am also a mom of a two and a half year old. I am the first to acknowledge that mistakes in both ways. I really wish the public knew more about what we really do and incrediable dedication of most social workers to make the right decisions. The Court proceedings are closed and our records are confidential so most will never know the hard decisions we are faced with every day. The first thing that is often misunderstood is that in CA mandatated reporters ie teachers, doctors, nurses and a lot of otehrs that work with children are mandated to report any suspion of child abuse or neglect. They are not charged with the investigation. They are always in encouraged to err on the side of reporting. I understand it can be very scary to go through an investigation but in the case of failure to thrive people need to understand the risk of not investigating could be death of a child if a parent was really withholding food. I have seen those cases. Also, sometimes minor lapses of parenting judgement that get reported like leaving your child in the car while you run into the store can also lead to death. I hae also seen this happen so it is always best to err on the side of reporting, in my opinon. I also hope people can understand that the goal of CPS is to keep families together or to reunite them if the child is not safe in the home. CPS can really turn lives around. I also had the tragic experience of repeatedly reporting my sister to CPS. She is at the end of the process and while she harbors some resentment about the involvement of government in her life. CPS probably saved her life and early intervention helped her keep custody of her son. She is a severe alcoholic and was on a path to destruction. She has been forced into treatment with the threat of losing her son and this time I think she has understood the power of her addiction. Please keep an open mind.

  77. I asked for my sons WIC paper work because I know how much CPS is abused and once you are in the system you are in fear for your family and always trumatized there should be something we could do if found unfounded or to the person that made the call but as I found out we really cant do anything just cover your a** with paper work.

  78. You don’t get a free pass on this one. It’s simple logic you take the cleasss and get your act together OR you lose your children permanently. An attorney isn’t going to side with you against CPS And the court.

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  81. Arachveulebrivi ganxilvaa, mec gaemasxna 2001 Space Odyssey ragac momentebshi, ulamazesi filmi iyo… magram mayurebeli iyo ragac saswauli, cxovelebi sufta, mteli filmis ganmavlobashi 2 rigi kvdeboda sicilit da komentars uketebda yvelafers, dzaan gagizianebuli wamovedi…

  82. This site is to remember abuse viitcms. You can find the news story on the internet. Its not just this site here. The story is these children were abused and no one has a right to hurt a child. They deserve better than to die at such a young age. As people we need to remember them. Who are we hurting? the ones that receive the most pain was Tricia and Victor. That what needs to be remember. We need to stop and prevent child abuse.

  83. well they are but u guys need to take my cousins out of this site and let them rest in peace u know and by the wy my grama didnt hit them or ainnhtyg i use to live with them and her so u guys need to get your shit right ok

  84. Angie, yeah it *does* sound simple. I tohught so as I wrote it! Yet, I find that I’m still having to go back and correct a lot of the same tendencies. I have not broken all of my bad habits, but I’m able to beat them into submission now!Marcie, so glad that the site has been helpful to you! Best of the luck on the journey! Jo, Kate was absolutely right! (ha! Big surprise Kate’s always right! ) Especially in regards to the black moment, it’s much stronger when triggered by issues within the h and H. That’s what causes real change, real conflict, real resolution. It’s what makes us believe in the HEA. If it’s their own issues in their way, then that conflict is what bubble to the surface, causing your black moment, then those internal struggled have to be beaten in order for them to get their HEA. That makes for good, believable character development, an engaging, believable story, and people we’re really rooting for and who we can believe in!

  85. Great post Maisey. I had a similar eeierpxnce to Jo’s when I pitched to Donna. In my story I had my characters forced together due to a third party. A friend of the hero’s who he wants to help. Donna very astutely suggested that maybe it would be better if the person who was in trouble was the heroine, rather than a third person. I didn’t continue with this story, but she was right. Making it all about the hero and heroine ensured that the focus was squarely on the two of them, not the interesting third character.

  86. I’d like to see aeplps to aeplps comparisons (in the U.S.).At the minimum wage level, no company can get away with paying men vs women differently. (I can see an attractive waitress making more tips than waiter but that would be with any tip based wages, I’d think.)Even at, say, engineering level, I don’t know how companies can get away with paying men vs women differently for the exact same job. For the same experience and same skill set (and job description), I’d expect the pay to be the same.I can’t see any public job like teaching could be discriminated, either.I know with relatively set fees like doctors, the amount that the insurance co will pay won’t differentiate between male and female doctors. It all boils down to how many patient you see per day (how popular you are will the patients). My sister is a MD and makes as much money as she wants (with fixed rate per patient). The more she sees, the more she’ll make. There is no difference between male or female, as far as I can tell.So, what other jobs allow companies to discriminate between male and female?

  87. Yes, I am happy we started tneatmert soon. It took so long to get rid off. Mita’s still got a bit of a bald patch, but it is slowly growing back!

  88. I truly believe that CPS and Law Enforcement soulhd have a right to interview a child who has made an outcry, whether it be to a teacher, nurse, counselor or other trusted adult. Too many times the parent is not willing to listen to the child or does not believe the child. I know first hand that a child in my family, she is six now, but for the last three years she has made outcries to a child psychologist, to her mother and her grandmother, a social worker and yet the father walked away free. He had also been accused off sexually abusing two other small children. The other two children were too young and were unable to prove their case. With our little one, the final determination in the case was: Unable to determine. To this day the child becomes ill before and after she comes back from her visitation with her father. Yet no one is listening or appears to care. Than the public will be shocked when the worst circumstances occur with the life of this little girl. The father has a long criminal history and he boasts, I don’t know why they bring me to court, I always win.

  89. I have to say finding the Romance Unleashed crew saved my sainty. I don’t have CPs and I had barely joined RWA when I sold. I knew NOTHING about so much.The bulk of the Romance Unleashed crew got our start in publishing as Kensington Zebra debut authors. We were the early ones in the program, and thanks to Teresa Bodwell if I could figure out how to do it, I’d link you to her site we found each other and shared our first steps through the publishing maze copy edits, galleys, promotion, etc., etc. Now our careers are branching out, but we remain a tight group of girlfriends, cheering each other’s successes and commiserating when times are tough and not just publishing times.

  90. Liz, I always find it funny when snomoee will state with complete authority that writers are introverts. I SO am not. I wish I could shut myself up sometimes, but whatcha gonna do?And Sally is right, having a group like RU is priceless in the publishing biz. You really need people who cheer rather than envy success and who forgive you when you get a big head, or say something totally ignorant.We love each other warts and all and that is priceless. Okay, group hug Lori

  91. Eve, I see supportive gropus like this all over the Internet. Writers are the most sharing people I know.Lori, I know quite a few writers who are extrovert. Unfortunately I belong with the innies. The in crowd .:lol:A group hug sounds great! This was a great idea, Lori!

  92. Dood do great minds think alike or what? Feel good music is the basis of the post I’m working on to suimbt this week (for next week’s publishing). You have great songs on your list.Twitter Name:

  93. Hey, she’s ready when she’s ready. Just ’cause it wasn’t on your schedule. Geez. (Seriously, I would have sheavd my head just to get my daughter to take a pacifier when she was a baby. She was totally not interested.)P.S.a0 I’m considering drinking out of bottles, too. Except they have labels that say things like wine and vodka.[]

  94. Though I’m a girl, I started out prtety darned pudgy and unable to run if my life depended on it. Managed to lose about 30 lbs down to 115 (and I’m fairly short, so that’s a solid difference). Start by running for two minutes and walking for a few. Once you’ve caught your breath, run for two minutes again. Keep doing this for about 45-60 mins. The next time you go running, push it to three minutes before trying to catch your breath again. You can keep pushing it up more and more over the next few months. You should also work on eating more lean foods instead of things heavy in carbs. Just because you worked out doesn’t mean you have free reign to eat anything you want.I used to barely be able to jog slowly for a mile, so far this year I’ve done four half marathons (all around 8:30 miles) and 2 sprint triathlons, and actually won my age group in the last one (though it was a fairly small one, but I like to forget that part!)

  95. How to lose weight in an aaemtrpnt?I am homeschooled and I have recently become overweight. I am about 5 0 at 136 pounds. We live in an aaemtrpnt and I can’t really go around much in this neighborhood. There have been some crimes recently and we live next to a train station and a highway. My parents won’t take me to a gym and we don’t really go much anywhere. My dad SOMETIMES takes me to go on a bike ride, but that’s once in a blue moon. I need to lose weight. I am only a kid, so I don’t know how to exercise. I used to be really active and skinny, but ever since we moved here, I can’t do much. Please help. Don’t bother and waste my time if you have insults or ridiculuous idiotic things to say. Only people who want to help me. My idea to lose weight would be about 20 to 30 pounds, and I want a six pack. Please help. Any ideas of how to lose weight accepted, except insults.It’s possible Janet M, that you don’t have any contacts or fans for telling others they’re rude.

  96. When you lose weight, you lose it from all parts of your body. However, you can tone and steegnthrn parts of your body with exercising.I would suggest that you take up weight training and cardio. With weights, you can do things like lunges and squats. It’ll help build muscle. Cardio will help you to lose weight by getting your metabolism up. It can be done by just going out for a run (or jog) for 30 minutes.Another thing would be to take a look at your diet. Make sure that you’re eating nutritious meals so you won’t consume excess calories that will hinder weight loss.Most importantly, stay positive and confident about yourself. Overweight isn’t you. You are you. Figure out what makes you happy and what doesn’t. Then, go and pursue your happiness and don’t worry too much about what doesn’t make you happy. Good Luck!

  97. How to lose weight arnoud the middle in 3 weeks?I’m going on vacation to Florida and haven’t worn a bikini (or any bathing suit for that matter) in almost 10 years. I want to look good in my bathing suit but I need to lose some weight arnoud the middle in 3 weeks. I know I should have thought of this earlier but it is what it is. What are some good exercises to lose love handles and slim down my stomach? I’m going to start running with my dog in the morning to strenghthen my legs and butt and to get my cardio going. I’m 27, 5 ft 9 in and about 165 lbs. My BMI is about 24 which is in the normal range. I eat pretty healthy but just can’t get rid of the middle! Help!

  98. Well you don’t need to gain mulsce AND burn fat then, you just need to gain mulsce. I’m 16, 5’6 and 132 lbs, which is similar to you except shorter but even I am focusing on solely gaining mulsce; I don’t have much fat to lose.. and even if I gain fat while gaining mulsce, I can easily lose it later.

  99. This guy’s an idiot. If you want to loose weight and have mlcsues you’re supposed to loose the fat and then take protein to build back up your muscle. Other wise I presume you would get muscle and fat mixed and look like this guy.

  100. I bought 2 keltte ball weights about a month ago and started walking on the treadmill with these weights . wew! abs never looked better. Im not a fitness expert to now why this worked. Just know it helped tone me up Im assuming has something to do with me mixing cardio and strength training at same time. Not sure

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