Child Neglect

Discussion in 'Early Childhood Education Archives' started by AZKinderTchr, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Dec 11, 2005

    I have a student this year who I just don't know how to help. She is very dirty every day. I would guess her clothes haven't been washed in over a month. I have provided her a toothbrush and toothpaste to use at school and I comb her hair for her in the mornings but there's not much else I can do at school. We have a district social worker who has been contacted but the address we have on file isn't accurate and we think the family is homeless so the social worker has no where to go to make a visit. The nurse is our CPS contact and she says that CPS won't make a visit for a dirty child that it's not neglect!!

    I called mom to discuss my concerns over the other students who are now making observations :( about this filth and mom blamed it on the child saying she gets dirty on the playground!!! SO NOT TRUE. I have 20 kindergartners who all play in sand on the playground every day and no one is dirty like this.

    I brought home a little sweater and jacket that she left in the classroom to wash. After half a bottle of Zout stain remover and 2 cycles through the washer they were both still stained.

    Anyone have suggestions about what I can do for this family? It breaks my heart.
     
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  3. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Dec 11, 2005

    You said that you called mom...was it on a cell phone? I'm guessing that it isn't a home phone number if you're assuming they are homeless...
    The nurse who said that sending the child to school dirty on a daily basis is not neglect needs a wake-up call! Yes, that is neglect. The mother is neglecting to provide the child with clean clothes! I'm not sure what else you can do as the teacher if the nurse and social worker aren't doing anything. I would think that the best thing to do would be for the social worker to step in and call the parent(s). Tell the mom that she needs to come in and have a meeting with her or they are going to be forced to call social services and file for neglect. If the mom doesn't comply, then call CPS (I'm guessing CPS is child protective services in your area...) and let them know the situation. They will probably ask for the phone number that you have and will call her themselves. If the mom doesn't work with them, they may send a social worker to pick the child up from school and place her in a temporary placement...unfortunately....but if it gets to that point, then maybe the child would be better off in foster care. Anyway, this is definitely neglect, no matter what the nurse said...
     
  4. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Dec 11, 2005

    I actually called mom at work. She has a job but we don't think they have a place to live because she is so evasive about a new address. The thing that is even more sad is this is an area where this isn't that unusual and I could help her get a lot of help if she would just ask. *sigh*
     
  5. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Dec 11, 2005

    This is such a hard situation. I'm assuming the father isn't in the picture? Maybe the social worker can call the mom at work and schedule a meeting.
    I think your doing the best you can for the little girl. Maybe have some donated clothing you keep for her to change into when she gets to school and change out of before she leaves? I don't know if that would work I'm just throwing out ideas.
    You could take those home to wash. So at least while at school she will have clean clothing.
     
  6. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Dec 11, 2005

    Poor sweetheart. I bet this child's life is a mess. Maybe the mom, too. I think it's a good sign that she works.

    Maybe she's too ashamed to ask for help or she's afraid of what will happen if she does.
    She could be afraid of losing her child.

    Have a list of available help ready for her, and save the threats about calling in protective services. You don't know what all is going on here, and if there's no other signs of abuse or neglect then it shows this family just needs help.
     
  7. teacherpippi

    teacherpippi Habitué

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    Dec 12, 2005

    Poor kiddo! I had a child like this once, and I let him know that I had some new shampoo *if he ever wanted to try it out.* About once every two weeks, he would make an effort to come early to school and ask me about the shampoo. Before the rest of the kids got there, we would head down the the nurse's office and use her sink to wash his hair.

    I also asked his mom if it was okay for me to give him a set of clothes my brother was finished with. A few days a week, he would pick up the clothes from his cubby and change into them. He'd fold the dirty clothes and put them in his cubby and I would just wash and return them.
     
  8. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Poor thing! I think you should continue to see that something is done to help out this child and mother. Have lists of places together for her that could help her. Try to wake up this social worker as well! You'll probably need to try to make this mother comfortable...I'm sure it can't be easy to say "yes, I'm homeless". She's probably embarassed and afraid.
     
  9. luvmykids

    luvmykids Companion

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    Dec 12, 2005

    What a tough spot to be in. I had a situation like that last year and we tried the CPS route as well. Even though in our training they say that continued filth IS neglect, they didn't do a thing for my student. I finally took him to the principal to show her how dirty he was and she called his mom to pick him up. She had the nurse talk to the mom about hygiene and how important it is especially when they are in school etc. She usually kept him clean for a few weeks and then we would have to call her again. This went on all year, and I hear is continuing this year as well. It was the only thing I could do to get my student a bath, it was a real shame.
     
  10. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    I would see if you could find out if this is a new situation or a situation of long standing, if the family is just recently homeless, then perhaps things could get better, If the child has been like this for a long time it just may mean that the parents aren't doing their jobs and keeping their kids clean. There are places to get help, clean clothes and such and it would be helpful to keep a list of agencies on hand if it seams that you could present them with the list with out making them feel shameful, but if this problem has been going on for some time, then it would be time to have cps step in. for the child will become very effected by the comments the other kids make and her self esteam may become inpaired, her will to learn and be in school will go down.
     
  11. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I agree. I don't feel that cps should just be called in every situation, but if the mother refuses to meet with people after a few attempts have been made, refuses to get help, and this situation continues, then the child's well being is in jeopardy.
     
  12. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Dec 13, 2005

    Does your school have a counselor? If not, maybe the principal or AP could step in and have a discussion with the child about her home life. This breaks my heart.

    You may need someone (not you, since it could harm your relationship with the family) to call and bluntly offer help. Just to say, "look, we've noticed you seem to be struggling and we'd like to help you and your family." That could be by providing referrrals to agencies that will help with housing or it could be by providing a place for the child to wash up before school (like the nurses's office), or giving the child fresh clothing. Whatever. I think someone from your school administration should really follow up.
    Kim
     
  13. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    We have a few families at my school that we help. The nurse always has extra clothes incase a child needs a change of clothes and never asks for them back. We donate Thanksgiving baskets to families who need it and we are helping one family have Christmas this year. We have a guidance counselor a nurse that we go to when we have situations like this and it looks like the family needs help. I wouldn't call anyone till I knew the full story.
     
  14. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Dec 13, 2005

    Thanks to all of you for your kind input. Just to clarify, this has been going on since August and getting progressively worse. Today I was helping her with her work and I am noticing now that she is starting to smell also. I am up every night upset about this little one.

    The nurse, our district social worker, myself, and our parent liasion have all tried to reach mom and she just says nothing's wrong. I'm not sure what will happen next.

    Thanks again for all your advice.
     
  15. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    Dec 13, 2005

    Aww the poor child. I can only imagine what she must be going through. Anyway you can wash her up in the bathroom or have the nurse do it?
    Keep us updated.
     
  16. kinderkids

    kinderkids Virtuoso

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    Poor thing! She is lucky to have such a caring teacher as you. I hope things can be resolved in a positive manner. I agree with AMK, if there was a way to wash her up at school, I think that would be a good thing to do.
     
  17. AZDocStdnt

    AZDocStdnt Rookie

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    Dec 30, 2005

    Call CPS

    Hi,
    New to the forum, I couldn't help but read your post. Sadly, I have been in your situation. However, in Texas (where I am originally from although I am now in Arizona), it is made clear that it is EVERYONE'S responsibility to report child abuse/neglect. Call CPS. You will be given a case number. Thereafter, you will receive a letter indicating whether the investigation resulted in anything at all, or whether there was lack of evidence. But leave this to them--they are professionals in this sad, sad field. I am a former counselor, and can tell you that I know there is almost nothing more frustrating than attempting to save a child from a hopeless situation...and that no matter what you do, how much you try to help...they go back home to the root of the problem. But at least by calling you know that the child's welfare has been reported, and that at least something is being done.
     
  18. KimberlyBest

    KimberlyBest Comrade

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    Dec 31, 2005

    I have always been taught that it is a teachers "duty" to report any inkling of neglect, abuse, etc. No matter how small the 'thought', it has to be reported. Then it can be handled properly. I'm almost sure it can be anonymous as well. You are obviously doing your part as a concerned teacher and human. Bless you for caring about this child enough to want to help! You will touch her life in ways you may never realize!
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I know that the laws are different everywhere, but here it our legal obligation as teachers to report any suspicions of abuse or neglect. Although this is very difficult, you need to do what is best for the child, her family, and for yourself.
     
  20. feather13

    feather13 New Member

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    Its a sad situation, its also sad that most of us have had to deal with something like this in the classroom. I say, report it, its a teacher's duty. We have had to help a child in this situation, we did like someone mentioned, keeping extra clothes that they change into at school, and this child did NOT want to take them home, she knew there would be no way to wash them. At one point I washed her hair in the sink, she was so happy, the rest of the day she kept asking people to smell her hair. After talking with the parent we found out they had no water heater (didnt work anymore) and that they were out of propane and the electricity was out.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 2, 2006

    In NJ you are a MANDATED REPORTER of abuse/neglect. I had a child show up at my class late this year crying so hard he didn't even look like himself- His mom said he had just had trouble getting up and he was tired but he would be ok. After she left and after some 'breathing' time for him, I pulled him aside confidentially and found out he had been beat at home and that this wasn't the first time for getting beat. I went to the principal who said call DYFS- the guidance counselor met me at the nurse for a physical check of the kid- no marks so the counselor thought DYFS wouldn't do anything so she saw no big reason to call but I did anyway. Long story short- DYFS came to the school to interview my student and the police were given a record of the call. I haven't had any other suspicions regarding this kid since, but I watch him like a hawk for any signs.....

    You are a great and caring teacher, but you can not solve all of this child's problems- call the CPS/DYFS- at the least they may be able to hook this family up with some resources.
     
  22. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    It is the same in Massachusetts. Teachers and Child Care providers are legally obligated to report and suspected abuse or neglect of any child under the age of 18 to DSS. If a teacher is found to have suspected or even been notified about the abuse/neglect and didn't do anything there can be a fine of around $1000 maybe more, I can't remember exactly.
     

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