CPS; what made you call?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Apr 16, 2015.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Apr 16, 2015

    I'm on the fence. As soon as I'm convinced it's time to make the call, I see effort on the part of the parent. It's more neglect and a lot of stupid, than abuse. My feeling is no abuse, but just really ignorant people.

    Any direction that you can give me as to when do you know that it's the RIGHT thing to do? Or will your call just create more problems in an already unsettling situation?
     
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  3. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    Call if you suspect...you can report annonomously...better to be safe than sorry...better to call an be wrong then not call an kid suffer
     
  4. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Sometimes ingorance and neglect can really hurt a child. I would call.
     
  5. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    This year, CPS actually called me about one of my students to ask me if I suspected anything, that was kinda strange.
     
  6. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Failure to report is a crime that can be prosecuted against a mandated reporter who sees evidence of abuse and does not report. There is no punishment for reporting suspicions that don't pan out. Always report.

    And don't do so anonymously. That option is really for non-mandated reporters. CPS will keep your report anonymous whenever possible, but they need your name so that it can later be verified that you did your job.

    I'm currently going through Foster Care training and this has been talked about a lot by my CPS trainers. They have actually seen teachers and caregivers charged with a Class A misdemeanor (which is generally a fine, but still) for failure to report. Mandated reporters who don't report have also been sued in civil courts.

    Don't worry about "causing more problems." CPS has a checklist of criteria that a call must meet before it's deemed worthy of an investigation. That part's out of your hands. But I would call if you feel there's a problem, intentional or not.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    If your intuition is suspecting, it's time to call.
     
  8. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I only called once, and it was actually because another teacher didn't make the call. A para at our school had a daughter who attended the school and another student (daughter's friend) also lived with the para. The girl's mom was in jail, and the girl lived with her grandparents, her legal guardians. At the beginning of the school year, the para told the story about how this girl had gotten into a fight with her grandparents and run over to para's house, and the girl had bruises all over her arms from the grandparents, and girl began living with para. The para did NOT call CPS. The girl still stayed with her grandparents on the weekends and the grandparents would take the girl out of town overnight to visit her mom in jail, so it wasn't like she was fully "safe". I confronted the para about being a mandated reported, and the para said she knew she should have called but felt it was too late. I ended up calling, and the para ended up losing her job (for this and other complications with this situation).
     
  9. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Apr 16, 2015

    I don't suspect abuse, I suspect neglect.

    Do I tell anyone that I called or do I just call and keep it to myself?

    Thanks all.
     
  10. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    And do I call our hotline? Or is that for extreme situations? Thanks. I think I will do it. He had such a bad day yesterday, and I see NO improvements happening in his life. Just very BAD parenting.
     
  11. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    It all depends on what you consider neglect. I know someone who would use the term neglect because a young child came to school drinking a caffeinated soda every day. Since the child struggled academically and behaviorally, this person was all over the "neglect" concept.

    I'm sure you are seeing things well beyond this extreme definition of neglect, but it shows that without a better idea of what you deem as neglect, it is hard to know if you should report. Also, do you feel the neglect is endangering the child's safety or health? If so, to what extent?
     
  12. 3Sons

    3Sons Connoisseur

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    This is very true. Neglect may be abuse, but taken too far the concept of neglect as abuse can be exaggerated. Fortunately, you can still call and discuss what you do notice. A2Z is right that for any of us to offer an opinion we'd need more details. However, the most important opinion here isn't ours -- it's yours.
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If you are wondering if you need to call, then it's time to call.

    Incidentally, have you received any training about this topic from your school or district? We get mandated reporter training pretty regularly, and it describes scenarios of abuse and neglect. Our school counselors have told us that if we are nervous about calling or unsure about calling, they will provide support and help us make the call. What's your school's policy on reporting?
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Apr 16, 2015

    If it goes beyond "I personally wouldn't parent that way", make the call. You're mandated to. I know we all hear this horrible evil CPS stories, but I believe in general they will observe the situation fairly.

    We had a situation in my classroom where I would have had to make a call... had I been there, but I was absent that day and so the sub told the counselor who made the call who then caught me up the next day. I also learned that while teachers are able to make the call, our school's official policy ultimately puts the responsibility on the counselor or the admin to make sure the report is made.
     
  15. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I don't have much time, I'm at school, but I'll touch on some behaviors;

    Often late, tardy
    no HW
    lies constantly (was taught to by mom)
    Mom has been on drugs in the past
    comes to school dirty, hair not washed, unkempt, smelly
    often smells, sometimes soils himself
    doesn't follow rules
    very little follow up or concern on the part of the parent about these things.
    won't put him on meds, even though she did last year
    she lets him go to the park with the other kids, stuff happens to him (broken arm, bike stolen).
    He's sneaky as can be
    very immature for his age.
    he's smart
    very bright, would like to belong to the class, but can't control his behavior in any way

    One more big frustration that happened yesterday; mom called the office madder than a hornet because some kid at the school stole his bike at the park (he said, and she said). She wanted the school to take care of it, or she would. She's upset about the bike, but not the things that I listed above.

    Thank you all for your help. I'm not kidding. I'm trying not to go crazy here, but on the brink. Everything at this moment, is on the brink; me, the child, the parent, the next step. It's a big **** step. I'm a professional, I can do it if I must, but I must be sure...
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Many of those things wouldn't warrant a call, but the dirtiness, smelliness, and lack of supervision could be an issue.

    The thing is that you don't have to be "sure" in order to make the call. It's not your job to investigate. It's your job to let the investigators know that there might be something worth investigating. If you feel like there is, then you have to make the call, regardless of how stressful it may be for you.
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Apr 16, 2015

    I would make the call.

    Here's what CPS in my area of CA requires: I fill out the report, give them a call and let them know what's going on, then fax the completed report to them after our phone call. I do zero investigation on my own--that's their job.

    The report I made yesterday was an extreme case of neglect. It's pretty sad that one of the phone operators at CPS already knows my voice when I call.

    Heavens54: Send me a PM if you want me to email you an electronic version of the CPS report. I believe everyone in CA uses the same form.
     
  18. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Do you have an administrator (principal) or counselor that might be able to help you walk through the process as you report? That might alleviate some of the worry of do I / don't I / what do I need to do, etc..., and would get others in the school into keeping their eye out to help that child.
     
  19. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I don't think it's my responsibility to discern whether or not something is truly neglectful. If I suspect neglect, it's my responsibility to call and allow CPS to determine whether or not to investigate.

    Based on your description of the child and his home life, the only part I would (personally) mention is that the child comes to school dirty and smelly.
     
  20. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    YTG, I can submit it electronically? We did have a training on this, but can't locate at the moment. Working on it.

    Thanks all. I'd take you all out to lunch if I could. Maybe Chiles or Panera. :)
     
  21. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    A2z, this is the student that I talked about before. He had issues with fecal matter. Still does. We keep an eye out for it now, but it was a problem yesterday. In computer lab, he had an accident. But we can't let him go to the RR unsupervised, bc he plays with either water or poop. So he always must have an escort. We were trying to get online for practice tests and I told him no at that moment. So, he had an accident. On top of 100 other things yesterday.
     
  22. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Once you call, your particular CPS department may request that the form is submitted electronically. The one here prefers fax, though.
     
  23. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I think we've discussed this on another thread, but the issues with fecal matter are a red flag for possible abuse. The dirtiness, smelliness and other personal care issues are signs of neglect. I recall that being exactly one of the "scenarios" from our mandated reporter training. As others have said, it's not your job to investigate, just to make the call if you see these kinds of signs.
     
  24. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I called once because a student was telling me about how his parent had hit him over and over with a belt. I think the kid, middle school aged, was kind of trying to "impress" me with the information.

    CPS ended up coming to the school, talking to the kid, talking to me in front of students and not far enough away as I'd have wanted (it should have been private, and I was not comfortable being highlighted as the person who made the report).

    The child ended up being removed from parent's care. I don't think he had bad feelings towards me about the situation, but I can see how another child might. For the rest of the year, he often talked about how much he missed his dad. It was good, though, that he had been removed, because it was a very bad living situation. Poor kid.
     
  25. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    CPS is not always out to "punish" the parents. Sometimes parents don't have the resources, time, money, etc. to do things for their children. CPS can provide assistance with what the family may need to help the child. It will not hurt to make a report if there isn't abuse. You may want to document everything that you've seen thus far. I know of some people who grew up with abuse, and they comment that they wished someone had recognized what was happening and reported it.
     
  26. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I agree that you should make the call. As has already been said, it's not your decision whether or not it is truly neglect. Leave that to CPS to investigate. They won't be mad at you for caring enough about a child to ask them to look into it. I would tell your admin and/or counselor you are making the call, as CPS might send someone to your school. They may need to take you or the student out of class to talk to one or both of you. Be prepared to give your name, since you are a teacher. Here, mandated reporters only have 24 hours to make the call. You may not have the same law, but I wouldn't wait regardless. In fact, it's such a priority here, that admin are required to have someone cover your class so that you can make the call immediately. There is no waiting permitted once abuse/neglect is suspected.
     
  27. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    If you suspect but don't call you can be terminated. Be careful.
     
  28. Ms.Blank

    Ms.Blank Companion

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    ^^^^ THIS. In California, it's HUGE if you suspect and don't report. The fact that he plays with fecal matter paired with the fact that he routinely comes to school dirty and smelly is more than enough reason to report (and honestly, more than enough reason to terminate you should CPS ever find out that you suspected and didn't report).
     
  29. wldywall

    wldywall Connoisseur

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    It's sad that in my school, myself and the default classroom teacher have been told we are to NOT call CPS on a student, especially since someone did last year and nothing was done.

    50 absences
    80 tardies of two or more hours, three tardies becomes 1 absence but are not included in the total above
    One parent contact all year, which includes two ieps (both twins) they missed
    One twin self harming and showing severe anger (my case load)
    Depression and talk hopeless future being a homeless bum
    Wearing four or five shirts and two pants on cold days
    Dependent on free food at school (ie upset if he misses breakfast)
    The truency has been sent to the prosecutor, but has only gotten worse, no action has been taken in three months.

    And yet we are told to not report....ordered, as we can't retype without permission from admin.

    So if there is a form in CA does that mean most states require a form be done by school ad.in and that is why the classroom teacher won't fight the no call decision? She just days we can't without permission....so confused....she wants to call but feels like her hands are tired and she has been there longer
     
  30. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    I agree a lot of people receive mixed messages about when to call CPS. I have been told repeatedly that if I suspect anything I should call CPS and leave it up to them if they want to investigate or take action. However, I have also received a talking to by admin when a parent comes in irate because I called CPS. If you have thought about calling more than once, you should absolutely call.

    I called 2 times. One time a student told me he was being physically abused by his parent. Another time, a student who cried ALL THE TIME (middle school, so not normal) and obviously had mental health issues told me her twin was beating her in the chest and face and the mom wasn't doing anything. Both times the parent knew I called and came after me for "being racist." I later found out that I wasn't the first teacher to call CPS on both these families.
     
  31. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    My motto is: When in doubt, make the call!

    Plus--here in CA, one could lose their credential for not calling.
     
  32. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    If you can't submit whatever form, CALL CPS and straight up tell them "I'm being told I can't submit a form." Bet they'll change that tune. Failure to report is a crime. We are mandated reporters. This is part of our job and it's a part that goes beyond stupid school/district policies. "I was following orders" is not a defense.

    I can't imagine seeing a child showing symptoms of abuse and ignoring it because someone told me I "can't submit a form."
     
  33. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I would 100% call based on what you have shared. When in doubt, call. It's their job to investigate and determine what's really going on.
     
  34. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    All of my administrators have asked us to talk to them if we are making a call. They will not tell us not to call--that decision is ours--but they want to know that the call has been made before COS calls or visits the school.
     
  35. 2ndTimeAround

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    Wow, all of these stories about CPS talking to teachers at school. That surprises me. I thought these reports were to be treated as confidential.

    I could totally see parents coming after me physically if they knew I notified CPS.
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    They can still keep the report confidential while conducting an investigation. I would think that it would be standard practice for CPS workers to speak to people at school about a child's welfare regardless of who made the report to CPS.
     
  37. MissScrimmage

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    This is the same for us. We don't have to tell our administrators, but we do have to submit a form to the superintendent. I would tell my principals because I would want their help making the actual call. Our CPS also has a separate line that we can call to do an 'intake consult' - so we can run a scenario by them to see if it actually needs to be reported. We can do this without disclosing personal information about the family before actually filing an official report.
     
  38. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Yes. I had a social worker come see me a few weeks ago. One of my students is already on her caseload and she wanted some details from me before going further with an investigation.
     
  39. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    In my state there is no excuse for not reporting suspected abuse or neglect to CPS. Even if you admin tells you not to report, you still have to report if you suspect abuse or neglect. You can be fired and lose your teaching license if you don't report suspected abuse or neglect, even if you had it in writing from admin not to report. Admin's directives don't supersede the law, and the law says that mandated reporters must report suspected abuse or neglect. Period.
     
  40. msgab

    msgab Rookie

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    You don't need to make the decision. That is the job of social services.
     
  41. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    I'm honestly surprised that everyone else here thinks that what you mentioned above counts as neglect. The only thing here that stands out a little for me is that he is smelly and dirty. But I've always had a few smelly kids. Unless it's really serious, I never thought of that as a CPS issue. As far as the other things...

    He went to the park and got his bike stolen? Or, he went to the park and broke his arm? That happens, even in the best of families, but it doesn't scream "neglect" on her part. When I was in elementary, I went to the park to roller skate with my friends and broke my arm. My mother wasn't there, but when I got home she took me to the hospital. Would you say she was neglectful?

    He's sneaky and immature? Sounds like half the kids in my class.

    He's often late and doesn't do his homework? Ditto.

    He can't control his behavior, but she won't put him on meds anymore? Do you mean ADD/ADHD meds? That's a decision between her and his doctor and none of anyone else's business.

    I guess you should call if you feel it's warranted, but I honestly am not seeing a clear case of neglect here.

    To your question, I've called CPS one time and that is because a girl in my class would bring in orange soda every morning as her breakfast, complain that she was hungry all day every day, and tell me things like she had cookies for dinner the night before.
     

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