Who steps in to help the child?

First, let me stress that I am not what you refer to as a troll; I am not posting this merely to get “hits”. I have a genuine Q here, and want your thoughts & opinions. Sorry about the length of the post, and if it is in the wrong forum.
Here goes.

There is a couple I know, I call them acquaintances, for I don’t know them that well. I only met them 4 years ago when we moved to this area. My husband has known the guy since the two of them were in the third grade, though, and has employed the guy, off and on, for about 4 years. (Off and on because the guy periodically decides he has bettter things to do than work for a living, but then realizes he can’t buy drugs without money, so he comes begging back.)

This couple have a 27 month old boy, who is really bright, but already mad at the world.
The thing that is really bothering me is that both of the parents are crack heads, and now the mother’s sister, who is also a crackhead and an admitted prostitute, has moved in with them. (As the guy said, mainly for the fact that she brings crack every day, and it saves him money)

Now, first, let me say that I have no problem with the pot smokers and shroom advocates of the world. These drugs are not addictive for the most part, and they don’t make the user sell all of his or her possessions and those of everyone close to him/her to get more. Crack, coke, and meth seem to ruin the lives of most of those that they touch, from what I have observed. Not that this matters, but I personally am drug free, with the exception of the occasional beer and the even more occasional cup of coffee. (My husband, too.)

I just don’t think that the little guy is getting a fair start at life, wandering around the house alone because all of the adults are all high. He doesn’t even have a TV to keep him company, for it is in the pawn shop. He expresses his anger and frustration by slamming his head into things, (including others’ heads or faces) scratching his own face, arms, legs, whatever, and showing alarming aggression to animals and other children, among other displays. (many of which result in the drawing of blood.)

I know, I know, MYOB. But do you think it Does take a village? The peole at CPS (Child Protective Svcs) said (when called regarding a “hypothetical situation” of the same circumstances,) “It would not seem as though the child is being abused. If there are no obvious signs of abuse, there is nothing we can do.” WTF?! Is neglect no longer a form of abuse? Is drug abuse not abuse?

The boy’s Grandma (on the Dad’s side) used to try to get involved, but now she won’t because “it don’t do no good; they don’t listen to me.”

I wonder if the teeming millions have any sage advice for me. What would you do? I am not trying to be judgmental, just trying to be an advocate for the child. I fear for him, and for those who will be affected by his behavior for the rest of his life.


Drop a dime. If the police were called, the child would probably be put into protective custody anyway, until a relative or someone responsible takes over. DCFS, at least in the Chicago area, makes huge mistakes when it comes to determining who’s endangered and who isn’t. They’re understaffed, underpaid, and overworked, and it’s very easy to fall through the cracks. It’s good of you to be concerned for the little guy. His behavior doesn’t sound like that of a happy, well-adjusted kid. I say go for it.

I agree with GirlFace. If you know there is dope in the house call the cops. Call the mayors office, call any and all Child Protection Agencys in your area. Make friends with some local cops, and mention this childs situation to them, A LOT.

Look, this child can not defend himself, and with his anger, there may be more going on than you know about.

I am glad you care enough to try to help this child (oh yes, inform the officials you contact that if they do nothing, and something bad happens to that child, you will take the whole story to the local press, inluding how you begged them to help this child ).

Maybe this should be in MPSIMS, you would most likely get more answers there.

Bless you for your big heart

Hard call. I see similar problems in my neighborhood. My own experience is about like yours; calling in “the authorities” doesn’t seem to get anywhere. Yes, I know, they are overworked, underpaid and understaffed. But WHAT is a person to do? I keep calling. I keep sending letters. I talk to these kids and share what I can with them.

Personally, I don’t think the drug in question is really the issue. Alcohol is a major problem in most of these families. Meth is another biggie. But even if there are no drugs involved at all, some kids are just with people who can’t handle the demands and responsibilities of having a child. It’s sad but that’s the way it is.

Again, keep calling. Eventually, hopefully, before it’s too late, someone will listen.


This probably doesn’t really belong in the Pit; as was commented earlier it might get more responses from people in a position to know if it were moved to MPSIMS, not that this is mundane and pointless at all.

What city are you in? Just in case anybody on this board has a contact that that could help.

You say you called the Children’s Services Department, or whatever it’s called there. Did you do that only once? If so, try again, and be persistant. Call up the local police department and see what they can do. Is there a local church you attend or are familiar with, that you could speak to the clergy? Clergy often have all kinds of contacts at social service agencies, and lots more credibility with overworked staff than anonymous tips do.

Do they ever leave this kid alone, that you know of? That’s neglect. Is he fed, washed, provided medical care? Does he show any signs of having been hit? (I am not talking about the swat on the bottom; I’m talking about leaving bruises.) If so, you can report that. I don’t know about other states, but in California there is a law which shields someone who makes a report of suspected child abuse in good faith, with some reasonable basis for doing so. Unexplained or extensive bruising, unless you saw the kid tumble off the porch, can be such a basis, especially at this age. (By the time they get much older boys tend to be covered in everyday bruises – I know, I have three!)

Keep talking, keep making phone calls and asking questions until you get some answers. Please keep us informed, and thank you for caring enough to get involved.


Can anyone tutor me in how to move this to the MPSISMS forum, or is this something a moderator does? (There! I’ve gone and marked myself as a know-nothing newbie!)

Melin, I don’t know for sure if the boy is left alone per se, but they lock themselves in their room to either sleep or do their stuff, and leave him running around the house unsupervised. I know this because we went over there, and here he was, standing on the back of the couch in nothing but a diaper, pounding on the picture window. (He did appear to be having fun, but that’s beside the point.) We knocked and knocked and got no answer, then we used the cell phone to call their #, and got the machine. I left an acidic message, and then called the Grandma. (This was the day I should’ve called the cops.)

I live in the Puget Sound area; I used to live right near these people, but we just bought a house and moved farther away from the center of things. We are in Auburn now.

I don’t know if he is physically abused, but I do know that he is often left in the same diaper from morning to night. Even a poopy diaper. (“he just wastes them”)

I have called CPS 3 times, and on the second try, it was treated like a joke, like, “lady, why are you wasting my time with this? Don’t you know there are real problems in the world?”
The other times it was like, “we’d like to help but…” I agree that those in this type of job are overworked, underpaid and unappreciated.

I have considered calling the police, and i guess that’s why I posted. That’s the point it has come to, if I am to do anything to try and help this kid. (Feeling like I need a little validation? or just a little kick in the butt.) Talking to the parents is like talking to a bowl of spaghettios. The 4 functioning brain cells between them are
on other topics.

Thank you all, for putting in your time, and hey, if someone can advise about relocating the thread, I’d sure appreciate it.

Smeggy, send an email to this forum’s goddess – er, moderator – Lynn Bodoni and ask her to move the thread. She’ll be happy to do it for you.


It sounds like a very sad case. I don’t know if the cops can search the place just on a tip, (in fact, I hope not!), but maybe they can check on the welfare of the child, and if he looks neglected, they may be able to get through the bullshit red tape quicker. Next time you call family services, ask for a supervisor and tell them what you’ve told us, as far as the bad attitude the workers have toward you. Poor kid.

Melin, you are the coolest! I just saw your post in the Puget Sound Dopers thread. Now why didn’t I think of that?

Actually, (just so you know I’m not ignoring the post in the Puget thread), I have only recently moved here this year, and haven’t the slightest idea about any laws or regulations, or even whom to call.

Magnificent to behold - Greatly to be praised.

I’m moving this thread to MPSIMS, in response to the OP and others.

For the Straight Dope

Every child deserves a chance at life, to have a normal life. Where I live, if you know that something like this is going on and you dont report it, YOU can be charged. We as adults are supposed to advocate for children. I know of cases where children were living in terrible conditions, abusive homes, parents were drug dealers, etc. etc. and i was encouraged not to call. I would go home at night and call. I called on one family 6 times. That little boy used to come to school with bruises on his body, improper clothing in the winter, no food, etc… i kept calling and finally social services came out and apprehended the kids (there were three others). The children were allowed to go back to the home because the mother moved. Two months later that little boy died, supposedly from choking on food in his sleep which he had snuck into his room.

The day of that little boys funeral I cried like I had never cried before… I did the best I could and the system unfortunately failed.

I take faith in that I would do the same thing all over again and I have, if it means that may be just one child would be set free for a life of nurturing and love instead of abuse.

Like I said… as adults we are here to advocate for the children of the world that have no one to do that for them. Be responsible and call and then pray that that little child is taken care of.

*sorry Im such a sop on this topic… but it really hits home with me, even after five years…

“Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.”

Would the police be more likely to be get involved if you called them on a drug offense rather than neglect?

If you know drug use is going on in the home and report that, you may have a better chance of calling attention to the neglect issue.

Be persistant and lie if you have to, this is a child’s life.

Good luck.

When bureaucrats fail, elected officials prevail (in an election year). Contact a city councilman. Don’t laugh. This is an election year. They are looking to brown-nose for votes. This means that 1-his aides/assistants are more likely to listen & 2- the councilman is much more likely to act.

Consider private & church agencies.

And , yes; think about calling the cops on Maw & Paw Crackhead.

Don’t think about giving up. This kid needs your help.


Another potential avenue of assistance:

You might be able to interestt a local newspaper or TV station in doing an investigative piece featuring this story – this IS sweeps month.

Do some homework; don’t just call & talk to anyone. Check out which reporters do what kind of stories and ask to speak with one who seems appropriate BY NAME. Lay the facts out without exaggeration or rancor; let the reports generate the emotional impact themselves. (The story direction would probably be “What really does happen when you call CPS.”)

Good luck, and don’t give up.

Sue from El Paso

I agree with Canadian Sue; I have seen to many kids hurt also. The ones I teach can’t speak for themselves they are to young and we must speak for them.
In Canada it is National Peace Week if a child can’t find peace at home, than that child needs our help.

All we really needed to know we learned in Kindergarden

I’m also from the Puget Sound area and I think CPS is the correct agency to deal with this. I know you’ve called them more than once – I have limited experience with CPS but someone who knew once told me that the really irritating thing about CPS was that they were unpredictable – sometimes they would overreact in harmless situations and sometimes they would take no action in obviously abusive situations (like this one).
But my suggestion would still be to either 1) try one more time with CPS or 2) get another neighbor who’s aware of the problem to call them, or at least be willing to backup your story.

I like the suggestion about getting the media involved, though. There’s bound to be some young investigative reporter who would be willing to take this on for humanitarian reasons alone. Plus it sounds like it would make a good expose.

For those of you who are not aware, we have had a couple of local stories in the last year where oversight agencies missed obvious abuse. One was a man who kept his wife imprisoned on their houseboat. They came and interviewed the wife in the husband’s presence and determined there was no problem. In another well-publicized case a woman left her son (in diapers) alone for days at a time because she didn’t want her new boyfriend to know she had another child.

With this kind of background, another story may become big news – another good reason for the media to get involved.

“Vandelay!! Say Vandelay!!”

All of the above suggestions sound good to me. By all means call the police and report the crack use…it seems to me that parents taking illegal drugs in a kid’s presence is probably a form of abuse – at least if it isn’t, it sure ought to be. Besides, by tolerating crackheads in your neighborhood you are setting yourself up to be burgled, robbed, have your car stolen, etc.

the one thing you can’t do is give up. If something really bad happens to this kid (as seems almost inevitable), the ONLY thing that will allow you to deal with it is the knowledge that you did all you could.

Live a Lush Life
Da Chef

All sound advice from everyone. One thing to add. Keep track of who you speak to at CPS and the police department ( and where ever else) the dates, and times. That way you have something to wiggle under their noses when something really nasty happens to that poor child.