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Too Dumb to Parent?

Twenty-four-year-old mom Rachel Pullen gave birth to Baby K at 27 weeks. The premature baby underwent two surgeries and a six-month hospital stay before social workers in England, took Baby K to foster parents, Rachel told the Daily Mail.

Now, Baby K is 3 years old. And a court has ruled against Rachel taking her daughter home, buying social services' argument that Rachel lacks the intelligence needed to parent. Rachel, you see, has an IQ of 71. That classifies Rachel as having a borderline intellectual ability. The average adult IQ score range is 90 to 109.

Because of her lack of official smarts, Rachel has been allowed only to see her daughter once a month. And if the latest court decision holds firm, Baby K will get adopted within three months. At that point Rachel will not be allowed to see her daughter, writes The Telegraph.

"If she's adopted, I've been told I won't be allowed any contact with her, apart from sending her one letter or card a year, and I won't be able to use the word daughter or mother in them, Rachel told The Daily Mail. "So what will I be to her? A pen pal? ... When I walk around Nottingham, I see other mothers who are no better or more clever than me and they still have their children. Why?"

Cases such as Rachel's -- even when they hail from another country -- bring up a question that seems to come up every so often. When should legal authorities intervene on behalf of a child and when should they butt out?

One such case that clearly went the wrong way much closer to home was that of Julianna and Greg Caplan of Washington, D.C. The Caplans were featured in a Marc Fisher column early last year. At the time of the column, they were about six months deep into the trappings of the District's child protective services. It all began when one of their twin girls suffered a fall, leading to retinal hemorrhaging. As a precaution, the couple took the girl to Children's Hospital. Long after five doctors and a judge had determined there was no clear cause of abuse, the couple's names were still on the city's child abuse registry.

Nowadays, the ordeal is far behind the girls. First the good news in their update via Julianna: The girls are healthy, happy, talkative and funny. "Life is good." And in a third trip in front of a judge late last summer, the Caplans were removed from the child abuse registry.

But the battle left its mark. Julianna says that unless a health situation with one of her children was life-threatening, she would never walk into a hospital with them again. Instead, she'd wait out the issue and go to her doctor. "I was a silly, overprotective parent; I just wanted to be sure she was okay," Julianna says. "She bumped her head and threw up. I'll never do it again. Pediatricians would say that it was the wrong advice. But within 36 hours, she was in an exersaucer playing and she was fine. They didn't do anything for her [in the hospital], but we couldn't leave. ... I didn’t know you check your rights at the door when you step into the hospital and your child becomes the property of the government.

"I know protection's in place because children are abused, but protections are not in place for parents who don’t abuse. I understand the arguments, but you can’t imagine the horror of being caught on the flip side to families caught up in this mess."

Do you ever worry that someone would flag your family to Child Protective Services? Have you heard other stories like these?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 8, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
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Comments


Sure it was an accident. CPS hears that line all the time. Even so, a sprain, break, or stitches is a result of either abuse or neglect.

"Do you ever worry that someone would flag your family to Child Protective Services?"

Oh yes. Everybody should have a healthy fear that a official will knock on their door and say, "I'm from the government, I've come here to help you."

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | June 8, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

those are both just awful situations. i consider myself pretty jaded and cold, but the story of Rachel breaks my heart.

as far as CPS - sounds like a complete train-wreck to me. Do they have guidelines and procedures? or are cases left up to the judgement of the case worker?

if it's the latter, that's pretty scary. We all have different tolerances for parenting 'neglect' - some parents put those leashes on their kids to go to the zoo and some of us are comfortable as long as we can still see them.

the power CPS has is crazy.

we let the little girl walk up and down the sidewalk with us and she'll often wipe-out. no doubt that one of these times she's actually going to need stitches, but i adamantly feel that if your kids never need stitches then they're don't have enough freedom. someone taking my kid from me because they feel otherwise is not right.

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | June 8, 2009 8:57 AM | Report abuse

It's not just as to kids. One weekend, my wife pulled a muscle through persistent coughing. When we went to the ER, they asked her if she felt safe at home. They must see some bad stuff.

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 8, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I gave my daughter nurse maid's elbow, and my husaband, a PT, couldn't get the tendon back in place, so off we went to the ER. We were more than a bit freaked that we would be accused of child abuse, especially considering she had a black eye from taking a header down the front porch steps earlier that week. The dr snapped the tendon back in and sent us home. I'm guessing/hoping they have some sort of radar for real abusive situations.

As for Rachel, that's awful. If the state is that committed to preventing people with low IQs from raising kids, then they need to commit to mandatory sterilization. I bet THAT would go over well.

Posted by: atb2 | June 8, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I was feeling pretty secure about my 'rights' as a parent. My husband and his ex have made numerous comments like... I don't know if I should let XX go to school. The school might call someone because he has . These injuries are typical childhood injuries like a big scratch on his neck from when he was playing with a stick.

I chalked it up to cultural differences but maybe I should be chalking it up to something they know that I am being oblivious to. I guess when you are busy being innocent, it is hard to believe that anyone else would think that the injuries are anything other than innocent.

Posted by: Billie_R | June 8, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Hmmm... something went wrong with my comment.

It should have have said: The school might call someone because he has :insert injury here:.

Posted by: Billie_R | June 8, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand the first story. The baby was hospitalized because it was born prematurely - that has nothing to do with the Mother's intelligence or lack of. So, I am not understanding what grounds they had for taking the baby away - there's no abuse and she hasn't had any opportunity to neglect the baby. I just don't follow.
As to the second story, my kid falls down all the time because he is such an active little guy. He always has brusies and scrapes and bumps and lumps. We keep several ice packs in the freezer and still resort to the peas on some weekends... It really never occurred to me that anyone would think it was from abuse. Our pediatrician sure wouldn't think that, but I wonder what the ER folks would think since they don't know us.

Posted by: VaLGaL | June 8, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Since the first story was in the UK, I am wondering what would happen here in the US if a similar situation presented itself.

Having had a preemie, in most cases you have to have infant CPR and the nurses do report on your visits/care. They will not release the baby until they feel like it will receive proper care at home. Perhaps Rachel did not exhibit the necessary skills to take her child home (need to read the link).

It was really sad to see the teen mothers of preemies that had little to no interest in their babies. The one family I met had the teen's mother step in as legal guardian to get the baby released, and I can't help but think this is fairly common.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | June 8, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@WhackyWeasel, who wrote: Even so, a sprain, break, or stitches is a result of either abuse or neglect.

HOW DARE YOU! JUST WHERE DO YOU GET OFF PASSING JUDGEMENT LIKE THAT?

As I kid I had multiple sprains, a break, even a fracture skull, all received in sports activities, yet aparently you think I was abused or neglected.

Now, as a parent of twins, I take extraordinary care and caution with my sons. But you know what? Stuff happens. And NOT because of abuse or neglect.

Posted by: thinman1 | June 8, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Just so everybody knows, IQ scores of 70 and below indicate mental retardation.

I'm not saying that Rachel should lose her kids--I just want to make sure people know that she's not just a "dim bulb". She is actually mentally disabled.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | June 8, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@thinman - I think it was reduction to absurdity. Any signfiicant injury is neglect by definition as if the injury occurred, the parent couldn't have been watching the child adequately. (See: Kramer vs Kramer)

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 8, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"she's not just a "dim bulb". She is actually mentally disabled."

She certainly doesn't sound mentally disabled in the interview described here. Is this based soley on an IQ test? Do people understand how flawed those are?

When my oldest was 3 or 4 months old, I had to take her to the ER because she had a hair wrapped around her toe so tightly that I couldn't remove it (I later learned that Nair is a good solution to this problem). The doctor looked me up and down, and said in the most menacing way possible, "HOW did this happen??" As if this isn't a common thing that happens to babies all the time, by accident, when a stray hair gets into the foot of their sleeper or whatnot. When I told my pediatrician this story, she almost fell out of her chair- she said this is so common there's even a term for it (which I can't remember now).

In answer to the question, I am very nervous about taking my kids to the ER for anything other than an illness.

Posted by: floof | June 8, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

thinman: Wacky was kidding. That is just his sense of humor.

The Rachel case is sad but my husband has a brother with mild MR and I really can't see him raising a kid. Besides the fact, he could never earn enough $$ to raise a child, I am not sure he would even know how to raise a kid. He is 15 and still believes in the Easter bunny.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 8, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Oooh this hits close to home! my stepdaughter was accidentally injured this weekend when she got tangled up in the dog leash while walking the dogs. She has two pretty terrible rope-burn type wounds from it. Totally an accident, but they are nasty wounds. I was and am worried that her mother would freak when we took the kids to her house, even though we called and told her about it---seeing it is different. Depending on her mood this week I wouldn't half be surprised to have a knock on our door from CPS. I actually feel relief that I wasn't there when it happened so I can't be blamed---how terrible is that?? I should have felt sad that I wasn't there to kiss her and hug her!

I interned at CPS in college and even as an unpaid intern, I saw some terrible, awful, truly "wouldn't believe it if I didn't see with my own two eyes" stuff. Caseworkers walk a very, very thin line of figuring out what happened and what didn't, and what to label it, in the face of people usually feeling extremely defensive and often bold-faced lying to them.

As for Rachel, I would really like to know specifically what IQ test was given. This is what I always wonder when criminals claim they shouldn't be executed due to mental retardation. There are many diverse IQ tests out there that measure different aspects of intelligence, and you can get vastly different results depending on that individual's particular strengths and weaknesses. For example giving a primarily verbal IQ test (such as the Slosson) to a person with weak oral language skills would be guaranteeing a lower score. Giving a primarily non-verbal IQ test (such as the Peabody) to the same person might have different (ie, higher) results. I often wonder if criminal defense attorneys and their teams "tweak" the testing process to get the results they want in this way.

If any of these people were given the gold standard WISC-IV, then I will believe what the results say, as in my experience it is the most well-rounded of IQ tests and covers a variety of different aspects of innate ability.

Posted by: auntieW | June 8, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

OK, I will admit that I was wrong and overreacted.

My apologies to Whacky.

Posted by: thinman1 | June 8, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If kids are being denied medical treatment due to the fear created by mandatory reporting laws, then those laws clearly do the exact opposite of their intended purpose of protecting children.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | June 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

There are many well-documented cases of families being abused by child protection agencies. These agencies have as much or more power than the criminal justice system, without the checks and balances. Your child can be taken away from you because of a judgement by an overworked and under-educated social worker. If you make it into court, you have no right to counsel or to question your accuser; all the evidence against you is "confidential." In most states, even the judge doesn't have access to things like the social worker's notes.

Posted by: Philcott | June 8, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

IQ tests alone should not be the basis for whether someone can parent. While CPS certainly helps many kids, there are also many many stories of CPS wrecking the lives of perfectly good parents.

I recall one horrifying situation 8 years ago when my now-stepdaughter was 11 months old. My then-boyfriend (now husband) and I were mortified to discover a little bit of blood in her diaper. She didn't fall, or have any reason to have this, and we couldn't figure it out. We brought her to the ER out of an abundance of caution ("new parent syndrome") -- and then proceeded to get interviewed by CPS separately for over an hour -- before the baby was even examined by anyone more than the ER nurse. It was clear to me that if I wasn't there explaining that I had been with the 2 of them all morning, that they were worried about some form of sexual abuse. I was stunned, shocked, and mortified -- mostly for my boyfriend who was about as upstanding a dad as you can get. It's sad that now he would think twice about taking one of his daughters to the ER (especially on his own) for anything that could remotely be construed the wrong way.

I feel lucky it all worked out for us, but have heard many worse stories.

Posted by: JenDC | June 8, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This brought to mind something that happened to a friend of mine...

I am not 100% sure of the outcome of the case because I am not sure that he knows but he does know the police are not pressing charges for sexual molestation of a child.

He was living with (and I mean as room mates) a woman with a small boy. I gather she was rather neglectful of the boy and would do things such as feed him dairy knowing full well that he was lactose intolerant. When he had problems - like exploding diarrhea - my friend would help him wash, change out of his PJs and wash the sheets. I gather she was indisposed with internet s*x or sleeping. The boy was like 7 or 8 years old.

About a year after he asked them to leave, they came back with the accusation that he sexually molested the child. He discovered that he could be put on the public sexual offender list despite the fact that the police didn't find enough evidence to actually charge him. An attorney said it would be very difficult to try to change CPS's findings.

Wowsers! CPS can really mess up your life. So how many of the sexual predators in those databases are truly sexual predators and how many of them are just poor schmucks that somehow ran afoul of CPS.

Posted by: Billie_R | June 8, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, the only reason the Caplans' case has provoked this degree of publicity and outrage is because they are a white couple from Georgetown. These things happen much more frequently than people think. But when it's a poor minority family, they don't have $75K to pay legal fees to fight it, they don't have access to people like Marc Fisher -- and, of course, it's easy for the rest of us to think "where there's smoke, there's fire," and isn't it good that CPS is (finally) erring on the side of protecting the kids? The Caplans' case is scary because it makes us realize that it truly can happen to anyone.

I am on the fence about this. On the one hand, I would rather CPS default on the side of protecting the kids. And especially with babies, I don't know how you can know that a particular injury is innocent vs. the result of child abuse. On the other hand, I've seen this happen, and it scares me that one little bump, one phrase taken the wrong way, could initiate a descent into the 7th Circle of Hell.

Posted by: laura33 | June 8, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Floof, it's called a hair tourniquet, and it is indeed quite common.

Pediatrician here. For all the parents of kids with scrapes, bruises and breaks, please do not ever fear seeking medical attention. An injury that is consistent with the story in a child that is otherwise healthy is not going to get CPS called. However, a fall that is bad enough to cause retinal hemorrhage and make a child vomit is a significant injury. Yes, Julianna's daughter was fine, but another child with the same presentation could well have had a severe intracranial hemorrhage and died. Again, folks, please don't let sensationalist stories like this keep you from taking your kid to the hospital.

I do admit, however, that sometimes hospitals are overly cautious and certainly many mistakes have been made over the years. But like the previous poster auntieW said, CPS and hospitals have seen some really, really awful things. You don't want to miss something like that.

Posted by: lom123 | June 8, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I can't tell you how many times I've had my son at the Emergency Room for stitches, sprains, or head injuries. Some of his injuries have been really weird, too necessitating stitches in his tongue, extraction of foreign objects from his body, etc. Thank goodness I've never had to deal with CPS - that's all you need when you're already worried enough about your child.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | June 8, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@lom123-

Realize, every time you report an incident to CPS, you are jeopardizing that child's future medical care, whether or not any abuse occurred.

Personally, I think conversations between patient and physician, and patient medical records should have the same protections as attorney-client privilege. After all, just as the accused have the right to a competent defense, shouldn't people have the right to medical care?

Medical care should be about medical care, not putting innocent people on sex offender registries.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | June 8, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

About this woman's IQ ...

Leo Buscaglia once said -

"SOME OF THE STUPIDEST PEOPLE I KNOW HAVE Ph.D's!"

Posted by: cmecyclist | June 8, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1920's Oklahoma case that parenthood is a fundamental right - and,hence, "retarded" people could not be sterilized to prevent them from becoming parents.

Posted by: CheneyM | June 8, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The US Supreme Court had no jurisdiction over the UK. ANd I believe the person above was trying to make a point. As in, if society is just going to take babies away from those deemed 'incompetent' even before they have a chance to be, well, then we should just ensure they won't have babies in the first place.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | June 8, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

fr tomtildrum:

>...One weekend, my wife pulled a muscle through persistent coughing. When we went to the ER, they asked her if she felt safe at home. They must see some bad stuff.

They must. Two Thanksgivings ago, my wife and I were putting away the food, I straightened up and clunked my head a GOOD one on the corner of the cabinet. My wife took me to the ER the next day, and they asked me if I was safe at home. Had my wife NOT been there, no telling what would have happened. turned out I had a very mild concussion, so had I gone to sleep, I might not have woken up.

Posted by: Alex511 | June 8, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

thinman1 - HOW DARE YOU USE ALL CAPS FOR SUCH A DREARILY PREDICTABLE SENTIMENT?!!

Save it for something interesting, pal.

Posted by: bobsewell | June 8, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

While I sympathize with the Caplan's plight, I truly hope that no parent is so afraid of being branded abusive that they would deny their child potentially life-saving medical attention. I can't imagine any situation, from being asked probing questions right up to risking potential CPS intervention that would be worse than allowing a child to go untreated. Remember Natasha Richardson's death? Any person with a head injury should be immediately seen by a doctor.

As for Rachel's situation - yes, it's sad for her, but feeling sorry for her and allowing her to raise a child are two different things. Rachel is borderline retarded, not dumb. Think of it this way -- would you go away for a week leaving your children in Rachel's care?

Posted by: nlynnc | June 8, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"would you go away for a week leaving your children in Rachel's care?"

No, but there are plenty of "normal" people I wouldn't leave my kids with either.

From the article it sounds like Rachel had her own IQ assessment and she was found to be in the normal IQ range, so I have to question the testing.

It's weird, they have had 3 years and this woman was assessed only once, never provided training or assisted living (available in the UK, called Mother-child something or other). I am not advocating that she be given the child outright, but it seems like taking the child away forever is extreme. She won't be a parent or have any communication with the little girl - ever.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | June 8, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I would rather CPS err on the side of the child. Haven't we all heard stories around the country of foster children abused by foster parents, etc.? For every child not abused and questioned by CPS, I wonder how many tens or hundreds are missed.

Posted by: goodhome631 | June 8, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

As much as I sympathize with some of these stories, I'm on the side of the doctors. If you have nothing to hide, then let them ask away.

Posted by: glt1979 | June 8, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

It's one thing to deny a mother custody of her child based on her capability to provide fulltime childcare...

It's entirely another thing to remove a child from her mother and deny her visitation as if she were involved in some sort of criminal activity, or had a restraining order passed against her because she has been deemed a threat to her child, but to take Rachel's baby away from her based solely on a disability is just flat out a human rights violation.

What scares me about CPS is how arbitrarily petty they can get and the severe consequences they have the power to impose on parents. Leave your sleeping child in the car while you hit the ATM or pick up a gallon of milk from the convenience store, and all it takes is some hero want-to-be do-gooder with a cell phone that doesn't like your choice of politician on your bumper sticker, and poof! You can kiss your plans of being a den mother, teacher's assistant, or soccer coach good-bye.

Truthfully, since I have a disability myself, I'm more afraid of the authorities snatching up my kids more than I fear a criminal doing so.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | June 8, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that there is more to Rachel and Baby K's situation than this brief report elucidates. Granted, the laws and policies are different in England from those here, but I strongly suspect that there had to be more than a mere borderline IQ assessment for social services to decide to take this child away from her mother. Developmentally delayed (low IQ) parents, given the proper supports, can raise children very successfully. I recommend that all interested research the life story of Ricardo and Donna Thornton - DC residents, BTW - whose inspiring story was captured in the TV movie "Profoundly Normal".

Posted by: nan_lynn | June 8, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

That story about Rachel is outrageous. Unfortunately, it's becoming all too common. That is why we need a Parental Rights Amendment: http://www.parentalrights.org/

Posted by: isguy | June 8, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I have mixed feelings about all of this.

Yes, CPS (and similar agencies in other countries) should be putting the child's well-being first, but ... I have to wonder if removing a child from a *questionable* (not necessarily dangerous, abusive or neglectful) home is going to accomplish that goal. DH and SIL were taken from their mother's home, and their stories of the various foster care situations they went through - sometimes it wasn't bad, but sometimes it was worse than the home they were removed from.

I've also known (more than one!) family where the religion of one parent was used by the other one in the divorcing couple's child-custody fights. Yes, a parent's rights to have contact with their child, and even the child's primary custody, can be terminated because a parent belongs to the "wrong" religion.

Protecting kids from family that would harm them, or already has harmed them - that's good.

Taking kids away from their family because CPS (or a family court judge) has too much unchecked power and went too far - that hurts the kid and the family.

How do we balance those two conflicting functions?

Posted by: SueMc | June 8, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

In trying to save my child from falling down the basement steps I pulled too hard on his arm resulting in nursemaids elbow 2.5 years ago.

I didn't know how to get to Children's in DC, but I knew where G. W. Hospital was. So I went there. I was a wreck, I didn't know it was nursemaids elbow, but I was wreck nonetheless.

Once admitted to the inner sanctum of the ER, I was consulted with and then closely monitored (stared at) for several hours. I kept vigil because at any moment I expected to be approached and have my son taken directly from my arms. I was frightened beyond words. The Drs there didn't know how to fix this problem but attempted to anyhow causing my son much pain. It was heartbreaking to watch as he screamed through the pain of which no pain relief was offered. It wasn't until late afternoon they recommended that I take him to Children's on the other side of the city. Gladly of course I went because they gave me directions.

I was again consulted with, they gave him some pain medication, thinly monitored me and when the Dr. came in, she was completely sympathetic and told me how common this type of injury is with children. She then brought several nurses with her and explained to me that they would be able to manipulate his elbow and tendon back where they should be. I had to leave the room this time, sobbing and feeling like I had failed and permenantly injured my sweet son. They "fixed" him and then he was fine.

Of course, once this type of injury occurs, it is more apt to happen again so we had to be extra careful with him. And it has happened again twice more. I took him in to Children's again, but the last time it happened, a friend nurse showed me how to handle it myself and I did.

Point of the story is that experts at hospitals that are for children are trained to visually and most times correctly recognize abuse over the normal bumps, bruises, and most other types of injuries. Thank goodness, because right now at 4, my son's lower legs and knees look like he's been through the war!! But he's normal and having a great time!!!

I wouldn't hesitate to take my son no matter what to a hospital with experts in children, regular ER's do provide a sense of unstability and I use that as a last resort.

Posted by: tecatesdream | June 9, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

fr afsljafweljkjlfe:

>...Realize, every time you report an incident to CPS, you are jeopardizing that child's future medical care, whether or not any abuse occurred....

Nope, not at all true. I turned my former neighbor in to CPS because she was dealing from her apartment, and had a two-year-old toddler living with her. Had NO qualms about it at all, and would definitely do it again.

Posted by: Alex511 | June 9, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The only safe response to the conundrum of child abuse is to remove every child from every family and let CPS decide who are worthy of having their kids back. Then we can have CPS train the children into an obedient cadre of browshirted enforcers who will forever protect the state from the danger posed by families. Then we will finally have safe children. Hooray for statists! Heil Obama!

Posted by: maxmillian1 | June 9, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

CPS workers see some pretty horrendous things. I know, I went through the training as a mandatory reporter. As for this young woman, an IQ of 71 puts her at mild retardation. She could probably take care of her child if she had a good caseworker. Unless she is actively abusing her child or does not have a desire to be a mother, no one should take her child away from her.

Posted by: BB1978 | June 9, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Last year a disgruntled neighbor turned us to CPS for abuse and neglect. After a meeting with a very nice social worker it was dropped without even a formal investigation.
I have four kids, they play hard and sometimes accidents happen. My 5 yr old has broken both his arms, one two years ago and one this April. The first time I watched it happen, the second he jumped off the top bunk and landed on it. He has had stitches once, my 7 yr old daughter has had stitches once and my youngest had nursemaids elbow when she was 2 from being swung between two people when walking. Even after our CPS experience, we never hesitated to take them to the ER (since most injuries seem to happen after office hours). They have never questioned our parenting because most Dr.s realize that kids get hurt even when well attended. Yes, what happened to the Caplans was scary but I would never deny my child medical care for fear of investigation. Letting a child suffer from pain so you can wait and go to your own Ped., THAT is abuse and neglect.

Posted by: leah52 | June 9, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Every year, about 1,300 infants and toddlers die from Shaken Baby Syndrome. Many others are severely and permanently injured. One of the common symptoms is retinal hemorhage. From Maine to California, this and other symptoms associated with SBS will raise a red flag for doctors and generally trigger child protective involvement. When a parent undergoes suspicion and the symptoms turn out not to be SBS, the parent and public are angry. Yet when a child dies from SBS or other abuse, the public demands to know why the child welfare system didn't do more. The only way to protect the smallest children who can't say what happened is to err on the side of caution. This can be temporarily traumatic for parents who are blameless, but in many other cases, it saves children's lives.

Posted by: Perspective7 | June 9, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I have a relative who once lived in a residence in NYC on East 16th St called The Bernard Fineson Rsidence. The manager Curtis Walker is a notorious sex abuser and drug addict. He's had unsolicited sex with dozens of DD males since his hiring. I can't prove it but I know that this goes on in other group homes as well. This ais a group home for the severely retarded so most of them simply didn't understand the activities they engaged in or the psychological consequenses of their actions. Is there any way to protect the DD population from this systematic abuse?

Posted by: kbrown9916 | June 14, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

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