Mommy Talk

Being a mom ain't easy

When is it ok to Step in?

on August 12, 2014

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I never thought that I would question this. I always thought that if there was potential for a child to get hurt that I would automatically do the right thing and step in. But how do you know the real potential. I know of a woman who continues to make poor choice after poor choice. She moves her young daughter into houses with undesirable people. She trusts her child’s care to her latest “bestie” like she’s known them her whole life.. and really it could only be a couple of weeks

This woman meets most if not all of her friends at step programs.. and I’m not talking the 90s aerobic workout.. I mean AA, NA.. whichever anonymous meeting happens to be in the area. It’s where she meets her boyfriends too. She loses her money.. and this means her baby’s food and diaper money too.. her cell phone.. her whatever else pretty much monthly and has hit everyone she knows up for more when she can.

She has been given the opportunity many times to move home to parents houses.. or friends houses till she gets back on her feet.. but that never lasts long.. mostly because she’s not allowed to drink and have seedy men over.

Every day in the news there is some article or another about little children getting beaten or killed or raped by the mother’s boyfriend.. or friend.. or whomever was at the house scoring at the time. I think about the helpless little girl who was born a month too early.. who couldn’t put on weight even formula fed, who had seizures and 2 holes in her heart and needed surgery.. the little girl who is only a week younger than my son.. and I ache for her safety.

I don’t have any direct contact with the child so I don’t see any direct abuse.. and a lot of my fears are based on the circumstances of her living conditions and past poor choices… so I feel like I’m crying wolf if I get involved.. but it scared me to think that something might happen to that little girl.. with only a drunk women who abandoned her 2 older girls to protect her.

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4 responses to “When is it ok to Step in?

  1. You said it yourself. You don’t have direct evidence (the facts), so you can’t step in because the law won’t support you if you can’t prove abuse or neglect. You could even be sued for making a false accusation.

    I understand your fear. Life is hard and dangerous for many. Children are basically the property of the custodial parent under our law, to do with as they choose, no matter how ineptly. Fortunately, kids are pretty resilient, even under awful situations.

    • I don’t direct evidence that the child is being hit.. but there are many types of abuse… and over the years laws have changed. Children are not property. She lost her other 2 children because she had an unsafe living environment and was unable to care for them. Her environment is even worse now.

      I have seen her light a cigarette with a gas stove and walk away from the lit stove because she was too drunk to realize she even turned it on. I have received repeated messages from her begging for money because her’s was either lost, stolen or spent on drugs and alcohol which left her no money for her baby’s formula, food, diapers and medicine… as the child has health problems due to her excessive drinking during the pregnancy. I also have messages stating that she lives in a house where she doesn’t feel safe leaving her money because the people who live there are all addicts who steal.

      I also know for a fact that she used to have her older daughters over for visits and close them in their rooms when people would come over to visit because she didn’t trust that they wouldn’t hurt the child and then she would go sleep down the hall from them with only a closed door to protect them and made them promise to not tell their dad because then they would get in trouble.

      So.. no.. I don’t have direct evidence that the baby is being beaten… but abuse has wide girth. Hence my confusion.

      • You can turn over text messages to Child Protective Services as evidence. “Knowing for a fact” is not admissible in court. The lit cigarette story doesn’t qualify as eyewitness evidence, because it’s based on an assumption about her state of sobriety that you can’t prove. You must think in terms of provability. Law is weighted against suspicion. Your genuine concern does not give you legal standing.

        I used to work in Crisis Intervention. I’m not going to waste space with all the tales of unfit parents who were given third, fourth, fifteenth chances. Courts are very reluctant to alter the custody status of infants and toddlers, even from a person with prior problems.

  2. Thank you.. that is very helpful information to have!

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