Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CPS accuses me

I got a call from CPS today.
Me: Hello.

CPS: Hello, is this George?

Me: Yes, it is.

CPS: This is Sally Mitchell.

Me: This is who?

CPS: Hi George, this is Sally Mitchell, social worker, CPS. I am calling for a number of reasons. One is that I wanted to let you know that I spoke with your girls today, at the school. I had wanted to talk with them and see if they were talking with you and they talked with you about what they had told me. And I was hoping that you and they would had a discussion about the things that concern them. I wanted to see if that had happened and if you had listened to them. And the indications that I had from them was that you didn't really listen to them. And I wanted to see what you had to say about that.

Me: Indications? What did they say?

CPS: They said that you talked to them, and told them not to talk to me. And that ... Basically, they didn't feel that you had really listened to them, on the changes to accommodate some of their wishes, such as food and those sorts of things. Did you have an opportunity to listen to them, or to listen what frustrates them about how you treat them?

Me: Can you tell me what you did? Did you put them out of school to do this? What did you do?

CPS: I talked to them in the office ...

Me: Together or separately?

CPS: Together. I told them that if they didn't want to talk to me that was fine, and that they didn't have to talk to me. If they decided they didn't want to, that was perfectly fine. They said that they wanted to talk to me, they said "we want to talk to you", and so I talked to them.

Me: Together or separately?

CPS: Together.

Me: Was anyone else present?

CPS: There was one other person present. The kids can have someone present.

Me: Who was that?

CPS: That was the school psychologist.

Me: You said that the kids can have someone present.

CPS: Yes. When the kids are interviewed, they can have someone from the staff present.

Me: Was this at their request?

CPS: It was with their permission.

Me: Why do you say, "the kids can have someone present"? It is not something that they requested?

CPS: We ask them if they want someone present if there is someone available there that is part of their relationship there, to be present.

Me: Did you ask them if they want someone present?

CPS: Our protocol is to ask them if they want someone present.

Me: Did they request someone else to be present?

CPS: You know, I think we need to get back to the main issue here, and that is ...

Me: Wait, wait, wait. Are you refusing to answer the question?

CPS: What?

Me: Are you refusing to answer the question?

CPS: I am not refusing to answer the question. If the kids want someone there, they can have someone there. If that is okay with them, then that person can be there.

Me: Did they request someone else to be there?

CPS: They did not specifically say, "Yes I want someone to be there".

Me: Then how did that person get to be there?

CPS: That person can be there. If they are fine with that person there, then that is permissible.

Me: Did that person request to be there?

CPS: I think we need to get back ... I think that you are avoiding the issue here.

Me: I am not avoiding any issue. I want to know. Do you not want to tell me?

CPS: I want to get back to the issue of your treatment of your children.

Me: First of all, what is the name of that person?

CPS: Will Rosse.

Me: Will Rosse?

CPS: Uh-huh.

Me: Did you ask for Will Rosse to be there?

CPS: People on the staff can be included in an interview. Let's get back ...

Me: Are you refusing to answer the question?

CPS: I am not refusing to answer the question, however, at this time, I think it would be best to get back to your ...

Me: You are refusing. If you are not refusing, then tell me the answer.

CPS: Okay, I am going to hang up now. I want to talk to you at some point about your parenting of your children. If you are ready to talk about that, I want to talk about that.

Me: When you are ready to tell me exactly, you know, what you are doing to my children, I'd appreciate it if you would tell me.

CPS: We will talk later. (pause) In the meantime, you need to think seriously about having you and your kids in counseling so that your kids can communicate to you what concerns them about your parenting of them. That's what you need to do at this point. That is what CPS is recommending at this point to you. Because your treatment of your children is abusive. It is emotionally abusive.

Me: How so?

CPS: How so? As I said the other day, it is the sum total of your treatment of children that is abusive. Each individual thing is -- that I mentioned the other day and other things the children have told me, taken in of itself, might not be a major issue, but it is the sum total, George, that is very difficult for your children. (pause) I am concerned about your children. I know you find that hard to believe because you think that I am just a bureaucrat, but I am concerned about your children and I want the children to feel comfortable with you. I want your relationship with them to be a really positive one. For their sake and for your sake. But it is not headed that way. It is not going that way. I would still like to meet with you. Is there a time that we could get together? Do you want to think about that?

Me: Are you willing to answer my questions?

CPS: Repeat the question.

Me: I've asked you a number of times here ...

CPS: Okay, I'll let you deal with that, how you want to deal with that. But I am saying to you I think that the kids need to be in counseling. You need to get in counseling with them. You need to hear what they are saying to you. You need to make some changes in your parenting style.

Me: I need to what?

CPS: You need to make some changes in your parenting style.

Me: Okay, I've heard your opinion.

CPS: What was that?

Me: I've heard your opinion.

CPS: Okay. All right. And the kids did want someone in with them.

Me: What?

CPS: The kids did want someone in with them.

Me: The kids did want someone in with them?

CPS: Yes.

Me: Did they ask for Will Rosse to be in with them?

CPS: No.

Me: Well who did they want in with them?

CPS: A staff person, and they were fine with him being in with us.

Me: Anything else?

CPS: That's it.

Me: Okay, bye.

CPS: Bye.
I don't know why she couldn't just tell me how the school psychologist happened to be invited to the interrogation. She contradicted herself on whether the kids wanted him there. My guess is that she scheduled the meeting in advance with him. Or maybe the school requested it. But whatever it was, I don't know why she wouldn't just tell me, unless she was trying to cover up some breach of protocol.

More importantly, I still don't who filed the complaint, or what the complaint was about. Mitchell is now accusing me of abuse, and trying to force me and my kids into therapy. But I don't know what the abuse is, or why she might think that there would be any need for therapy.

Mitchell cannot point to one single thing that I have done wrong. All I could get out of her were some vague concerns about me not listening to kids about food, and not making changes to accommodate their wishes. My kids are eight and ten years old. My guess is that you could coax a food complaint out of just about any ten-year-old.

I called to school to try to find out why it is cooperating with this nonsense, and the only answer I got was that any school would do whatever CPS asked. For all I know, a teacher could have filed the complaint, and the school is refusing to tell me.

I am outraged by what CPS and the school have done. I am still trying to get to the bottom of this.


hawa said...

Following this story makes me sick to my stomach.

First of all, children don't know anything about parenting. That's why parents are parents.

Second, show me ONE KID who doesn't have a complaint about their parents. It's ridiculous that CPS is allowed to speak on "parenting style" outside of abuse. They're enabling children to run the household. The case worker should be ashamed of herself.

Thirdly, did CPS ever consider that their actions are making the children anxious? Did CPS ever consider that they're questioning is creating an environment for your children to think you're doing something wrong?

I know perfectly good parents who've gotten screwed by the system. Hell, if CPS did more on the abuse cases and less on the "your kids are upset about the alarm clock...," maybe so many children wouldn't die on their watch.

Hang in there. I can't imagine what it takes to fight such gross injustice.

George said...

Thanks for your support.

I don't know what motivates these CPS agents. They surely must realize that they are doing harm.

Anonymous said...

Strange that George's readers are quick to accept that George is actually accurately reporting the facts of the situation and just as quick to embrace the idea that CPS is evil for accepting the, he says, unsupported reporting of his ex-wife. Note that, apparently his ex is supported by whoever reported the situation to CPS, and by the children, in some respect. NOte also that should the jusdge fail to respond to the ex the children are left at risk. George will have the chance to put his case to the judge at the hearing.
Note to HAWA: maybe Protective Services IS concerned with children dying.