I just got a visit from Sally Mitchell, a senior social worker with the local Family and Children's Services, which seems to be a county welfare agency. I guess that it is the new name for what used to be call Children's Protective Services, or CPS. She showed up with her car at my house, accompanied by two police cars.
I spoke to her for about 45 minutes in the driveway. She said that someone had made a complaint that I may not be taking the best care of my kids' emotional needs. She refused to say who made the complaint. She said that she interviewed the kids at school yesterday, and got much of her info from the kids.
She had a long list of petty complaints. She said that I expect the kids to help with the cooking and the dishes. She said that I asked them to do some homework before going trick-or-treating on Halloween. She said that on a camping trip three months ago, the kids were tired after going on a long hike. She said that on one occasion, a child left the dinner table and that I had eaten her abandoned food. She said that I once drove (harmlessly) past a sleeping dog in the road, with the kids in the car.
She spent most her time on a complaint about setting the alarm clock to wake up the kids for school. She said that the kids complain that sometimes they set the alarm clock, and I change the setting. I asked her if there was something wrong with that. She wouldn't say that there was anything wrong with it, but insisted that it was "unusual". She said that she has been doing social work and interviewing parents for 41 years, and she thinks that most parents of kids that age wake the kids up directly when it is time to get up for school, and do not use an alarm clock in the kids bedroom.
She said that I have a web site with a link to a lewd picture. I couldn't figure out what she was talking about, or what it would have to do with the kids. At first I thought that she was claiming that I had posted a lewd picture of one of the kids, but that was not it. It was a lewd picture of an adult, she explained, and I don't know whom or where.
That's it. Those are all the complaints. She stopped short of accusing me of doing anything wrong, but suggested that maybe my expectations for the kids might be too high. She admitted that none of the complaints, by itself, was any cause for concern.
I told her that I would consider what she told me, and that I would speak to the kids about it. She asked that I speak to them without threat of "repercussions". I asked what she meant by that, and she asked me to speak to them with "kindness". I agreed to do that.
In the end, she gave me her business card and a pamphlet on my rights to apply for welfare benefits. She asked me to sign a form saying that I speak English, and I did. She asked me to call her next week to make an appointment to discuss things further, but would not tell me what the point of that discussion would be. She said that a case number was going to be assigned to the matter, but would not say whether there would be any more investigation.
I am not sure what to make of this yet. I would have thought that our county police and social workers would have better things to do with their time. I really don't see what good is going to come out of this exercise.