Dear Annie: My sister, "Suzie," has always been a bit of a flower child, and my parents think it's funny. Suzie dropped out of high school to pursue her "career" in something — art, music, dance, yoga, whatever. ...This is wrong on several levels. I don't doubt that Suzie has some substandard child-rearing practices, but then I disagrree with most parents on some issues. The problem here is in thinking that CPS is some sort of useful authority, in calling CPS anonymously, in betraying her own sister, in taking a rash action against the judgment of their parents, in accepting a CPS opinion as decisive, and in scheming to take custody of the kids.
Suzie insists that the children be fed only vegan and organic products. When the boys stay with us, which is fairly often lately, we feed them healthy balanced meals that they wolf down like they're starving. The oldest boy told me they usually eat oatmeal with some peanut butter in it. I believe both boys are anemic. ...
She's leaving the boys with me for two weeks this summer, and I'm tempted to have Child Protective Services evaluate them. My wife agrees. My parents don't. I'm scared Suzie will bolt with the kids if she gets wind of my suspicions. She's done it before.
I want the best for my nephews. How do I go about it? — W.C.
Dear W.C.: Don't wait until summer. Call Child Protective Services anonymously, and ask them to investigate the home environment now. (You need not inform your parents.) ...
And if CPS determines that the kids need to be removed from Suzie's care, we hope you will offer to take them.
Here, there are much better alternatives. The writer can re-assess the situation in the summer. She can schedule a family conference with the parents (ie, grandparents). She could take the boys this summer contingent on getting an opinion from a neutral third party. She could get a medical test for anemia. An anonymous call to CPS is the worst of all choices.
Reader of this blog probably do not get their advice from a Dear Annie column. But you may have a sister who takes this advice seriously, and is planning to betray you.