Skip to main content

View Diary: Protecting a child (48 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  FIRST... Report this to police (82+ / 0-)

    Yes, I know.

    Drastic, but SOMEONE who is an official third party whose objective reports and photos go into a police file needs to document these things, and [in my experience where no split jurisdictions were involved, even], Social Services or Child Protective Services are less than useless; in fact in the case I have info about, they were a hindrance because they put babies and pre-verbal children right back with the abusive parent(s) or other persons who live with said parent(s) - didn't bother to get the child checked by a doctor, only interviewed the child with the lying mother present, etc.  Social services is ONLY useful AFTER the police get involved when kids are older and have some verbal skills - in my experience.  Others may have different experiences, but the bleeping excessive "secrecy" for child protective services in my state is also a hindrance because social services personnel or case workers don't seek outside documentation from anyone else at the initial intake if someone gives names and phone numbers of people who can verify the reporting person's info; they just contact the abusive person(s) involved who can often lie more convincingly than anyone else can tell the truth.  Police have more leeway - IF they're a good police department with adequate personnel, they'll track down leads and witnesses (if any).

    Besides police, get the light of your life to a doctor, or if she has bruises or other evidence of abuse, get the medical community involved.  They only contact CPS, but doctors have objective reports that can help in a courtroom if/when it becomes necessary.

    As her best friends/protectors, you need to also write diaries, take photos, take videos, make sure everything is properly dated, times noted, circumstances stated - just in case you ever have to get to a courtroom.  Share the info with police and prosecuting attorneys (scan handwritten info, print out and/or give them copies, keep the originals safe with you, duplicate or triplicate copies on thumb drives, keep at least one in a safe deposit box no one else can get to besides you.  Get fingerprints and DNA samples of your sweetheart (just in case this horrid, horrid child abuser and/or the biological mother does the worst), keep the results in a safe place and/or on/with the same thumb drive that is in a secure location.

    Check with the prosecuting attorney (and/or both the one in your jurisdiction or the other jurisdiction) - PA's can't charge you because they work for the people and they're often in an elected or appointed position so they work for either a state, county, or city - depending on the size of the location you live in or where your darling lives in the other state, and if s/he is good, perhaps s/he knows of a family practice attorney who can assist you on a pro bono basis, or take payments.

    If it becomes a criminal case, the prosecuting attorney who has jurisdiction will need your info, so it is wise to be on the good side of the prosecutor..., and if it does become a criminal case, don't say you won't testify; that will kill the case dead and the prosecutor can't do anything then.  Yes, I know a private attorney is expensive..., but this is the life of a child, and she is more important than anyone.  If other adults in official positions you're dealing with don't get that, they are useless to you.

    Just remember you need to have official documentation from third parties who have no personal stake in this..., and reports from police and doctors are the best, and if they're backed up by your data that is properly documented with dates and times (and don't coach your daughter - just let her talk if you get her on tape!!!).  All of that combined can, will, or should make a great deal of difference to a judge.

    Oh, my heart goes out to you!  She looks like such a darling little girl and the thought someone is or may be abusing her, or grooming her for worse abuse, just breaks my heart!  I'm too far away to do any good, but you have my full best wishes and moral support.

    Keep us all apprised of the situation..., okay?

    {{{Hugggs!}}}

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 02:32:39 PM PST

      •  +1gigazillion. CPS returned my neighbor's 20-month (6+ / 0-)

        old niece to the child's mother in October, after the child had been with other family since last February. Closed the case in November.

        Thursday night, high (admitted same), mom shot baby in the head, killing her. Then called 9-1-1 when she got over the high.

        Mom's boyfriend is her meth connection.
        Him, I'd like to see get the death penalty.

        Oh and my neighbor? He's a vet. Six tours, from Gitmo to Afghanistan, in his 15 years in the Texas National Guard. His CO forbid him to help clean up the crime scene (the mom remains in jail on $1 million bond; the "home" was a rented trailer house, out of which the boyfriend has now been evicted too).

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 09:06:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I am SO sorry to hear this! (6+ / 0-)

          Dammit, it was predictable as the sunrise and sunset!!!

          When will CPS people learn that the parental unit(s) and/or their significant other(s) in the lives of these children must NOT be the primary caregivers no matter what they say about "going to get clean?"  "Going to" is NOT the same as "has been off of drugs for X# of years, is in a stable job, reliable housing, is continuing counseling, and is ready for custody..., as long as CPS closely monitors the situation and actually visits" - as in, unexpectedly dropping by visits, not pre-planned things when a parental unit can be clean and sober and non-violent for a few days before CPS visits...???

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:07:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm so sorry. Your neighbor must be beside (5+ / 0-)

          himself with grief and anger. What a terrible tragedy.

          Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 10:26:17 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  he grieves. The obit is in today's paper. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NonnyO, peregrine kate

            They had to take up a collection for a funeral.
            He lost his sister in this fiasco as well as his niece (yes, he was the "other family"). The boyfriend/dealer may walk ....

            but not far.

            LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

            by BlackSheep1 on Tue Feb 25, 2014 at 09:07:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Wish I could rec your comment a thousand (28+ / 0-)

      thousand times, NonnyO

      Thank you

      There is something in us that refuses to be regarded as less than human. We are created for freedom - Archbishop Desmond Tutu

      by Onomastic on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 03:00:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, Onomastic. (15+ / 0-)

        I used to work in a different branch of law enforcement when I was young so I know how this works in a different state.  It's kind of difficult to give specifics about what needs to happen to get the child in Irish Patti's life to a safe place (away from her mother and that abusive fellow) because I don't know the police or prosecutors involved.

        In a broad general sense, it mostly works the same in most states, and IP and her husband need to get police involved, doctors (if necessary), child psychologists (if necessary), and their reports can then go to a prosecutor for evaluation on legal points to see if the abuser can be charged with criminal violations, whether it can be felony counts or "only" misdemeanors.  Jurisdiction might be a problem, but there should be a way to work around it.

        Then, after that little girl is at a safe haven away from a drug addict mother and that horrible abuser (hopefully a good foster home - some are very good, but I know of a few that were almost as bad as being with the abusive parent), Irish Patti and her husband can then use the services of a private attorney to sue for visitation rights and/or custody, and custody can happen across state lines (I know of a case where that happened and CPS in two counties in two states were involved; it didn't work out but that was because the kid should never have been sent to the out-of-state person's household in the first place since there were terrible extenuating circumstances; kid came back to original location and was placed in a good foster home, finally).

        All my grandma-bear ire comes to the surface when I hear about kids being abused.  [IMHO, child abusers belong on that same (imaginary) deserted island with the spouse abusers and pedophiles and rapists..., never again to have contact by any means with normal people for the rest of their unnatural, meaningless, evil little lives.]

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 05:28:19 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  We have mountains of documentation (15+ / 0-)

      Without a lawyer, we have no way to present it.

      (-9.00,-7.59) non illegitimi carborundum. We will go on forever because we are the people-John Steinbeck

      by Irish Patti on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 03:21:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But what NonnyO is saying is that this case (32+ / 0-)

        should not remain within the Family Court system, but should be prosecuted as a criminal offense. To have that happen, it may be necessary to involve the police in your jurisdiction. Your step-daughter, as the victim of a crime, and you as her parents are not expected to come up with organized information. That's what the prosecutorial function is for.

        That suggestion, plus the one by marina about using the contacts of the local DV shelters to find some guidance about how to proceed above and beyond Family Court, and Catte Nappe's about the National Child Advocacy Center, are the best on this thread so far.

        I don't want to be excessively paranoid, but you might not want to have your step-daughter's photo on the web, no matter how innocuous.

        I wish you all the best of luck as you fight for your child's safety and well-being.

        Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

        by peregrine kate on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 03:49:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What peregrine kate said - (15+ / 0-)

        A private attorney can only work on private cases like suing someone and such.

        Going through police and city, county, state prosecutors (aka attorney general in my state... I don't know what the position is called in other states).

        The way to get a prosecutor involved is to report any incidents or conversations with your daughter to POLICE or to a DOCTOR.  I don't know about your state, but in most states it is mandatory that doctors and teachers and such report any suspected cases of child abuse to the POLICE.  True, they then turn around and get CPS involved, and then - if you have a decent social services system - they can be effective in removing a child from an abusive situation.

        If you only go to CPS or through private channels, it looks like a family spat.

        These things need DOCUMENTATION by third parties who have no stake in the outcome after it goes to court, and that means getting police and the medical community involved - hopefully before worse abuse happens.  If it's up to CPS without the police and medical community involved, it's been my experience CPS will just leave the kids in the abusive situation and occasionally do things like make the custodial parent attend parenting classes (like that will do any good in a situation where drugs are involved), but they don't do the LOGICAL thing and remove the kid from the abusive situation.

        That's why you need police, doctors involved (which costs you nothing except time)... so that they can build a LEGAL case with objective EVIDENCE that a prosecutor can take to court.  The only thing that could derail it then would be your refusal to testify in court.  That's the part where rape victims and/or abusive spouses err - they "just want their significant other to stop abusing them" (which is why the call police to "get someone to be on their side and tell the significant other to stop" - but they refuse to testify in court against the abusive person (or rapist in other cases), which results in no case that can be prosecuted for lack of someone detailing facts to back up forensic evidence; for a case to proceed to consequences for abusers/rapists, that means the people being harmed need to testify against their abusers/rapists.

        At this immediate second, you don't need a private attorney.  You need a prosecutor who can build a legal - criminal - case against this fellow who abused your daughter (he would need or be appointed a defense attorney if there is independent evidence against this creep).  That can't happen without reporting it to police....

        There are two branches of the legal system in criminal cases: the prosecutors who go after the bad people..., and the defense attorneys who defend the criminals (fifth amendment rights).

        You want the prosecutors on your side, which includes police....

        I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

        by NonnyO on Mon Feb 24, 2014 at 05:05:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site