Childrearing

Woman Calls CPS After Seeing Kid Playing Outside, Proving Stranger Danger Is Real But It’s Your Nosy Neighbor

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Later that week she got a voicemail from a Child Protective Services investigator, asking her to return her call immediately. She called an attorney friend for advice, then she called the investigator back. Within an hour the investigator was at her house, questioning her children:

“Within an hour she was at the house, interviewing the kids one at a time, alone with her, while I had to sequester myself upstairs… And I understood why the process had to be that way. I didn’t like it. I DON’T like it. But I understood…

My kids reported that she asked questions about drugs and alcohol, about pornography, about how often they bathe, about fighting in the home… I understand CPS investigators have an incredibly difficult job. But the conflict I feel is immense. My children were playing outside, within sight of the house, and now my 6yo and 8yo and 12yo have seen their mother spoken to — multiple times — as if she, herself, was a child being reprimanded. They have all been questioned, by a stranger, about whether they’ve ever been shown movies of other people’s private parts. And no matter what I say, I can tell that they think they’ve done something wrong.

After Roy, her children and her husband were all interviewed, CPS came to the conclusion that her child was, in fact, just playing outside. She was also warned that the neighbor could call the police as many times as she wants, if she feels she is witnessing some sort of neglect. Translation – your nosy neighbor has made it so your kids are no longer safe playing outside.

I’m becoming terrified of strangers– or in this case “helpful” neighbors. With more and more stories like this one surfacing, I find myself giving people who glance at me and my family as they walk by my house the side-eye. This story is frustrating and infuriating. To think that a “concerned” neighbor can see your child playing outside and a few days later that child will be sitting in front of a CPS officer being questioned about all sorts of disturbing things is terrifying. I guess in light of all of the other recent stories about CPS swooping in to rescue kids that don’t need to be rescued — she’s lucky. Roy is the first to point out that it would be even worse if she didn’t have the privileges she does:

Do I know how lucky I am to be able to call friends who are attorneys, to be able to google my questions, to have a working phone to call the CPS investigator to get updates, to have a circle of friends I can trust to be supportive and indignant along with me? I see my privilege. I want to apologize for it. I know this has been just a taste of what others go through. Just as I have had tastes in the past of food stamps and medicaid and being at the mercy of government support. I get it, Universe, you have thrown open the floodgates of perspective. I am drowning in it.

Stranger danger is real – and it looks like your nosy neighbor. Not some creepy man jumping out of the bushes waiting to offer your kids candy.

(photo: Lolostock/ Shutterstock)

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