(A note: This is a simplified view of things, but still, I feel, very valid. Not all situations are the same and some are so very complicated that they defy simple advice. This is a sort of starting point. I have worked with children all of my adult life. I have worked in child protection and have also been investigated by child protection services. I’m not making light of anyone’s situation, I’m just trying to give you some good, if simple, advice.)
So, child protective services are in your life…
Whatever they’re called in your neck of the woods, it amounts to pretty much the same thing. Chances are good that you are not happy about it. No, it doesn’t feel good and you are probably angry and ashamed and embarrassed. All normal emotions to be having. There’s no way it’s going to feel good, right away. What if people find out? What are they going to think? Well, it’s unlikely that anyone else will know about it, other than the people directly involved. If people do find out, they may judge you. Hey may think less of you. They may be happy that help has arrived. Though we want everyone to think we’re awesome, it’s not always going to happen. Fuck em’. You have your own ducks to get into a row.
Something you need to know.
Child services don’t want your kids. Period. Sure they’ll remove them from your care if they have to, but they would so much rather leave them with you, the parents. Generally that’s the best place for them. There is no quota to be filled by the social workers. They do not get paid by the child. The worker does not hate you, even if you are hateful. The worker wants you to be better and will do what they can to make that a reality.
What do you need to do?
In a nutshell… Calm the fuck down.
Seriously, calm down. I know you’re angry. They know you’re angry. You’re asking, “who the fuck do they think they are?” Well, they think that their job is to keep kids safe. Ask the average person on the street if it is a good thing to ensure the safety of children. Seriously, go on. I’ll wait. No one, anywhere, would ever say that this is not a good thing. That is unless you and you’re family are the focus of their attentions. In that case, fuck them. So yeah, calm down before you make things worse.
I’m not kidding about making things worse. Let’s say the concern that’s been raised has nothing to do with your anger or your temper. Well, if you put your anger and temper on display, front and centre, then that becomes the focus. The worker can’t get to the meat of any problems if they, first, have to deal with you being an obnoxious, belligerent twit. Maybe your temper and anger are the problem that’s being looked into. Well, showing that you can’t control it certainly doesn’t play in your favour.
So take a deep breath. Find out why they are involved
So take a deep breath. Find out why they are involved. You can ask and they will tell you. In fact, they’ll tell you even if you don’t ask. Why would these evil, life invading, day ruining bastards do that? Well, you see, you need to know. If you know what the problem is, you can fix the problem. Maybe there isn’t a problem. Maybe it’s all a misunderstanding. Great. These bastards don’t want your children, I promise. So they are going to listen to you too and if there’s no problem they’ll thank you for your time and get the fuck outta there. There is nothing they want more than to be allowed, legally, to leave you and your children alone.
So, now that you know what the problem is, you can do something about it. If they have determined that there is a problem, they will also provide you with some ideas about how to change. They even look into ways to make it as easy to do as possible.
For example, let’s say you have a temper and sometimes your kid pushes you just far enough that you snap and hit them. Well, the first thing that pops into one’s head might be: Don’t hit your fucking kid! Here’s the thing though… everyone knows that there’s more to it. The folks with child protection will suggest anger management of some sort. Why? Well, hitting your kid isn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem may be that you have serious anger issues and they take you to a place where you hit your kid. Helping you with your anger will help you in general and also, hopefully, stop you from hitting your kid. (One thing to note: even if you have anger problems, it’s not ok to hit your kid.) You have to accept that there is a problem and that it’s your job as the parent to fix it.
Maybe you don’t have an anger management problem. Maybe you have crippling depression and have difficulty getting out of bed, let alone making a meal for your kid and taking care of all the other little needs they have. Guess what, there are things that can be done to help there too. Help the depression and maybe the safety of your kid stops being an issue.
Or, my favourite, you are just a shitty parent. You’re parenting skills are nil. You have no idea how to meet the emotional and physical needs of your kid. Maybe you can barely take care of yourself Well, guess what? The nice social worker can help you there too. Amazing. There are people who’s only job is to try and help people learn how to be parents. There’s classes. There’s one on one training. For fuck’s sake, there’s the internet! Seriously, look that shit up. Make an effort to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. “Oh yeah? Who the fuck are you to tell me I’m not a good parent?!” The best answer to that question is, “Fuck you.” It doesn’t matter if you think that the child protection worker needs to be involved with you. Once they are involved, they have to be able to legally show that your kid is safe. If you have to bend a little to make this happen, then fucking bend. Pretty simple. You are not being targeted. There is no vendetta against you and yours.
You don’t even have to fix the problem right away. What you need to do is make an effort. Work with the social worker. Putting in the effort shows a lot about how important your child is to you. No, things that are important are not always easy to fix, but hopefully your kid is worth it to you.
So, please, find out what the issues are. Stay calm. Find out what you have to do to fix things. Accept the help that is offered. Put your kid’s needs ahead of your own.