I think many of us are growing tired of the many "Should I Call CPS???" and "I'm Not Sure If I Should Call" posts, so I've created a guide for those who are unsure.
Circumstances under which you should call CPS:
- You have witnessed a child being beaten. This does not mean a swat on the backside, or an unruly teenager being slapped across the face. CPS will not remove kids over this, and in most cases, they won't even investigate. "Beaten" means someone is wailing on the kid uncontrollably, swinging a belt or other object on the kid more than a couple of times, striking the kid deliberately with an object somewhere other than the backside, punching or kicking a small child (they often won't investigate if the child is a teenager---trust me).
- You have witnessed a child being deliberately burned or scalded.
- You have witnessed a child who is, on MORE THAN ONE OCCASION, running around naked outside, especially if no parent or caregiver is present. I say "more than once" because kids, especially the pre-school aged kids, love running around naked. I know I did. When my twin sister and I were 4, we took off while our mom was trying to get us dressed after a bath, and made our way outside and down the sidewalk. My elderly neighbor, Mrs. Curry, had to swoop us up and return us to our mom. It happens. If it happens a lot, there may be a reason to call, though.
- You witness a child with a serious injury (broken bone, serious burn, severe laceration, etc) who has been left untreated.
- You witness or are made aware of sexual abuse of the child.
- You witness drug abuse in the home, or are made aware of it by the child, meaning the child has witnessed it.
- You are aware that the house lacks adequate plumbing, has been badly infected with mold or infested with rats and/or roaches, and no corrective action is being taken.
When NOT to call CPS:
- Your sister's baby-daddy's cousin's neighbor said blah, blah, blah, blah....
- You *THINK* something *MIGHT* be going on in the house, but have absolutely no proof of it.
- The child is running around outside without a coat and/or shoes on. Chances are the kid has a coat and/or shoes, and if you see it happening frequently, talk to the parents about it before you jump to conclusions and call CPS. IF the child truly doesn't have these things and you are unwilling to donate any or direct the parents to a charity, go ahead and call, but let me tell you---you're a shitty person for it.
- The child has complained that he or she has nothing to eat at home. Again, talk to the parents before you call. My niece would claim there was nothing to eat at my sister's house, and really, she just didn't want to eat spaghetti, Hamburger Helper, chilli, you name it. Don't assume there is no food unless you KNOW there is not. Again, if you are unwilling to give the family food or direct them to a food pantry, you're free to call, but I think you're a shitty person for it, and so does most of the civilized world.
- The child has been spanked. With few exceptions, spanking is legal, even if you don't like it.
- The child is made to do chores, such as cutting the grass, gathering firewood, painting the house, etc. Chores also are not illegal, even if you wouldn't have your child do them.
Anyone want to add anything else to this helpful guide?
"Roger that. Over."
R A D I O H E I D