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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mandated Reporting. . .And a Broken Heart

Silhouettes Of ChildWhen we lived in England, we discovered a strange thing.  If you home-schooled your children, you were regarded VERY suspiciously.  I'm not talking the mild "your kids won't get enough socialization if home-schooled" rubbish you can sometimes encounter in the States.  I mean hard core "are you trying to hide abuse" kind of stuff.

If you add in Christianity (only 7% of those in the UK identify themselves as practicing Christians and less than 1% regularly attend services), you're further solidified as a depraved looney.

If you're vegetarian on top of it all, well, HECK!!  Look out!

Dear friends of ours were actually targeted by social services in the UK for these three things.  No sign or allegation of abuse.  No one had reported them or noticed anything untoward.  But, somehow, social services learned that there was a home-schooling Christian family who eschewed meat!  Clearly a cause for alarm!  It was a horrible ordeal for them and it was so hard to watch.

Back here in the States, those things that our friends were 'targeted' for are typically looked on with some form of respect.  None of them may be for you, but you at least appreciate those who do hold those values/beliefs.

So we thought we were on safeish ground when we recently found ourselves having to report some pretty serious abuse that one of our children had seen and received at a residential facility.  As former foster parents, we understand the concept of Mandated Reporting (reporting to protective services anything that even SMELLS of child abuse) very well.  We've never made a report of any kind before, but we sure do know how and why the system works and what we're required to do.

In short, we expected that our report would be respectfully taken, investigated, and either substantiated or dismissed based on the evidence.

That doesn't seem to be happening.

Not only were we mocked for making a report (What are you talking about? That place is awesome! I've been there myself!) and condescended to (are you sure you know what you're reporting?), but we made the report two weeks ago and have yet to hear from anyone.  Our child has not been interviewed or even checked on, despite being on the receiving end of some dodgy stuff.  We have not been contacted by social services, the police, or anyone at all.  In fact, nothing seems to have been done regarding our report as far as we can tell.

We're heartbroken.  And a bit angry.

Certainly for our child, who not only needs closure, but also has to deal with the trauma that's clearly occurred, but also for the other kids involved.  I'm laying awake wondering if our report was taken seriously and whether those other children are still in danger.  Awful.

So I guess my belief that the US was slightly ahead of the UK on the whole Children's Protective Services topic was slightly flawed.  They're erring in different ways, perhaps, but erring nonetheless.

I hate it when I'm this kind of wrong.

  (Image Courtesy of pulicdomainpictures.net and can be found here)

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