If your child showed up at school with a black eye

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Posted 2/6/2013 by benem in NSBR Board
 

benem
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Posted: 2/6/2013 11:32:43 PM
would the school automatically call child protective services?

What if the young child is mildly autistic, and the story was that he had a meltdown over a change in routine, flung himself on the floor and his face landed on a Lego? If you told the school that wouldn't they just accept that? Don't kids sometimes have accidents?

Don't ask me for more details bc I don't have them. The story sounds fishy to me but I don't have a 4 yr old child. I am just wondering if schools always call for these situations of if the story we (my mom and the rest of my family) got is missing some giant piece of information.


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amblet
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/6/2013 11:36:22 PM
My sons school did exactly that, called CPS because my son had a black eye. He had been hit in the face the day before with a swing at an after school program. He too is autistic. The worse part about it was that CPS called my oldest dd who was in high school at the time out of class and asked her what happened to her brother. She had no idea because she had been at her dads house the night before. She was so upset she came home in tears.




IleneTell
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Posted: 2/6/2013 11:36:50 PM
Mandated reporters (such as those who work with kids) are supposed to report anything they perceive as possible abuse. It's not their job to figure out if it's abuse or try to in investigate - all they have to do is report it, and then child protective services investigates. That being said, it's hard to believe that one incident with a logical explanation would immediately be perceived as abuse I would thunk it would take a lot more than that...some sort of signs that add p over time, or a significant incident that doesn't come with a believable explanation.

If they're not sure whether it's reportable (often any physical evidence such as a bruise is reportable), they can call up child protective services and give them an anonymous, "hypothetical" scenario, and then child protective services will let them know if they would want more info to file a report.

From the stance of the teacher, it's much safer to report and be wrong, than to not report...and be wrong.



*~*amanda*~*
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Posted: 2/6/2013 11:40:26 PM
I have 3 kids in 3 different schools (pre-K, 3rd grade at an elementary school, and 7th grade at a middle school) all in the same town and I don't think any of the schools would automatically call for that.

I used to teach at 3 different places and I never would have called for that situation alone.

2 of my 3 have had black eyes.
My 4 year old has had various spots on his head glued together 3 separate times.
My oldest has had 2 broken bones and my youngest has had 1 broken bone.
I cant count the number of times we've taken a kid in for something to be glued or stitched back together again.

There was a period of time about 2 years ago that the longest we went between ER visits was 5 weeks...in a 19 month time frame! That's pretty much once a month. It was a different kid each time, with a different injury.

We never had DCFS called on us and we were on a first name basis with the entire ER staff! They would even ask how the other kids were when Id show up with the one who needed 'fixed' that time!

I think schools and medical professionals take into account other issues than JUST an injury. I know that I did as a teacher, and there were a couple of time when I did have to report a family.



*~*amanda*~*
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Posted: 2/6/2013 11:45:03 PM

The worse part about it was that CPS called my oldest dd who was in high school at the time out of class and asked her what happened to her brother.

That's typical during an investigation. The case worker will speak to everyone in the family.

My xdh has reported me to DCFS on more than 1 occasion and every time the case worker has to document that she spoke to each of the kids, we provide references that she can call and ask about our parenting skills, she wants the kids' doctor's contact info and speaks to him. Its rather embarrassing and is a big to do. We're always cleared of any abuse or neglect in the end. Its to the point now where the case worker says she has to follow up on the report but not to worry, she knows its a bogus claim.

But definitely frightening for the kids to go through. The first time it happened to us my kids were scared for weeks that someone was going to come 'steal' them in the middle of the night and they'd never see me again.



benem
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Posted: 2/6/2013 11:56:34 PM
I guess my concern is that the child care provider gave the story about the Lego being the cause and I hope that is the case. But then DCFS was called and I don't know if they are called when there is no other evidence of any abuse. Or if there is more to the story.

Let's just say, I love my sister. I hate her life choices.


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*~*amanda*~*
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Posted: 2/7/2013 12:14:49 AM
Anyone can call DCFS for any reason at all, regardless of truth or not. My xdh has lied about stuff hes called DCFS with.

If they get a complaint they have to follow through on it.

In IL (I don't know if your sis is in IL also, but I know you are) not all complaints automatically equal an abuse/neglect investigation. Sometimes they will be a 'welfare' check. That means a case worker consults with the family and will offer services through the state such as counseling, intervention, medical assessments, etc.

I'm not 100% sure how they make the determination if its an abuse investigation or a welfare check.



Kelli/Mom
StuckOnPeas

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Posted: 2/7/2013 12:15:04 AM
When my oldest was in third grade, he came home FROM school with a black eye. He didn't know what happened. I talked to the school to see if someone there could clue me in. The school, in turn, called CPS. It didn't help that I had a black eye a couple of weeks before that (I'd been taking pictures, and the cord from the camera to the studio light got twisted, pulling the light down on top of me. I didn't see it coming because I was looking through the lens). CPS interviewed the oldest and went to my youngest child's preschool to interview him. Nothing ever came of it (I think it helped that my husband was out of town for my son's black eye). It was an incredibly stressful time!

When the youngest son was about two, he tripped on the concrete stairs leading up to the house and hit right on his nose. His whole face was swollen and bruised! I took him to the family doctor to have him checked out. It is a good thing it wasn't after hours because if I would have taken him to the ER, they would have surely called CPS. The idea of abuse didn't even cross the family doctor's mind.

Calls so often come down to judgements. Some people err on the side of caution, and other people are too reserved when it comes to reporting.

obsidian
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Posted: 2/7/2013 12:22:46 AM
It depends on the child. DS hurt himself at school so many times if he turned up with a black eye all the teachers asked was; what had he done now?

He always had done something.

But when DD turned up with a black eye from an infected bite that was a different matter. If there hadn't been obvious entry marks from the bite things might have got sticky.

No bruises on either of them right now. Touch wood.

VanC
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Posted: 2/7/2013 12:33:39 AM
I sometimes babysit a 3 year old boy with autisum. When he is frustrated he will headbutt the nearest wall. He's so fast it's hard to stop him at times. If he isn't wearing his helmet he's even knocked himself so hard he bounces onto his bum. The poor kid lives with a practically permament goose egg on his forehead.
I'd like to think CPS would be called every time a child had an unexplained bruise and a fishy sounding story from the adult in charge but the reality is that doesn't happen if the child has been labeled with an autisum diagnosis. My niece who works for CPS, has an awful case right now where the school ignored the signs but thank goodness the Scout leader didn't.


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Posted: 2/7/2013 12:39:39 AM
I think I'd make sure I informed the school so they didn't have to guess what happened. If the teacher knew the family, and believed the story was plausible, I doubt they'd call, but if they thought there was something odd about it, I'm sure they would.

ktNryansmom
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Posted: 2/7/2013 12:41:55 AM
As a mandated reporter we have to call if we suspect abuse.

It's not our job to investigate or check or decide --that's the job of CPS.


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Posted: 2/7/2013 4:56:48 AM
Kids get black eyes. They just happen. I got one falling 'up' stairs one. Yes...tripped and fell up them and felt like a klutz of epic proportion.

Each of my boys showed up to school with a black eye once...and I think twice for one of them.



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Maryland
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Posted: 2/7/2013 7:11:04 AM
I don't think so. I volunteer up at school and I hardly ever see kids with black eyes. I have three girls and they are very active and clumsy. One got a black eye because they were chasing each other around and she ran into the dining room table. She wasn't in school yet.

MerryMom937
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Posted: 2/7/2013 7:29:15 AM
I supervise a child abuse and neglect investigations unit and in most states, mandated reporters such as teachers and school personnel are required to report SUSPECTED child abuse or neglect.

So if anything about the injury and the information that the parent or child provided was concerning, then the school personnel are required to report it.

CPS's job is to decide whether to investigate the report made.
CPS's job is to determine whether the child was abused or neglected if the report was screened in.

ashazamm
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Posted: 2/7/2013 8:22:52 AM
For a four year old, I would think the mother had some sort of contact with the school, dropping him off? I know that's not every case but most pre-schools around here are private and don't have bus services.
My first instinct would be to explain to the teacher what happened when dropping him off or sending a note if he took the bus.

I had to bring my DD to pre-school with stitches and I explained what happened to her teachers.

benem
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Posted: 2/7/2013 8:50:51 AM
No my sister is the one who works full time. She leaves before the school bus comes to pick her son up for school. And she is in Missouri if that makes any difference.

Thanks for chiming in. I just wasn't sure if the school called bc there was some history that made soneone suspicious. I don't even know if a 4 yr old can get a black eye from landing on a Lego. But that's the story.


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Posted: 2/7/2013 8:51:31 AM
I think mandated reporters should use common sense, and that most do. My dd went to school with a black eye and bruised face. We were not reported, nor should we have been. Shit happens and kids do duck back into a car to grab at something just as the mom is pushing the car door shut.

I'd be suspect of the introduction of the Lego into the excuse. I've seen tons of kids have meltdowns and toss themselves onto the ground. So, I wouldn't think anything about that from kids who don't normally have issues. But a Lego is going to cause a cut or something if the kid hit his face hard enough cause a black eye. So, if that is part of the story, I'm taking a harder look...especially if that child or family has any other reason to cause me concern.

melanell
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Posted: 2/7/2013 9:04:25 AM
No one has even called me for an injury DS went to school sporting, *unless* he went to the nurse complaining about it.


If he did that then she'd call to let us know.


Kids get a ton of injuries all on their own or from other kids. Calling CPS on someone is not a small deal. I can't imagine doing it unless there was a lot more than one black eye to go on.




melanell
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Posted: 2/7/2013 9:06:29 AM

Anyone can call DCFS for any reason at all, regardless of truth or not. My xdh has lied about stuff hes called DCFS with.

If they get a complaint they have to follow through on it.



Ditto. I know someone who went though quite an ordeal because of that. Someone called while their child was with a friend. The person called about the friend. So both the friend's family and the child's family wound up involved in this mess and it all boiled down to someone being pissed off at the friend and thought this was a nice way to deal with that anger.



Frazzled Mom
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Posted: 2/7/2013 9:12:23 AM
As teachers, we're mandated reporters and have to report ANY suspected abuse.

The black eye, taken in context, may have been the last in a string of concerns that teachers had - you have to know the whole story. I think it's impossible for outsiders to know whether or not this particular report to CPS was justified from this isolated bit of information.



...and the story was that he had a meltdown over a change in routine, flung himself on the floor and his face landed on a Lego? If you told the school that wouldn't they just accept that?


Honestly, no, teachers don't just "accept" stories like that because abusers are very creative in the way they explain away injuries. Not to say that this is an excuse, but you'd be surprised to hear the stories we're told.


Gail

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Posted: 2/7/2013 9:25:59 AM
I would guess that my school would accept it and do nothing. We've had kids there for 20 years so they know us. There is no pattern that would lead to suspicion.

Kids get hurt. Our ped once said he knows the kids that get new Big Wheels. They have bruises in the same place. He also knew that we had hardwood floors instead of carpet by the bruises my learning-to-walk babies had on their legs.

People who work with kids can see through a lot of BS and develop pretty good instincts.





doesitmatter?
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Posted: 2/7/2013 9:45:03 AM
From 1 incident - I wouldn't think so.... But I can see that they would want to report any signs of abuse / injuries because they wanted want to be responsible for overlooking anything. Tough one.


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