My question involves child abuse or neglect in the State of: New York.
I have a 5 year old son, and 12 year old stepson. (Unofficial, his Father and I are engaged, have been for 8 years, have known 12 year old since he was 4.)
We were granted full custody of my 12 year old stepson two years ago, from his Mother.
Since then, my Stepson has been to two schools here. When he first moved here, we were in an apartment. We purchased a home and he now goes to school in our District, with plans to stay through graduation.
In his old school, he met with a counselor regularly regarding his family situation, but was deemed before this school year by the Board that he does not need any extra counseling, that he was functioning on all levels perfectly fine.
Although he has never been diagnosed by a Dr., my Stepson has what I believe to be anxiety, partially due to the way he was raised by his Mother, and just based on the fact that he lived with just her, and then moved up here to be part of a "family". He has never gotten used to becoming part of a family, and still demands loads of personal attention.
He never rec'd any discipline of any kind from her, and with no male full-time father figure, he was dealt with the best he could with her as far as time-outs, etc. He becomes anxious in social situations, and came to us with a severe lying problem, for fear of discipline of any kind. He cannot accept any attention unless it is positive attention, and is very demanding of my Fiance's time and watch as he can get off track very easily. ALthough his grades are excellent in school, he was lacking a bit socially last year. He has improved greatly. Please consider we also have a 5 year old, and both work full-time jobs.
He just started 6th grade, and is on an outside football league. He was having a hard time getting adjusted to the middle school, and was getting anxious easily when he cannot figure out problems, etc.. He complained that his shoulder hurt when he was not raising his hand in class to answer a question. The teacher sent him to the nurse because of this. THey asked if his Dad did this to him, he said no. He then came in with a bruise on his chin due to his chin guard from football practice about a week later. Again, sent to the nurse and asked if there was child abuse. He says no. It is almost like they set him up for this!
After being deemed no counseling was necessary, a Social Worker pulls him out of class and begins asking questions about home life. Does your Dad ever spank, etc. He says yes, sometimes...but most of the time, I have time outs, have toys taken away, etc. She tells him she meant to talk to his Dad about their meeting, but did not get around to it, and if he could tell him.
Now my Fiance becomes upset because they continue to pull him out of class for counseling, etc. when he was already deemed not do need it. His main goal is for him to have a normal education, and to be able to adjust better moving up to NYS. He calls and speaks to this woman who he thinks is the School Counselor and requests for his son not to be pullled out of class, he wants him there for an education, etc. He finds out later this woman was a social worker. She was rude with him on the phone, but said she would not pull him out of class any longer.
CPS shows up at our house a week later, with accusations against myself (I never discipline (spank) my stepson, and I very rarely spank my 5 year old, (can count on one hand since birth.) and my Fiance. We are not told, but we know it is the school who made the complaint, which is that my stepson is afraid that his father will "discipline" him if he is not 100% perfect, and has anxiety because of it . This gets blown out of proportion, coupled with the football injuries, that he is "beaten."
How can this be? If they look in his past records, it will show that he has social, emotional and anxiety issues? He is afraid of any kind of discipline, whether it be a good talking to, or having a video game taken away. He has had no discpline his whole life and is having a hard time managing it. He demands a lot of attention, as he is used to one on one from living with his Mother. We spend hours every night with him on organizational issues, scheduling, etc. He is misconstruing, or the school is, this extra time as demoralizing behavior. We are helping him stay focused by keeping on top of his school work!!
How can they turn this out of context??? They went to the boys' school and met with them, then came to the house.
I did not find out they met with the boys until after she left and the boys told me they met her at school---she never told us she went there, even after sitting at our house for two hours and talking to us.
My Fiance was the main "abuser" , but I was listed as a person in the house, and so was our 5 year old son.
We spoke about counseling, and how if my stepson is deemed necessary for counseling, we would prefer outside counseling, becase being pulled out of class for school counseling is making his anxiety even worse! Even though the Board mentioned he does not need any, we still left is as an option. She agreed with this, and agreed with the things the program (to follow) the school placed him in is making him worse. He was also placed in a program which nobody told us about, for organizational skills where he has to have a sheet signed by every teacher, twice a day, with a rating of 0, 1 or 2 (best) based on attitude, being prepared, having all their pens, behavior in class, preparedness, etc. But for other kids who are not in this program, forgetting a pen or homework assignment, is not mentioned to the teacher or the counselors. HE is being singled out!
This is making his anxiety worse! He knows he has to have that sheet signed and is afraid of the consequences if he does not. (From school or at home.---can be yelled at by teacher, even get detention) Even for forgeting a pen in his locker! He just started a new school, and is not accustomed to his surroundings yet. He is chastized, via this form if he is not 100%. He does not want to be labeled, and we do not either.
We received a letter from NYS this past weekend, a few days after meeting with the CPS worker who checked the boys' room, our fridge, and said she would send us some outside counseling information for my Stepson, and that for the next 60 days they would drop by and check on us, etc. It notes that we were "indicated" in a complaint. I called her the next mornign and just wanted to confirm the complaint, etc. and she mentioned they were great kids, she would be sending us some information on counseling, etc. Then we received the letter.
What does this mean?? Does this mean we were found guilty?? How can they do this to us?? Neither one of the boys have ever, ever had a mark on their bodies from abuse, (football injuries on my stepson, yes.) How do I approach the school? We have a meeting scheduled today at 4:00 with the Principal of his school, but after receiving this letter this weekend, we think we are going to cancel before talking to a layer. Nobody from his school has ever contacted us, before this, to mention my Stepson's behavior, or school work. All efforts to find out information about the special program, counseling, etc. were made from us calling the school for follow up. We are not supposed to know legally who made the complaint either, and nobody told us---but we know this is school related based on the instances that occured.
What should I do? What should we do?? This is a completely false allegation, and how can caring about your children's well-being be considered neglect??? All we do is try to keep him focused, on task, and to be the best he can be.
We are so upset and it is ripping our family apart, we just do not know where to turn ...
Sorry this is so long, but it is a kind of complicated story. Thank you for reading...any advice would be helpful.