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  1. #1

    Default False Accusations to CPS by School

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Sterling, Virginia

    Default Re: False Accusations to CPS by School - Step

    This is all standard operating procedure for CPS. I advise you to get a lawyer NOW and do not talk to anyone else without your lawyer.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Toledo, OH

    Default Re: False Accusations to CPS by School

    Concur with LanceBabe. You should not speak to CPS without your attorney present - if for no other reason than to have a pro there to explain to you what is going on, and keep any overzealous social workers in line.

    In defense of CPS, they are required by law to thoroughly investigate every single complaint and document their investigation. They see so many cases of horrific abuse, that it's really easy for them to develop the mindset that if you're getting CPS sicced on you, then you MUST be doing something wrong.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: False Accusations to CPS by School

    You need to be talking to a lawyer who understands education law. It sounds very much like your son would benefit from an individualized education plan (IEP) that's a lot less ad hoc than the one the school is pursuing (if they've even formalized a plan). From what you are stating, and what you've described, it sounds like your son's emotional difficulties will qualify him for an IEP. Once in place, if it's a decent plan, it puts the onus on the school to start meeting his needs.

    Without having read the letter, it seems to me that "indicated" may mean nothing more than that - a complaint was made, and they're following up on it. You asked for information on outside counseling, so they're providing it. They're also indicating that they're going to follow up, I would assume to be sure that you're following through with the counseling and to take steps appropriate to help the child handle his anxiety and related issues.

    In New York, I expect you'll be able to find a lawyer who handles education law issues, and who is also familiar with the CPS reports that are sometimes associated with problems at school, so you may be able to address all of these issues in a single consultation and, if necessary, by hiring only one lawyer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: False Accusations to CPS by School

    Indicated means they found a reason to be concerned. It does not mean they are going to take your children. Do get a lawyer, CPS is too powerful to fight alone. It is better to have a lawyer and never need her than to need a lawyer and not have one.

    Also, it does sound like your son needs an IEP. Getting an IEP doesn't give your son his issues, it helps to address them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: False Accusations to CPS by School

    I am not familiar with NYS laws re: IEP's however, I am fairly certain the child will need a formal diagnosis of some sort of developmental disorder before the school will initiate formal testing as to whether or not the child needs specialized services of which would fall under the category of an IEP. However, a 504 plan may be workable if the child is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, ADHD or other similiar conditions. OP, have you spoken to the child's doctor in ref. to his seemingly anxiety issues? This may be a good place to start along with setting up some consults with a couple of different specialized attorneys. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: False Accusations to CPS by School


    A child does not need an outside dx to get special education services. That would be the point of the school's evaluation. In fact, an outside dx can get you a 504 without an additional eval from the school but to get an IEP, the school must evaluate the child in all suspected areas of negative educational impact. (After the schools eval, if the parent disagrees they can ask for an IEE paid for at public expense or they can --at any time-- also have an eval done privately.)

    A 504 has no teeth. An IEP is far more enforceable and will provide more protections and services.

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