Wednesday

Failing to Report and Reporting to Fail

I have previously written about how Child Protective Services (CPS) is not interested in mothers' reports of intrafamilial child sexual abuse. I have also recently written about how mothers are victimized in the system and put in a catch 22: Don't report the abuse and get charged with neglect or failure to protect, report the abuse and not be believed and have the court system continue to force the abuser into your life. Both of the catches result mothers losing their children. The first, to CPS/DCF/DFCS (Department of Children and Families or Division of Family and Children Services), the latter to the perpetrator/abuser.

In the Casey Todd case in Georgia (father beat and sexually assaulted his two month old daughter), the mother was said to be present, but asleep and thus ruled non-participatory. However, the child was taken into DFCS custody.

Why?

Could the mother not be supported in the comforting and healing of her own six-week-old baby?

What about attachment and bonding?

How can DFCS even have the word children in its name without adhering to standard knowledge about infants?

In the Leonard Michael Garza case in Texas (father fractured his infant's skull), the mother was absent at the time of the injury thus rendering her uninvolved. The mother reports that the father had a history of abusing her prior to this incident. Police arrest her for city warrants.

What about her five-month-old baby in the hospital?

In the Derek T. Hill Sr case in Illinois (father burned child with a cigarette, also put him in the dryer), the mother was not present because she worked during the day. However she was arrested on the same charge as the father for "knowing about the abuse but doing nothing to stop or prevent it."

What do we want mothers to do?

What if school officials told you that your child was suddenly acting out sexually--masturbating in public, putting a Barbie doll's face on a boy's genital area and talking about sucking her father's penis?

Any mother would be concerned, but what steps do you take when there is an accusation against your own husband, father of your children?

You get "professional help."

But what many mothers don't realize is that "professional" help comes in many flavors. You have to choose your "help" just as you would select a doctor, or purchase a car....Hard to do in an emergency situation.

And so in the therapist's office, your child draws her father as an erect penis, with legs. Two more therapists express concern about this sexualized behavior. Even people at the church overheard your child talking about father-felatio. What does everyone do?

Well, they are all mandatory reporters and thus must call this information into a state hotline. They can even make the call anonymously (at least in Florida). But instead they begin to look at you, the mother, for explanations. Yes, the focus becomes the mother. Never mind that this young child might be performing sexual favors for her own father, everyone wants to know what is wrong with the mother.

In four years of this behavior and professional help not one mandatory reported has reported.

What is wrong with this picture? What should a mother do?



See Also: Failure to Report vs. False Allegations