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Possible neglect in family

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Old 02-22-2004, 08:38 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Oklahoma
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Mommyof4 HB User
Possible neglect in family

Hi all... I need your advice on what to do with a family situation. I have one sister who is currently going through a divorce. Her children are 8 and 5. Her STBX lives out of town and sees the kids every other weekend. My mom and I pick the kids up from school and watch them various times due to her social schedule and work. She has been talking to a man online and they have met in person. She puts her best foot forward with him but he has no idea how things really are.

He kids have problems that, I believe, stem from the way they are treated by their parents. Their father doesn't care and leaves the kids with his sister on the weekends he has them. He does not call in between visits. Their mother is online all of the time, goes to school two evenings a week, and works during the day. She leaves them with me even on the weekends that she has them.

My Niece has been dealing with lice off and on for the past 14 months. I have been the one doing her treatments but they are not here on a consistent basis so I never get the chance to get ahead of the problem. When the kids need help with their work or need to study for something, my sister wants me or my mom to help them. My mom washes laundry and my sister wants to know why certain things for the kids werent washed. She doesnt spend time with them and orders dinner or they just eat a sandwich. My niece has had a cavity that hurts her for the past few months but my sister wont take time off of work to take her to the dentist. My nephew needs a new glasses prescription because he says he can't see with the current pair that he has but she wont take time off of work to take him to the eye dr. She yells at them and screams when she has to actually get up and do something for them. I also have to watch how much they are alone with my kids as they are just allowed to watch what they want as long as they are quiet and leave my sister alone. Then they come over "educating" my children. The education consists of words and phrases that I do NOT want my kids saying.

Various people that know both of us have said that I need to step in and do something for the kids but I dont even know where to start. I also worry that she will lie and make things look great but because I called, she wont let me see them. My niece is underweight and I have the same issues with my youngest son. I talked to my sister about getting her PediaSure to help. She wont do it and says that it is too expensive. She is NOT your typical single mom as my mother lives with her and pays most of her bills. The kids go to school in whatever they can find which may be too big or too small because she just doesnt pay attention to them.

My sister is mad right now because the school found out about the lice. She has to take my niece to a healthcare professional to be considered "nit free" before they will let her back in school. My sisters reaction when I called to remind her tonight was to get upset and say that no one had told her and that she would have to take off of work tomorrow to get this done. She used a few choice words in there as she had no idea.

She had human services called on her once before as her DH was an alcoholic and had put the kids in danger. She told her daughter, then 5, that she didnt need to tell the lady about the fighting because she would take her and her brother away. Surprise, My niece lied to save her family.... It goes beyond amazing!!! I would have nothing to do with her if it werent for her kids. I am afraid to do something drastic and end up on the losing end because that means that the kids end up the losers. She doesnt beat them but is guilty of spanking out of anger at times. The main concern is just blatant disregard for her children. I have talked to her about it but it just ends up in a fight. She tells everyone in the family that she is doing the best she can. She wont even hear of something the kids say about her as she just says they are lying to get attention.

Has anyone been through something like this? How do you handle it? It breaks my heart to see the kids go through this but I dont know what to do. Thanks for any advice
Mindy (Type 1 Dx'd 11/94..Insulin Pump)

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Old 02-22-2004, 09:27 PM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 445
ABC~Mom HB User
Re: Possible neglect in family

have you considered letting the children move in with you? or will she not allow that?
I think that this is a case of neglect, and her children deserve better child care, how wonderful of you to help out I donít know to much about these things but my mom was a foster parent at one time and I know just a little bit... if you brought this to the authorities the children would be taken from her custody (providing they saw the situation unfit for the children) and would find them a foster parent, and I have heard many cases of a relative taking the children in and the courts are usually more than happy to approve of this (because in most states foster parents are hard to come by) then there would her court dates and she might be given so long to "straighten up" (so to speak) and then get her children back, or if she cant then lose custody, in which case you could try for custody, but the children father would have know and (I think) sign over parental rights to you, and then you would become legal guardian of the children...however I donít know if (in this case) the authorities would find her unfit...because as you said lies can be told to make the situation appear what it is not, then you take a chance of losing contact with the children altogether, which is not good since you are providing them with so much attention...
this is a really hard situation, the only other thing I can think of is, maybe ...offer to let the children "stay" with you for a while till she can get through school or something to that effect? let her know that she is really trying and you would like to help out by doing this for is obvious that when they go to the fathers he wants to spend no time with them if they just end up at his sisters home anyway...
I know this would be hard to do, I mean say all that without bitting the end of your tongue off, but maybe for the children sake. and one other thing with the lice, when I was a young child I got it once form a boy I sat by in class and the doctor prescribed Lindane (sp?) it works at both killing and preventing the return of lice.
and about the things I said above I am not sure I have all of that exactly right but I am sure you could do a search on it for your state and get more acuate data.
I wish you the best of luck and I will keep you (and the precious children) in my thoughts and prayers

Last edited by ~Winnie~; 02-22-2004 at 09:33 PM.

Old 02-22-2004, 09:53 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Oklahoma
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Mommyof4 HB User
Re: Possible neglect in family

Thank you so much Winnie!! Another problem we have is that my mother is very codependant. This means that she keeps things afloat. She works two jobs and takes care of the kids most of the time. This makes her very angry so the situation isnt good for them to be with my mom all of the time either. But since she is like this, human services could walk in and the place would look fine. They wouldnt see the emotional abuse. They also wouldnt see all of the fighting between my sister telling my mom to stay out of her life and my mom telling my sister that she needs to think of her kids. In my sister's mind, she is a good mother and God gave these kids to her because he wanted HER to take care of and love them. She is one of those that is more in love with the IDEA of being a mother than she is with the reallity of it.

I am going to try to just keep them with me as often as possible. I wish I could do more as I can't get them into the Dr like they need or other things a legal guardian could do. She might let them stay with me more though if I ask her. She got the Lindane from the Dr and I put it on the kids' hair. The only problem is that my sister has it also and never wants to sit down so I can go through her hair. Then she is all upset and mad when I tell her the kids still have it. I have gone so far as to say that the kids couldnt come over here with it as I didnt want my kids getting it. That never lasts. Thank you for your prayers as we could really use them. Thanks again
Mindy (Type 1 Dx'd 11/94..Insulin Pump)

Old 02-23-2004, 07:50 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: desmoines iowa
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mommajessibelle HB User
Re: Possible neglect in family

I know from experiance that you can report to dhs and they cant release your name if you ask them not to. I had kinda similar problems with my oldest childs half sisters mother (if tha makes sense lol). I would deffanitly call I mean this is your niece and nephew you are talking abou and they as well as any other child like that deserve better. Another thing you could do is talk to thier teachers and see what they have to say they see these children every day too and they might be able to tell dhs what it is they see from these children on their end. I hate to see or hear of any child living like that it's not fair for the kids to have to go through and its not fair to you either. I hope this all works out for you and the kids.

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Melissa 9, Brandon 8, and MaeLynn 6

Old 02-23-2004, 06:25 PM   #5
Posts: n/a
Re: Possible neglect in family

Reading a story like this brings both tears to my eyes as well as pride and praise to you for all you do. I'm a single mother of a 6yr old daughter with severe ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and a great deal of anxiety and a 3 yr old daughter with very weak lungs who relies on a nebulizer to breathe. Last year I had a complete hysterectomy and I just turned 24. I have osteopenia and am post menopause. I also work full time and go to nursing school in the evenings. What I don't do is ignore my daughter's needs or wants, no matter how busy I am or how tired I am. I wish I had a social life, but that's only a wish. The reason I'm telling you these things is because I want you to know that there are many single moms with busier scheduals than I, but who wouldn't dream of putting their children in the situation your sister does. Please don't get me wrong, I'm saying nothing ill of her, just that no matter how hard things are, or how busy she is, her children should come first. I give you so much praise for what you do, and although she may not see it now, she will. Maybe keep a record in a journal as to when the kids come over, what's done or not done for them, the hours they're there..things like that. Keep this going and over time a pattern might appear. If you feel as though the children's welfare is in danger, follow your gut. She's your sister and I'm sure you wouldn't want to do anything to hurt or betray her, so keep the journal and after a couple weeks, think about showing it to her. If all sources are exhausted, you'll have it for human services if it comes to that. I hope I've been of some help. You're a good woman, a good mother, and buy what you've said, whether you see it or not, a wonderful sister, never mind a great aunt. Threre should be more people out there like you. Good luck to you. Blessed be..

Old 02-24-2004, 02:38 PM   #6
Posts: n/a
Re: Possible neglect in family

Could you adopt these children?

Old 02-24-2004, 05:24 PM   #7
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Location: Ottumwa, IA
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misty24 HB User
Re: Possible neglect in family

i think that you should call dhs or see if you can get the children. i feel that children are gifts form the good lord above and no child should be treated like that. i know how hard it is to be a single mother. i have two boys and left my x because he was getting to abusive. i could never imagine treating my kids like that so there is no reason for it. i feel that if someone dont step in now thing are going to get way out of hand and the children will end up being put in the system and no one will get to see them. I was in foster care when i was a child and i think that it will help the children. they need some one to be there all the time not when it is just convinient for the mother. i wish for you all the luck in the world, and i am sorry of what you and the children are going threw, but you can make it all come to a end, you just have to step in.

Old 02-24-2004, 06:44 PM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Crescent City, Ca
Posts: 313
momof3mjt HB User
Re: Possible neglect in family

The sad reality is that there isn't much you can do. Unless there is OBVIOUS physical abuse, most states do everything to keep the family together. A lot of times they will call before they come to check up on the parent time to make things "right".

The best thing you can do is BE THERE for the kids. My oldest sister was like this in many ways. We could only keep the kids as often as we could, and give them the best environment while they were with us. We made sure the kids KNEW that they could call us anytime, day or night, and we would be there, they could come to us with ANYTHING and we would do what we needed to do to help them. And we were there.

I am wondering if you have ever heard the word "enabling"? I know it is hard, I am guilty of it myself at times, but enabling her means you are helping her to be the person she is. When you are washing their clothes all the time, she KNOWS that you will do it, so she isn't going to. When you make the kids dinner all the time, she KNOWS you will take care of it, so she doesn't have to. Every part of parenting that you take the place of...that is one less thing she has to do for her kids. I know it is hard to do, BELIEVE ME! Especially when you see the kids going through this...but if you all keep doing everything for her, she won't have to do anything. Like taking them to the doctor's....MAKE her do it. Keep on her butt until it gets done. I had to do this many times with my sister. Her kids are older now, the relationship between us is still strained....but I would do it all over again for the kids!

Good luck to you!

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