Saturday

Advice Sought on non-nanny issue....

Received Saturday, November 10, 2007
I need some advice. I am a SAHM that Volunteers at my sons school a few days a week. I have come to know several kids in his class, one in particular, that my son is really fond of. He is 7 y.o. and an adorable kid. I met his mom only once. Here's my problem: A few days ago my son asked me, "why does Billy (not real name), have bruises on the back of his legs and on his back ?" I told him I didn't know why, and gently prodded for more info. The next day I came in to Volunteer, and 'Billy' was one of the kids I was supposed to work with. (I teach smaller groups of children that need a little extra help because they are behind the rest of the class). I was surprised at how open Billy was. He stated to me that he was hungry, and that the only time he gets to eat is in the school cafeteria, and that his mom never goes grocery shopping. Being a little shocked, I asked him, "what do you do on the weekends?", and he said, "sometimes she'll buy me a hamburger at McDonalds." I asked, "is that all you get to eat? You don't have any other food in your house?" He said, "no". He also told me he didn't have a Daddy. He seemed starved for affection, attention, not to mention food. I talked to his Teacher yesterday and mentioned that she had a kid in her class that might be having problems at home, but stopped short of telling her who. I don't know why. I'm sure most of you are probably going to tell me that I need to tell his Teacher, but I'm not sure how. It is hard because everyone there knows me and I don't want to cause trouble for me or my son. I am not completely sure he is being hit, but there is definitely something going on, if nothing else other than neglect. I wonder why this kid isn't eating. If it's because of financial reasons, there are all sorts of programs where I live that can help, so that shouldn't be an excuse. What should I do? And please don't flame me, I am trying to help this sweet kid.

93 comments:

nynanny said...

that is so sad! can you call child protective services and ask to be anonymous and tell them what you've seen and heard? i applaud you for trying to help this poor little boy, but you need to take it a step further and let someone else know what you know. good luck and please keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Please, please advocate for this child! If you don't, there may be no one else who notices. It would be best if you personally called CPS but if you tell the teacher she is a mandated reporter. If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. And if nothing is wrong, then no harm is done, CPS will just take a look and move on. So please report this.

Anonymous said...

Please call CPS and tell them what he told you. If he was really open with you chances are he will be with them too. This child deserves something better than this and deserves to eat. Maybe he has another family member that would be better for him to live with? The bruises may just be normal kid stuff but the eating definitely is not.

Anonymous said...

It is totally understandable that you want to proceed with caution. The boy is only 7 years old, and it is difficult to evaluate what he is telling you or omitting to tell you. I would say the way to go is child protective services. You might tell the teacher, though, or perhaps someone at the school is specifically attuned to this problem. Good luck with everything.

heather said...

All of these comments are great and spot on, but with the exception of nynanny, none of you has the courage to identify yourself on an anonymous board? Knowing you can choose any handle you want? And yet you are trying to impress upon a person in real life to get involved and get out there? Kind of hypocritical, isn't it anonymous 1, anonymous 2 and anonymous 3?

How hard is it to hit OTHER and choose a moniker? This anonymous commenting is pathetic.

erics mom said...

Call up protective service. Tell them you want to remain anonymous. Just mention you are concerned about a student named so and so, at your sons school. And describe what concerns you.

Anonymous said...

Ita w/ everyone on this. Call and report it. If you dont know where he lives they as long as you give the school name and class they will go check it out. And like 9.34 said, if its nothing, they will move on..

Sarah said...

Please please please stand up for that poor kid. Maybe he is saying it outloud in hopes that someone will help him! This is absolutely wrong what his "mother" is doing. You really need to put yourself and your son aside and talk to the counselours or principle at the school. This is one more child who has an opportunity to a better life, it isn't fair of him to live like this.

In the case where he is making it up for attention... a child advocate will see that and address whatever psychological issues may come up. Please tell the principal if you can though... go all the way to the top.

Denise said...

I was that kid. It got worse when I got a little older because the only reason I got to eat at school is because I got "free lunch" which became a whole new torment to accept in front of my peers. I wouldn't eat for a week sometimes. I had a LOT of problems @ home, looking back I know that everyone noticed but NO ONE helped me. People who don't feed their children in this day in age are one of 2 things or both- addicted to drugs/alcholic or mentally ill. That child's position is DIRE- what's more important here- your fears or a child's well-being? Enough said- be the someone who does SOMETHING and don't stop till that child is helped.

Mom said...

I have raised three kids past the age of normal bumps and bruises. Although it is possible for a kid to occasionally bump his back during play (and I mean rarely)...I don't remember bruises on the backs of their legs at all. I'm sure kids do get bruises there all on their own sometimes...but if he has had them more than once, or if there are multiple bruises at one time, there is very little doubt in my mind that somebody is hitting him there...hard. It's not an easy place to bruise.
I understand your concerns about revealing your identity. I also worked as a volunteer in my kids' school regularly, just as you describe. I know how it works in the schools. And I get a little fearful in "crossing" a person who may be violent, or have little to no regard for the law. It may sound selfish, but these days you also have to be realistic.

I would, however, speak frankly with the teacher, also sharing your concerns about your privacy. I would also send a very specific letter (anonymously if you wish..I would go that route myself at first and see where it went)to the school principal, the superintendant of your school district, the head of the education agency that oversees the public schools for your entire state, your local police department, Child Protective Services, and any other agency you think might do something. Many of these people have a duty to report, so this should get immediate attention.

GO get a book called, "A Child Called 'IT'" Read it and you will never want to err on the side of caution when it comes to potential child abuse. The school "watched and documented" this exact same kind of stuff for years while the child suffered horrifically until action was finally taken. Starving, beatings, emotional abuse, and far worse. Every day of that child's life was a living hell. Every single day matters.

Anonymous said...

Heather 10:53

Absolutely, CPS should be told, ASAP. I personally would not involve the school, except as a last resort - teacher response may vary greatly depending on the age and experience of the teacher, no matter what the law says. I would also follow up with CPS to make sure the case doesn't get lost.

Regarding your complaints about anonymous posters, Heather, don't you get it? People who choose "any handle" are ALSO anonymous - particularly if they choose a different name each time.

Who cares? You have absolutely no way of knowing who's writing on the Internet unless they volunteer a whole lot more (true!) information than just a first name.

Demanding that people use a name doesn't change things one bit - you may feel better, but you still don't have a clue who's writing. Everyone's anonymous, including you - some of us just say so up front.

Anonymous said...

Well said, 2:37. Just how much info is there in a moniker?

Mom said...

You are right that there is no credible information that can be gained by having everybody use a moniker. But it would make it more fun if we all chose a name and stuck with it. Then we could sort of get to know the personalities of one another, and the haters might think twice before they type.
I personally am a 49 year old 450 pound naked man posing as a loving, thirty-something mother of three, with long legs, thick lustrous hair and perky breasts.
(only kidding!)

Joanna said...

You should either tell "Billy's" teacher and have her call CPS or you should do it, like someone else said, YOU need to this child's advocate. He trusted you and told you what was going on. Maybe he was so open about it because things at home have gotten so bad that he is just looking for a way out. Do not let this little boy down.


Honestly why are people worried about people using an anonymous name when we are supposed to be discussing a child that is possibly being beaten and starved? Do you people have no heart?

Helaine said...

I agree with Heather.
You are telling this woman to do x and y which means she needs to get involved and yet you cannot even get involved enough to pick a moniker.

This woman should call CPS. She has enough information since she knows where the child goes to school.

With regard to anonymous postings- it just looks silly. It isn't about being truthful and giving away your identity, it is about daring to set yourself apart from the pack. Given that you can choose any name you want and it doesn't have to reveal anything about you, I think it is incredibly odd that a bunch of anonymous posters are telling the OP, "Yes, you must do this and this and this".

Anonymous said...

tell the teacher because she is a mandatory reporter and can give you advice while making sure you stay anonymous

Hoopie said...

If the mom who first posted had not wanted advice or suggestions, she would not have posted in the first place. And frankly, despite certain posters saying "Yes, you must do this and this and this," it is still up to her. She can do as she wishes.
It is so typical of this and many other boards that a discussion involving a serious issue devolves into nattering about another topic which is completely off the point, not to mention pointless.
That being said, when I was about 10 years old,
my family lived next door to a family with two little girls, a four year old and a two year old. Although both little girls lived in squalor, it was obvious that the mother favored her older daughter and reserved her abuse, both verbal and physical, for the two year old. My family, shamefully, did nothing because in the late fifties and early sixies people rarely reported child abuse to the police - even if they acknowledged it as child abuse at all.
Many years later, the younger daughter, now grown up and the mother of her own child, was arrested as an accessory to murder. She was a drug addict who had let her own drug addict boyfriend beat her daughter to death.
Perhaps I am being melodramatic but what if one anonymous call to Child Protective Services could make a huge difference in the life of a little boy now and in the future?

Anonymous said...

You are not being at all melodramatic. And people living in squalor are not the only ones who need help. Who do you think is reaching across the gilded gate to help a child who is being sexually abused by her millionaire father or emotionally amused and provided liquor by her millionaire mother?
Everyone is afraid. America is a nation of cowards. I came here as an au pair and ended up leaving that position after two months and taking a position with a very wealthy family. The things that went on behind those closed doors would shock you and you would never guess. Not that I can tell you, I signed a 4 page non disclosure agreement and although I quit the job on account of not being able to bear witness to the mistreatment of the children, I am here illegally and have been threatened by my former employers.

Anonymous said...

Weird, I read your post and immdiately thought of the book "A Child Called It". Then I saw someone else posted about it too. I would contact a social worker in your school or school district, the principal, the teacher and anyone else who will listen. I would also call child protective myself and speak to someone there. I understand you don't want to be the one to 'sick' protective services on the family, but maybe you can make an anonymous report.

Anonymous said...

The ONLY reason ANYONE on here would want to know who is speaking is that you are NOSEY! I am revealing that I was severely abused- a fact that almost NO ONE knows and I'd like to keep it that way! I know the man who wrote A Child Called It, the only diff is Dave was saved, I was not- and had to endure unspeakable abuse because NO ONE did ANYTHING! When I was a Pre K teacher and I saw a little boy in my class go from happy to withdrawn and then saw a distinct handprint shaped bruise on his little bum (he was still potty training and I had to be in BR w/him) I did not hesitate to call the authorities. CPS arrived at the school by the time the mother came to pick him up! Turns out the boyfriend of the mother thought it was his place to spank this poor child and who knows what else?

Also, vitamin deficiency (from not eating?) can cause you to bruise easily. This child cried out for help- and he is waiting for help---- each day that goes by, it's the weekend, he likely hasn't eaten since 12pm FRIDAY! HE'S HUNGRY! HOW COULD YOU JUST SIT THERE AND CONCERN YOURSELF WITH CONTEMPLATING RESCUEING HIM? WTF?! I don't get it! I really do not get it. I'm disgusted.

Anon Emuss said...

The bruises may be another sign of malnutrition, rather than physical abuse. Either way it is a possible abusive situation. Also, not to downplay the situation, but some kids tell tall tales on a regular basis. Whatever, whatever. You MUST do something rather than nothing.

gv said...

suggested monikers for those people who are so concerned that their created moniker will lead to the revelation of their true identity:

Horse
Texas
Tom Jones
Tostada
Q-Tip
George
Lola
Chocolate Chip
Speaker
Blanket
Fatty
Slim
Jose
Petunia
Lilac
Esmerelda
Ditch Witch
Choo Choo
chonkla
peter
Helmet Head
Sally
Word Girl
Safety
Kotex
Candle

Do you get it yet?

VERY anonymous said...

Heather and Helaine,

You gals are funny. Since I am picking the miniker "VERY anonymous," am I now qualified to tell OP to get involved?

Denise said...

GV- I think we can ALL do without you dictating how anybody does anything- who the hell r u? The freaking comment police? There is a more important issue at hand- get a fuc*ing life!

Anonymous said...

OP here ~
Thank you so much for all of your advice. I hadn't thought to go straight to CPS, as I figured his Teacher was obligated to do it once I told her what I knew. The problem there is, I'm not so much worried about my identity, but my son. He's innocent in all of this, and this is his friend. I wouldn't want him involved like that. I know I can remain anonymous if I report it to CPS, so that is what I'll do. I am going to the school Monday to see if I can get more info. Sometimes CPS will sweep stuff under the carpet, and I just want to make sure I report everything I can. One poster mentioned something about a "gut feeling", and I know it's more than that. And sadly, I don't believe he is making it up either. I didn't want to post too much info. about his mom, but let's just say when I met her ... she seemed somewhat 'off'. I got a sinking feeling when I read your post Denise, because I'm afraid that might be what is going on here.

Anonymous said...

to 6:11
I don't see anybody else but me trying to help this kid. Could you please not make me feel any worse than I already do?

Denise said...

I'm 6:11 and honestly I don't care too much about hw YOU feel? I'm thinking you shouldn't either. I'm giving you blunt harsh reality from the point of view of the child you are thinking about helping- I feel bad for HIM. DO SOMETHING.

mom said...

OP, Don't take it personally! There are people on here who will find a way to bash the OP every time, NO MATTER WHAT. It's truly not personal.

I think most reasonable people can relate to your post with compassion, and I personally have no doubt that you are going to do all you can to help this child as soon as the relevant agencies open up on Monday morning. And you seem like the kind of mom who is going to follow up too.

Thanks for caring!

Sue Doe-Nim said...

The moment you become a mother you are obligated to care for children in your path.

Go back and tell the teacher and ask for a meeting with the principal as well. They are required to report.

If you are afraid imagine how that child feels.

It is your duty to help children live in a safe world, do not mistake this for an option or a good deed. This is what adults do.

Please go do your job. Be a mother who is part of a community.

Anonymous said...

Children's Protective Services never reveals the identity of the person who makes the report.
Even if there is no abuse involved, they will see that the family gets the social services they need. The mom may not realize what is available, or be ashamed to ask for help.
I would contact them directly, rather than trying to get the school to act.

denise said...

Listen OP, I understand you are trying to help this child- It's just with each new post I can't help but to view from his eyes and frankly I'm getting anxious! You do sound like you plan on doing something- thanks you. Please do follow up to ensure everything in your power has been done as often people relieve their conscience with the initial call and then retreat into a shell of denial and tell themselves they tried. NO ONE is interested in WHO blows the whistle- CPS. the school, will all be more than happy to let you remain anon. I don't even see that as an issue? I don't understand while people still don't get that?

I don't mean to make you feel worse- I just prioritize my sympathies.

cali mom said...

OP, I am glad you're contacting CPS. Please do it IMMEDIATELY. I don't see why there was ever any question of whether or not you should do so.

Au pair at 6:06, a non disclosure form cannot include hiding illegal activities for anyone. Giving alcohol to and abusing children ISillegal and you can probably report in anonymously.

gv, get over yourself. Who cares why someone posts anon all the time? I've often posted anon on other forums partly because I think once you've attached a name to yourself, people tend to suddenly focus on that name and NOT so much on what you are saying. If they didn't like one of your posts they will automatically slam or discount EVERY post you make from then on, no matter what you said. why I decided to start using a name here, I don't know. But to each their own. Plenty of valid reasons not to always use the same name.

Anonymous said...

OP here ~
Denise
I am not asking for any sympathy from you. Strangely enough, it was your post at 12:58 that made me realize this was possibly more serious than I had thought. I don't understand why you would then post ANONYMOUSLY, such an ugly post directed at me afterwards ... doesn't make sense. I came here for advice, and I feel as if I got some great advice, but directing all of your aggression towards me does nothing but piss me off. If I had NO intention of helping this kid, I would have never written in for help. I was lucky that he confided in me, and I DO plan on doing something.

Sue Doe-Nim said...

Hey OP

I think it's highly charged for a lot of people. I've never been an abused child but I suspect more than a few people here have.

I suspect (and I may be wrong) that people revert to their childlike behaviors here because the thought of real abuse terrifies them.

And it should.

So we're all very pleased that you're going to do something.

I'd challenge you to get off the computer, pick up the phone and do it now.

Maybe not wait until Monday.

Or maybe you should think about your own son not eating tonight.

Because, OP, that boy deserves dinner and you calling CPS might be the only way someone will feed him.

Anonymous said...

You need to reveal the name to the teacher- she is mandated by law to report any suspicion of abuse or neglect. This kid needs someoneto stand up for him. Be brave, you are doing the right thing.

denise said...

well I don't think I was nasty, but I can see how you didn't like what I had to say. I think that when I read your posts you came across in a way that rubbed me wrong? Hard to explain why but perhaps you could put yourself in my shoes? I don't get why you had to even think about this. Kind of like the person who sees smoke and drives right by the fire and for the next few miles wonders if they should call 911 or go try to help? I just hope you don't wake up the next day to hear that fire burned a home to the ground and no one was saved. And I don;t hold that hope for YOUR sake. Also the fact that my post said anon. was a mistake btw. I'm sure you will do something at this point and that's all that really matters.

Deb said...

ACtually, if you notice something like that, it is your obligation to mention it to the school, and they are REQUIRED to at least have CPS come check it out. I am on the PTA so maybe thats why I feel more comfortable, but with my sons school being a TITLE 1 school with low income students there, its impossible not to keep an eye out!

I really enjoyed your blog, come stop by mine anytime!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I am in the same position. There is a little girl at my son's school who is always unkempt. Her caregiver is always brushing her hair (violently, I might add) right before she goes into the schoolyard. The other day I witnessed said caregiver whack the little girl across the back of the legs with the hard plastic brush - not to mention that she was wearing shorts in 40-degree weather. The girl always has a petrified look on her face.

I asked my son her name, and lo and behold, this is the girl who he tells me every day is in trouble in class. I absolutely intend, first thing Monday morning, to talk to the teacher; she may not be aware that this little girl's behavior is related to abuse. Perhaps we can come up with a solution together. I WAS that little girl; I see myself in her. While the trials I endured growing up made ME strong, there is no need for any child to go through that. I also asked my son to make an effort to reach out and be nice to her (he knows what I went through as a kid).

On another note, I haven't read all of the comments, but I know some touched on Heather's opinion of using "anonymous" as their moniker. As for my two cents, Heather, some people just don't want their identities tied to things. Take it from someone was Googled and whose Internet writings were brought out in divorce court...nothing bad, just intrusive - and eye-opening. I am now very careful about what I take credit for on the web.

Alex said...

I agree with most and CPS should be called. I think I would go to CPS over the teacher or both and make sure they follow up. If you go to both then you will report it AND the teacher will for the same child. The bruises may be because he doesn't eat but either way the child needs to eat and have a better chance.

To 10:24, why don't you call CPS too? , instead of just the teacher. If you know her name maybe you can find her address or something and give it to CPS. You can always stay anonymous. These kids deserve a better chance.

Oh & who cares if people post anonymously, sometimes it's just easier. And I agree people can write in a different name everytime so that good does that do? It does make it fun knowing who is writing but who is to say that someone won't take someone else's name? What really matters is the post at hand that we are supposed to be commenting on and helping.

Anonymous said...

CPS should be called. They are not going to involve your son. The child being neglected and potentially abused told you about the food situation- that is MORE than enough for CPS to act. They will try to help the family, they will keep an eye on things, and if there is a need- they will find a relative to take the child at least for awhile. That poor boy needs help, he is reaching out, and that's not easy to do since he is probably being threatened at home that he'll be in trouble if he tells anyone. For him to take that risk shows the dire need for action to be taken. Please, call CPS directly. You can do it anonymously. You should mention the bruises, you don't have to say it was your son that notice- just alert them to it so they know to check. The teacher has a lot of children to keep track of, a lot going on. Do not expect her to figure it out if she hasn't yet. The school year has gone on for months and she hasn't. Take action. The attitude that somebody else will notice is the most dangerous attitude that exists in our world today. Always waiting for somebody else to take the lead. Don't, they likely won't. And even if they do, that just makes the case stronger.

CASA Worker said...

OP- you SHOULD involve the school- 2 reasons. 1st: a mandated reporter's call will carry more weight than and anonymous one and 2nd, 2 reports will be taken more seriously than one. You are in a great position to discreetly ask the boy at a later date if things are getting better and in the event they are not- to keep calling and re-reporting until CPS has enough info./proof to assist that family and help that child.

Meme said...

Bottom Line. This child needs help NOW. Call CPS, involve the school...whatever you have to do. Do it NOW.

i got the apple! said...

OP, I agree with the last few posts, your best bet at truly saving this innocent child is to not only call CPS, but also involve the school! Please, don't just do one or the other (just because someone is "obligated" to do something doesn't mean they always will!) If you also call you will ensure at least one call is made, and best case scenario, two reports are made! Who knows maybe some day this little boy will look back and remember you as being the first person who cared enough to do something and in turn saved his life! I've seen way too many people in my life look the other way, and sweep it under the rug (including other teachers and people in authority) please be one of the few people worthy of feeling true peace when you go to fall a sleep at night, knowing that you did the right thing. You can report anonymous to CPS, and of course they will not involve your son (that is in fact illegal) as the abuse has nothing to do with your son. Please do the right thing, do not wait, call first thing Monday morning and please keep us updated!

Anonymous said...

call CPS immediately.

if you suspect the child is being abused, call.

Its better to be safe than sorry.

Do not ask the child anything else, or the parent might bring up in court (if it goes that far) that you and the teacher possibly prodded him into saying such things.

Pick up your phone, and call NOW

Anonymous said...

You could call the child welfare services on your own. As long as you report in good faith you should be fine.

Texas said...

Here in Tx it is in the law, teachers must report suspected abuse of any kind. Not feeding the kid is abuse as well as the potential hitting issue.

Anonymous said...

Its your duty , lawfully as a teacher Aide, by law, to report to law enforcement or social worker suspected child abuse.

Issues of Female Disabled Veterans said...

I am a mother of three grown children. For a short while, I was babysitting a child similar to the one you describe (he was about 3 or 4). At the time, I alerted my children's doctor and they, in turn, contacted Child Welfare for me.

However, times have changed in the last 20 years. The law is now that if you even THINK a child is being abused, it is YOUR responsibility to turn the information over to the authorities.

In fact, I live in an apt. and I recently did the same thing. Here's my suggestion. Since the child is in school, contact the school nurse. You can tell the teacher, but chances are, she'll have to tell the nurse.

If your school has what we call here in rural NH as a "resource officer," (a 'friendly' policeman assigned to the school), tell him, too.

When you get home, look up the child abuse hotline number (most cities have the emergency number in the front of the phone book). You can make anonymous calls, and you don't even need to know stuff like address and phone number. Just tell them as much as you know; for instance, the school, grade, teacher, etc.

If, for some reason, your city or town doesn't have one, call the hotline in your next local town or large city. You can even e-mail anonymously to your police department--they are also responsible for taking care of these situations; including contacting child protective service.

Please, believe me. I waited before calling (on my neighbor) but as soon as I did, I felt so much better. As long as you know you've done all you can, the weight of the world will be lifted off your shoulders.

However, please let me caution you. Don't exaggerate, and don't make "any" and "never" statements unless, for instance, you are telling them that your son says something like "the little boy never brings anything for lunch."

There is always the possibility that there is another side to the story, and it isn't your intent to cause trouble, only to make officials away of a potentially dangerous situation.

Lastly, if you feel comfortable doing so, explain to your son what a "safe house" is--and let him tell the little boy that if he is ever scared to go home, or scared at home, that he can call or come over to your house. If you are not familiar with the term, it means that your house is open in case someone (in this case, the child) needs refuge. It does not mean you "kidnap" the child and not let him go home. If, in this instance, the child came from school because he was frightened to go home, I would call the police and have them come to talk to the child in the safety of your own home--they could then accompany him home and assess the situation.

Again, if you feel so inclined, tell your son that if the little boy is hungry and needs to eat, that you can make an extra sandwich for him.

I know this is a lot, and I've been doing it for several years, but there are always other things to take into consideration, such as medical issues (is he on a structured diet), allergies (does he consider "not eating" to mean he can't have ice cream and potato chips, etc.)

Do what you can, and then step back. Everything happens for a reason; one way or the other, you've helped in a big way.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
Non-nanny related questioner,

I am a teacher certified to teach grades K-12. I have extensive early childhood experience and chose to work as a nanny after college for 2 years for different families. I am also the happy parent of a wonderful 14 year old boy. Here are my recommendations/thoughts:

Call the Department of Social and Human Services anonymously and fill them in...they will check it out and you will remain anonymous.

The bruises COULD be from a rare disease called Henoch Scholein Purpura. I had that disease myself in April of 2006, that is why I mention it. That disease causes what look like bruises because the smallest blood vessels are poking little holes into themselves. It is an immunological disorder.

IF it is that, it appears that this child is being neglected in other areas, so he probably isn't getting the medical attention he needs. I had to switch doctors to get the proper diagnosis. A neglectful parent isn't going to make that same effort.

Another tack you could use IF you knew the mom, which it sounds like you don't, might be to call and ask her if it is true that she only feeds him McDonald's on the weekends (for instance). That might get her to step up her game.

It sounds to me, though, that calling the Dept. of Social and Human Services (or whatever it's called in your area) would be the best bet.

I hope it works out for you, and especially for the child involved!

Take care,
A Fellow Mom.

nobs said...

Since you are volunteering at the school I would be hesitant to contact Child Protective Services without talking to someone at the school. Legally school employees have to contact CPS if they suspect anything but there might be a specific process to go through when making the call. You could talk to an administrator though instead of the student's teacher. Maybe that way you could still receive some anonimity too. I think you know you should do something, and calling CPS on your own would be better than nothing, but to protect yourself as a school volunteer I would talk to an administrator first.

Anonymous said...

Here is what to do: call child protective services ASAP. You can remain anonymous. Talk to the teachers if you can. If a teacher or school official suspects abuse, they are OBLIGATED to report it. Call the school psychologist. You can probably or possibly do this by phone anonymously if you must. Tell the school psychologist all the info, that you think the child is being abused and neglected, and that you wanted to bring it to the psychologist's attention in order to help the child. If you do the first and the third things, you will definitely help the child. Please do something TODAY. Let us know what happens. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

You should not feel bad for not letting the teacher know the child's name - it is a hard thing to do for people not use to these problems. My husband was adopted at the age of five by a wonderful family that really could not afford it but made it work. Before he was adopted his biological mother did not buy him or one of his brothers a coat for winter or even shoes - he was old enough for school but she had not bothered inlisting him. He also was bruised up alot - which was a result of her feeding her friends and locking the children in a room with a bucket and water instead of food. After joining a new family he became healthy but still has some issues trust and emotions. He can not seem to forget what his biological mother had done to him (these couple things listed not the worst of it). Luckly, another family took him and raised and very bright healthy man. For this child you spoke to it would be best to inform Dept. Human Services they can check things out and no one has to know that it was you. Just think of what could happen to this child if you don't let someone know - will he continue to be harmed, what kind of man will he grow to be? It is not just for that child but for everyone that child touchs directly or indirectly that you would be helping.

Anonymous said...

o my gosh
that poor boy
try talking to him some more
maybe have your son invite him over to play video games {to eat dinner with you)and drive him home to see what his home enviroment

best of luck
xoxo

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I haven't read the rest of the comments so if its been covered please forgive me.

I am a trainer for the Boy Scouts of America. The moment abuse is suspected, or if a child says there is abuse--you must immediately go to the authorities as well as the higher ups. I know in New York that teachers are mandated to report suspected abuse/a child's declaration that he/she is being abused. There is a zero tolerance policy when it comes to abuse. You have the responsibilty of getting this child help now that he has reached out to you. While we don't want to accuse people, we have to let the authorities step in and assess the situation. If they find there is no abuse--that is great. But if there is abuse--then you might have saved the child. Please let the school and the authorities know about this boy and what he confided in you. Thanks.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

You sound like a caring person. Too often, people in your situation are afraid to do the right thing for fear of retaliation. That child is in real danger. You have an ethical responsibility to contact Child Protective Services. (I was pleased to see that this website has a link for the numbers in each state. The national hotline is: 1-800-422-4453. However, you may do so anonymously. No one need ever know that you called. People often consider these agencies to be "the enemy." Their goal is not to separate families. They have programs such as parenting classes, financial assistance, "wraparound services" and access to resources. Thye will likely interview the boy, his teacher, his family and neighbors. Telling the teacher or a school counselor would give them the legal responsibility to call CPS within 24 hours. However, they may dismiss your concerns. Ideally, CPS would get a report from each of you. I know its not easy to get involved, but think how you would feel if that boy suddenly disappeared.
Abuse hurts and its effects have an impact years later and on subsequent generations. I know all too well, and wish I'd had an adult in my corner when I was younger. Many families that look perfect on the outside are hiding darker secrets.

Anonymous said...

You could contact the principal of the school and express your concerns. They are duty bound to report. They likely will discuss this with the child's teacher and they then will be on the alert. The teacher may be overwhelmed and may not have noticed. If this is baseless there may be some injured pride, however, you may be the only person this child has confided in. Best to you.

Jen said...

I wanted you to know that, this sounds like MY child. My child is 3 and has a rare disorder that causes him to vomit almost the entire contents of his stomache. I have had social services called on me several times and each time they would come over have me sing a paper and check with my son's doctor. I am thankful each and every time. I am not defensive about having them in my home or investigating my son. I am thankful that people care that much. Now, my son is skinny and bruises easily but I have only struck him once. It was on the bottom and for running off in a parking lot. My son is my life and when he goes to preschool and eats everything they throw at him. He acts like he is unfed and the teachers understand why. They also understand that he only gets snacks and not full meals. The other parents in the school tend to call and I thank them for it. Someone loves and cares for my kid other than myself. He is my world, as odd as our world can be. He will tell you that he did not have breakfast lunch or dinner though because he is fed as I said before "snacks." I would hestitate to call if put in that situation but would ultimately make the call just because I know that social services can seem scary but ends up being really nice people who can often give resources to help with different types of problems. I understand the questions you have, but mom seems to need help. CPS or DCFS or whatever it happens to be called where you are is not going to instantly take a child unless the child is currently in danger. They do everything they can to keep families together. I personally would not tell my child that I called CPS because it may "slip" and that is a can of worms I wouldn't want to open. I will pray for him and you that everything works out. I wish you the best of luck.

Anonymous said...

Please call child protective services in your state ASAP.

As a child I had bruises on the backs of my legs and someone noticed them in gym class. After they were noticed I was just waiting for someone to show up at the door and address my mother for the abuse she inflicted. Every time the doorbell rang unexpectedly for about a month I honestly thought someone would be there to take care of the situation. No one ever showed...

You have an opportunity to be a hero to this child. Please call, tell them as much as you know and leave it to them to investiagte. You'll be this child's hero.

Mom said...

You would think if the child has a medical disorder that the mother would have notified the school. I have to fill out health information for my children every year before they return for the new school year. If you tell the teacher which child you are thinking is abused, she will likely tell you if he is merely sick.

However, I don't know of an illness like that which would affect mainly or only the backs of the legs and back. You would think his arms, shins and knees would be a mess if he had an overall bruising problem.

I LOVED the idea of packing extra lunch for him. Can you do that until you know something has been done about this?

Jane Doe said...

No All Caps Posting.
Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I would not hesitate to call CPS and ask to remain anonymous.

jayeweim said...

Just input on what's normal bruising, story-telling from a 5 to 7yo. My son attended preschool FT from age 3 and of course K etc from 5 on. (He's too-cool to be 12 now)

My son was, and still is, a high-impact action guy. At that age, I'd pick him up from preschool or aftercare once he was in elementary school looking like he'd been dragged face first over the mulch. He'd have nonstop bruises from knee to ankle (on the FRONT of his legs) and a pound of playground mulch in his shoes everyday.
He NEVER, EVER had bruising on the backs of his legs or back of his torso that he couldn't explain or there wasn't an accident report for. My son also had AD (atopic dermatitis) so whenever he came to school with scratches/rashes or if he had an accident over the weekend, I would be stopped and asked about it.

Re: fanatasy telling at that age that sticks out in my mind. One day in 1st grade, I guess there was some "1 upping" going on b/c my son told the teacher I beat him with "a big, white belt". The next day the teacher told me that and, after I stopped looking at her like she was speaking Martian, I told her yes I have go next door to get it from my neighbor b/c God forbid the Fashion Police would find a big white belt in my closet. We had a big laff over that. I told him for the longest, ya best watch out b/c I'm going over [next door] to get that belt and he'd just look at me like ok, old joke already.

End of story: Caregivers/teachers are more than capable enough to sense normal activity vs abuse/neglect. If you think it may be real, test the parent and check the response against your gut.

AND: if a child tells you he's so hungry to pick TRASH, EAT EVERYTHING POSSIBLE AT SCHOOL, DO. NOT. DISMISS. IT.


My son is ALWAYS hungry--he's a big eater with energy to burn (and thin as a rail--I WISH I had his bodyfat); but he HATES school food. He, and most of his friends, would have to be DESPERATE to want to eat as much as possible of it.

Just sayin'; but I'm thinking you had better report A S A P!!!!

jayeweim

Mom said...

That reminds me of another "funny" kid story. I took my children once when they were very young to tour an old plantation that had housed everybody from slaves to the landowner and everybody in between. As we were being given a tour of some of the sharecropper shacks, there was some sort of whip hanging on the wall with knotted ends, and maybe even some metal things hanging from it. It was horrific looking. My 3 year old son, who was very meek and as innocent looking as an angel, and who had never been so much as patted on his rear...EVER...looked at that thing and said as seriously as ever, in front of everybody, "Mommy would like to spank us with that!" I was absoutely flabbergasted and obviously mortified. All I knew is that everybody says you should listen to a child when they speak of abuse because kids don't lie. Not knowing what to do and being pretty sure that the police were probably already on the way to place me on death row, I said, "Oh sweetie, you know mommy doesn't spank you." (Which probably sounded like a desperate lie and veiled threat at the same time, I now realize.) He went on, "Oh yes you do mommy. You LIKE to spank us all the time," or something like that that was similarly horrific and incriminating. I'm sure I don't remember perfectly because I have blocked it out. I tried saying something else to him that I'm sure sounded similarly lame and he said something that sounded worse yet. I decided to quit while I was ahead and endured the rest of the tour completely mortified. I had never laid a hand on the kid, ever, but I'm sure there's not a person who heard that who isn't still telling the story of the vicious mommy who beat her angellic toddler with a whip. It's been more than a decade and it still makes me cringe. WE have laughed about it a little since, and I tease my son occasionally, but sheesh it was embarrassing!

But I do believe the child in this scenario is likely a victim of abuse.

Anonymous said...

You need to tell someone who will do some looking into his home life. Child protection and the school is a start. Since "Billy" opened up to you he seems to need help and is wanting help.
Please continue helping this poor child.

Mom said...

Oh, and that same son...one day while working in his first grade classroom I had a few free moments so I took his little daily journal out of his cubby and started reading.
I came to a page that said something like, "I can't sleep at night because my mommy makes a lot of noise." Next to that was a picture of me laying in bed and it said about 20 times randomly surrounding "me" all over the page, "Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump..."
I was horrified because I knew that the very young and sweet teacher read the journals daily, and this had been written (and illustrated) a few days back. I went over to him and said, very nonchalantly, "This is really a nice picture honey. So...er....um....what does it mean?" He said, "Oh, your shower is really loud, but I didn't think you wanted me to draw you naked." (Because a naked stick figure is a terrible thing, I guess.) Now, that didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, what with the bed and all the thumping, but I liked that explanation far better than the alternative, so I chose to just believe him.
I thought about whether I should explain to the teacher, but decided it was probably one of those things best to just let go by.

you don't need to know who said...

Have you all thought that maybe the issue is not abuse, but lack of money? Or maybe his mom is seriously sick with no one to help her? A malnurished child probable tends to bruise easier. Who knows the situation at this childs house. The best solution would be to tell the teacher which child, and ask to have CPS called. If it is abuse, he will be removed from the home. If it is a money or health issue, she'll get help. There are some people out there too proud to look for help. But this child reached out to you. Help him.

Anonymous said...

Helaine-
Go figure you would be one to be offended by anonymous posts. Most of what you have to say is callous, anyway. Why not make a stink on a serious post over nothing? Same goes to all the others who think everyone should have a moniker. Who really cares? Set yourself apart? Why, so everyone can jump down your throat when they disagree with you? So someone can say "Oh, I feel sorry for 'janes' child! she is such a baaaaad mommy!!!" Um, no thanks. At least as anonymous, I can detach who I am from my posts and not feel personally assulted. Just a guess, but are you from another country? You sound a little uptight.

Anonymous said...

Tell the teacher what you've been told and what you've seen. They are obligated to call the CPS, and then it's out of your hands.

And please do it soon. Don't wait for the next time you volunteer. Call his teacher today.

Anonymous said...

OP UPDATE:
After getting harassed by some of you Saturday night (thanks, Denise) .... I tucked my son into bed, and then I called CPS (24 hour-hotline) and gave what info. I had. I went to his school today to ALSO report to the school Resource Officer (thanks, 11:22 a.m.) and then went to my sons classroom .... Billy wasn't there. I don't know if he was out sick, or if CPS responds that quickly? I don't know. Does anybody know how quick they come?? Hopefully I will hear something soon. I'm sure I will be anxious until then. But I do want to Thank everyone who helped .... even those of you that were mean to me. It worked.

Mom said...

If the mom cannot afford to feed her child, most schools offer free breakfast and lunch to disadvantaged children. If the mom is too proud to accept help and lets her child suffer from hunger as a result, that is also abuse. Pride should never come before your child's well being.

Anonymous said...

Using a moniker is a big ego trip for some. They want to be sure they get credit for their witty reposes.
Yes, I'm talking to you GV.
A moniker just tells you that the same person wrote A and B. big deal.
Who cares who said what? It is the content that counts.

Anonymous said...

OP, congratulations, you did a good job. Please keep us posted.

vi said...

I disagree with you anonymous and all of the other anonymous posters. I wish that the blog owner would cease allowing comments from anonymous people. I think she should require that only registered person's add their comments.

cali mom said...

Well vi, there millions upon millions of forums that don't allow anon postings so if this one annoys you so much I wish you'd go to one of the others.

What's it to you and gv if someone attaches an alias to their postings? Or not? Would you be happy if someone typed in something other than anonymous every time they posted even if their name was different every time, or do you think you somehow have the right to know who's saying what all the time? How do you know they wouldn't just create different accounts with different names attached if this was a registered name only forum? WHY does it matter to you so much who says what? Only reason I see it as a problem is that it makes it harder to respond to specific posters because there's nothing but a time to reference.

Anonymous said...

*smooch*

You're a Real Mom now. That's how we Real Moms behave.

Rhiannon said...

Several states (including Texas for the person who mentioned Texas) are "Any Person" for Mandatory Reporting. This means any person having knowledge of aduse/neglect must report it.
This will let you know how much information the authorities retain on you http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/mandaall.pdf (in most cases it is nothing).

Also that kid said...

OP - Thank you! Like Denise, I had numerous problems and never had anyone intervene. I am really happy for Billy today. I hope things get better for him.

Anonymous said...

Good job, OP!!!! Thanks for standing up for that kid!!!! GREAT JOB!!

I do think that the reason he wasn't there probably had to do with your call.

Keep us posted as to what else happens!! And thanks for doing the right thing.

Denise said...

OP
When I read your update I literally started to cry. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Anonymous said...

awww, denise. cutie-patootie!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for not being just another oblivious person and for noticing "billy"s bruises. its very unlikely for a child or even an adult to maintain bruises on the back of their bodies. especially a number of them. you must be a wonderful mother for your clearly well-nurtured son to notice something so wrong.
he needs help, this might be one of those mothers who just dont give a damn or who controls her son by abusive behavior. help him. please. you have to. he clearly reached out to you.

Anonymous said...

Why is mom telling stories about her children when we are supposed to be helping a concerned mother help a child in need?

Anonymous said...

OP here:

O.k., I went into my sons school today ... and 'Billy' was there! I went and spoke to the Resource Officer to find out if he knew anything. He said Billys Grandma came in today and signed up to be his pick-up. (It is very tight security in this school, so that means NOBODY can pick up your kid without an I.D., and filling out a bunch of papers, and then signing out your kid every day). This is a GREAT sign! And Billy had on a new outfit (he wore the same clothes almost every day). He really looked adorable! I'm going tomorrow to have lunch with my son and see if I can talk to Billy a little bit and see how he's doing. And by the way ... thank you 8:19, I am very proud of my son. His innocent concern over his friend started the ball rolling with one little question. I feel really good about this, and hope that Billy is in a better place.

Anonymous said...

Aha, the jealous poster from the other thread.
Get over it already.

Denise said...

OP
It's wonderful you keep us updated! I hope it will encourage others to be proactive when they suspect abuse. It's seems as though this site HAS actually helped someone, "Billy" who has been rescued by a woman I concider a hero.

Thank You Again

Anonymous said...

Denise,
my sister's nanny was outed on this blog for the way she was treating the child at a public park. My sister had no idea. The posting-which was emailed to her- caused my sister to investigate what was reported with the other parents in the area. It was confirmed. And as a good result, has helped my sister to make contacts with other parents in her neighborhood. The world is a scary place. Know your neighbors, be good to your neighbors and look out for your neighbors.

Anonymous said...

10:58
Did you mean to post in this thread? Don't understand your comment and who it's related to.

Anonymous said...

Oh, duh - got ya. lol

Anonymous said...

OP, thanks for the update. It sounds like Billy is getting the help he needs. Good work!

Anonymous said...

This makes me so sad. Don`t let this be on your conscience. Do whatever you can to help him. You can save another child.

8:19 said...

your welcome OP. im happy to hear he is doing well. you should try to do playdates at your house with billy or help set some up with Grandma to get him happy and back in shape. you did well.

Sarah said...

EVERYONE -- You can always ALWAYS call child protective services in your town and leave an anonymous report letting them know what school the child attends, who he is etc. They will send a social worker to the classroom to check up on things immediately. You do not have to give them ANY information about yourself.