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Old 01-29-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
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DCF - What to Expect?

I received a call from DCF today, asking to set up a home visit.
My children have never been involved with DCF before. My only experience with this was a few very negative ones when I was a child.

I know they are not allowed to say who filed a report, but my kindergartener's school had already warned me before that they may file (there were a few incidences of him coming to school with less than pristine uniforms and messy hair.)

What should I expect?

I am nervous of course, since all of my previous experiences were bad ones.
My oldest child has Asperger's as well as some accompanying issues. to be honest, he is mostly out of my control and we have conflicting personalities to boot. I have given serious thought to the notion that I am unable to provide the correct environment and support for his needs. I don't know what the solution to that would be, however.
My entire bedroom smells because I cannot get my oldest to stop peeing on things. I will be spending the weekend with the shampooer, but it doesn't help a whole lot anymore.
My preschooler is almost completely non-verbal and shows signs of severe ADHD.
I follow a lot of attachment and natural parenting philosophies - I'm sure that DCF will not be pleased that we do not vaccinate, I'm extended breastfeeding, and my youngest still co-sleeps.
I can't get a job, don't have a car, pay 80% of my income just for rent, and I see absolutely no remedy to my situation at present. My father was supposed to help me with a vehicle and I will be a licensed EMT at the end of February, but that's all I got!
The kids fathers offer little or no support. I do get child support from one.
It looks bad. Not to air all my laundry, but what am I up against?

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Old 01-29-2013, 11:26 AM   #2
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They called because of dirty uniform and messy hair. That's insane!

When CPS came to my house a few years ago it was a complete mess. They didn't say anything and dismissed the case. Anyways, unless your floor is covered in feces and garbage I don't think they will care.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

Do the children all have a place to sleep - that isn't your bed? If the answer is no, it might be a good idea to borrow a crib for your youngest. Do you have sufficient food for your family and a means to prepare it?

A less than pristine uniform and messy hair isn't children's services worthy, unless you mean filthy? Do you have a plan in place to make sure that your child and his clothes are clean, even if they are still messy?

Do you get help for your children with special needs? If not, I would take this as an opportunity to ask for help.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

Yes, definitely make sure everyone has a seperate bed, including the baby. I feel for you as a single (though soon to be engaged now, I have been a single parent for the last year and a half with little help) mom of three myself, including one with autism. Shampoo the carpets, clean the uniform, and get through this visit the best you can. Then make a plan for the future. Are you working with any doctors or therapists for your DCs needs? to you.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

Make sure you have food in the fridge, trash is put out, place is picked up and laundry is in baskets, drawers or closets, dishes are clean and away, separate beds for everyone, air the place out, make sure everyone has bathed and shampooed at least the night prior. You definitely want to make a good impression.
Don't be afraid to ask if there is any services they can offer.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:07 PM   #6
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

We don't have separate beds, because we lack the space.
My oldest is outgrowing his toddler sized bed. My PLAN (but it will take a lot of money, which is why it is not done yet) is to get my boys a bunk bed or a loft bed. With a loft bed, my oldest will then have a twin sized bed, my preschooler can have his brother's toddler sized bed (which can be placed underneath the loft bed with one of their dressers) and my youngest will get the crib (currently being used as a daybed for my preschooler.)

Laundry IS an on-going issue for us. With no car, three children, and no washing machine...you can imagine. It piles up fast around here and there's not much I can do about it. My mom takes the baby's diapers and my oldest's uniforms about once a week. I may be able to have a friend help me do laundry this week anyway, which will be a slight improvement.

Honestly, I'm surprised this is the first encounter we will have with DCF. Given our situation, I was pregnant with my third by age 19, we stayed in a domestic violence shelter two years back, ya know...
I think it is pretty ridiculous that a report was filed over THIS of all things.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:12 PM   #7
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

I don't think it was just that. There was probably an allegation of neglect that was communicated and that's why they're coming out. From what I've seen and heard (especially with my sis and her messed up family) you're lucky they gave you a "warning" call and didn't just show up.

You do sound overwhelmed, overworked, and unable to handle the kids. Maybe the school is picking up on that. At any rate, you can tidy up and what not but your attitude about and toward your kids is going to have the biggest impact on them, as well as the overall condition of the home. I would be honest with DCF. Tell them that you've had your share of bad things happening, hit a point where you felt downtrodden but you're working toward your goals in baby steps. Be honest about your abilities to parent your children, and tell them if they'll help you you're willing to do what it takes to make things right. They may have options and resources that you didn't know about. Once there is a paper trail it may hurt you a little bit but it may also help you to get whatever services and help are available to you and your children.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:15 PM   #8
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

On the special needs,

Both boys have gone to Head Start. My preschooler is there currently, and we are on a waiting list for my youngest.
My oldest just got his IEP in school in place. The SPED team there seems really good, but I don't feel that his teacher is qualified to meet his needs (****, I"M not qualified.) They did a very thorough evaluation and told me he has the worst sensory issues of any child they have ever seen :X (but the OT was super excited to beign working with him, haha.)
The referral for my preschooler came in the mail today. He was evaluated by the public schools, but I think they did a terrible job (I notice FAR more things at home then they picked up, but I will push this issue further.) He just graduated up from the Early HeadStart, qualified because of his severe speech delay of course.

Food is not an issue, we just did a big BJ's trip as well.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

Quote:
Originally Posted by z2akids View Post
Do you get help for your children with special needs? If not, I would take this as an opportunity to ask for help.
Exactly. It sounds like things are really tough for you right now. As others have said, clean the apartment, make sure you and your kids are clean, have food and beds. Do you have a boyfriend or anyone else living at your place? I don't think they are looking to take your children away.

Ask what supports they can recommend/offer regarding your oldest's Aspbergers. Would you be eligible for any sorts of in home therapies or respite care? Edited - I see you are already hooked up with Head Start and have IEPs - that is good. (My 2 year old is also severely expressively language delayed - the jury is still out on other issues at play like autism, intellectual disability, ADHD - so we are just now starting to navigate these services. Him being so behind makes me feel like a cruddy mother on a daily basis, so I get how you are feeling).

If you do not/cannot work and do not receive child support regularly, how are you able to live? Maybe they can point you in the direction of free legal help to get the child support you are owed. Is there any possibility of moving in with family who can offer more help to you? If your mom is washing dirty diapers, she sounds pretty supportive! I can see how no laundry on site and no access to a car would make the laundry pile up fast. Can your mom take all the laundry once a week, not just diapers and uniforms? How many uniforms does your son have? Any possibility you could hand wash his uniform in the tub and hang to dry if it gets dirty between washings? I hope you are able to find a job once you graduate and things get easier soon.
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Old 01-29-2013, 12:41 PM   #10
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Re: DCF - What to Expect?

well you dont know for sure that the school called or that the only thing reported was the uniforms and hair. from the sounds of it, it seems pretty obvious that you are overwhelmed and needing support. calling services is not all about busting negligent parents, sometimes it is about getting services and resources to the families and kids that need it. it could have been anyone at this point....the school, neighbors, parents in your kids class, your own family for goodness sake.

i would do what i can to prepare but also look at this as maybe an opportunity to get some assistance if there are further services you or your kids can quality for. i cant imagine trying to juggle special needs kids as a single parent....no job, no car, and all that you have going on.

for the carpet issue, whats under the carpet? can you just pull up the carpet and get rid of it entirely?
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