Amy’s Life in Brief


Making a call to Child Protective Services…
March 10, 2009, 5:15 am
Filed under: Child Protective Services, MSW, social work, social work ethics | Tags: , ,

I’m always kind of surprised when it comes time to call Child Protective Services.  When I imagined it while I was going to school, both undergrad and in my MSW program, I always assumed that it would be in a situation that was unambiguous and where I would feel firmly on high moral ground.  Even now I am surprised at how few times this is actually the case.

Currently I’m dealing with a case where older children are involved.  Some of my co-workers have taken the stance that since the children are older CPS doesn’t need to be involved…essentially that they can take care of themselves.  It’s not that they don’t believe that harm on some level is occurring for these children, it’s a belief that CPS maybe has bigger fish to fry.

And the situation with the parent isn’t exactly cut and dry.  There is another parent in the home who appears to be of sound mind.  But with what’s going on with the patient in the hospital, I’m not sure that the “healthy” parent can make up for all the chaos the patient must create in the home.

I haven’t made the call to CPS yet. I will most likely do it tomorrow.  Part of my hesitation is maybe the fact that I’m questioning my own motives for wanting to make a report in this case.  I’m wondering if I’m wanting to use a CPS report as a sort of intervention for the patient.  Rationally, I know this would be silly.  The likelihood that CPS would take action is probably small.  And, talking to this patient, I doubt that even CPS coming into the home would make any difference in the course of their disease.  So, it boils down to making the call just to cover myself, just in case.  But, I just wish it felt clearer to me that this was the “right thing” in this case.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’ve been in a similar type situation and we are always told it is better to call if there is even the slightest doubt. We all do things to ‘cover ourselves’ but there’s a reason for that too, I guess.

Comment by cb

Yep, CB stole my thunder on this one as I was going to make the same point. You’ve covered yourself, let them make the call. Who knows, they might find something out there that’s not available to your eyes since you see them in a finite setting.

Comment by reas




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