Let me just get this out there: I have zero faith in DCFS.
I have heard horror stories about the Department of Children and Family Services. Most of them from close friends that have been in the system.
Stories of overworked, stressed out and jaded caseworkers letting the welfare of children fall through the cracks. Tales of corrupt caseworkers who overlooked obvious signs of abuse for a variety of "favors."
What I was told was both heartbreaking and chilling.
Those stories along with feelings of helplessness came rushing back when I heard the commotion next door. Because deep down inside I knew what was going to happen if I called DCFS---absolutely nothing.
After I published the initial post of this series, a friend who also happened to come from an abusive home, reached out to me and implored me to call DCFS and report what I heard.
I explained to her that based on what I could find, there was no way to do so anonymously. I also suspected that calling in a report of alleged child abuse based on what you may or may not have heard would be taken with a grain of salt by the agency.
God bless her, she wouldn't take no for an answer.
While she patiently listened to my objections, I could feel her need to get the proper authorities involved in this situation. Why wouldn't she? As a survivor of child abuse, I can't imagine the emotions my post may have stirred or memories that were awakened.
She in turn reached out to a friend that happened to be a mandatory reporter of child abuse and connected us to see if a solution could be worked out.
After a few rounds of phone tag, the mandated reporter went ahead and placed a call to the 1-800-25-ABUSE hotline and relayed the story under the following conditions:
- She called in anonymously and not as a mandated reporter
- She relayed the facts of my story as I myself would have told it to the operator
My friend's friend---the mandated reporter---was shocked to find out that the operator would not take a report of abuse based on she described as an unfounded allegation.
The long and the short of it was that just because you hear something doesn't mean it happened---at least according to that particular DCFS operator.
Short of witnessing the act, the best she could suggest was to call 911 and ask them to perform a child welfare check.
It turned out my gut instinct was right. What you hear is not enough to warrant DCFS involvement.
The DCFS operator simply confirmed what I knew all along.
If you liked this post, "like" I Hate My Developer on Facebook