May 14, 2010

RE: CPS Investigation
Mrs. and Mrs. Hogaboom
814 1st Street
Hoquiam, WA 98550

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hogaboom,

This letter is to inform you that your case will close. I want to reiterate the position of the Division of Children and Family Services in maintaining the safety of your children.

The Department became involved with your family after concerns that Nels was able to get away from your home and attempted to board a Grays Harbor Transit bus without an adult, shoes, or coat. Nels is still a very young child and although he is very bright, he requires supervision when he is outside playing.

It is the goal of the Department to keep children safe and in their family of origin. In the event that another referral is received regarding the same concerns of lack of supervision, your case will be staffed for a higher level of intervention.

In the event you need referrals to services, please feel free to contact me or refer to the Community Service List included with this latter. I can be contacted at the number below.

Respectfully,

Becky Sanchez
Department of Social and Health Services
Aberdeen Children’s Administration Office
Social Worker III – CPS
415 West Wishkah Street
Aberdeen, WA 98520
360-537-4326

cc: Case File

So to be clear, my son took a venture and did something I do not sanction and someone called the police (instead of calling my house or leading him the few blocks home). Since police are mandated reporters in this state they are required to call CPS (believe me I did try to convince the officer otherwise). And even though the case is closed (this is the only “win” you can have once an investigation is initiated) – since there is no age limit on required “supervision” (which apparently means EVERY SECOND) for children – this means if anyone ever dials their cell phone and calls the police regarding my son (and perhaps even my daughter), the government will go “higher level of intervention” on us.

There is no appeal process for this as it stands.

What does “a higher level of intervention” mean for our family? Maybe something like this: [link] (no really, do read the entire article).

The concerns around this case were of “neglect”. You can read Washington State’s common indicators of neglect here: [link].

Dozens of kids in this neighborhood play outside without constant supervision. I wonder if the parents know they’re only a cell phone call away from all this?

I wonder if the people who call the cops to dump their “concerns” in the laps of Authority really know how this plays out?

Above I’ve listed facts. Here are some thoughts. “They” are wrong, and I am right to believe no interventions are required and my rights to my children should remain as they are today.  Here’s another thought: I have no confidence another call isn’t looming over who-knows-what if I allow my children outside.

Here are some feelings.  I feel crushed, alone, despairing, and depressed.  I believe something within myself has been snuffed out.