There is a knock on your door, standing there is a person with the police saying “I am with Child Protective Services I would like to interview you and your child:” These are dreaded words in certain communities. This is a parent’s nightmare. The parent may quietly let you in the door, you may be greeted by intense rage, confusion or a sense of knowing expectation. No matter how you are greeted underneath that façade is fear.
Most parents are doing the best they can do. It doesn’t matter what your parental intentions are when you hear that knock on your door there is an emotional reflex that a parent tries to hide. You move from whatever earlier emotional state you might have be in to a state of panic. The parent might have been fixing breakfast and having a good time with their children. The parent might be sleeping and it could be late in the evening. Everything changes in that parent and child’s life when they hear those words. A parent goes into their red zone. The red zone of fight, flight, flee or fold. Whatever is their natural crisis response you will see their response. I have always said that when you meet me you are having a bad day. I am not the first person that a parent meets. The first responder is an Emergency Response Worker. If things don’t go well that is when you will meet me. It is hard knowing that your job is someone’s worse nightmare. It is hard knowing that the response of fear is ever present at every meeting. It is hard but necessary for the process of CPS to begin. It begins with fear.
Child Protective Services goes by many names. In the inner city the name is “child popo” slang for children’s police. Workers are called baby snatchers, devils, and bitches. Most people have no clue what CPS is and if they have a general idea it is vague group out there that is suppose to protect children. What I came to learn is they don’t mean that we are there to protect “their” children. We are there to protect someone else’s child. What I also learned through the years is that most parents don’t believe that they are harming their child. Most parents love their children. Many parents are doing to their child what was done to them.
Before you can drive a car you have to become licensed. A driver’s license is considered a privilege. There are rules of the road if you break those rules there are consequences. You have to be retested every few years to make sure that you are up to date on the laws of the land. If you get caught drinking and driving you face serious fines, jail and it will cost you a lot of money and time.
What is interesting about becoming a parent is that we don’t have a pre-parenting requirement. We are allowed to have children at will and for the most part we get to raise them the way we think is best. Being a parent is not considered a privilege it is considered a right. That is unless you come to the attention of Child Protective Services.