This can happen to anyone. You’re going about your day and the door bell rings. You answer it and it’s a social worker. Someone has made a claim against your parenting. Someone has claimed your children are in danger in your home.
The reality of my situation is that I imagined this day would come and when this claim was made, I knew exactly who made it.
As a black woman married into a Caucasian family, I had already suffered being bullied by my husband’s relatives. So when my husband and I had kids, I knew they would eventually find a way to make the claim that I was a bad parent. I knew they would want my kids.
In this particular instance I would have to admit I set myself up for this one.
A relative of my husband’s, let’s call her Dana, was very intrusive. She was the type that would come over unannounced and take over.
Dana had no kids of her own. But she believed she knew the best way to parent every child in the world. (You know the type).
She would come into my home and gather my kids into doing organized activities. Of course for a tired mom this seems fine. I love when people come over and distract my kids so I can cook, clean or have some time alone.
But Dana often took things too far. She would create a literal routine for my kids while visiting for the day. She would go into my fridge and cupboards to create meals for them. She would try to give them baths. (I was able to stop her from going this far because my kids became uncomfortable).
She would tell them what they were or weren’t allowed to do. She went as far as controlling what they watched on TV.
She told me that she believed while she visited with my kids she was to treat them as her own kids. At the moment I thought that was fine so long as she’s simply showing them love.
Dana was the type to gossip with me about the “bad” parenting habits of every other parent in her community and within her relatives- so I shouldn’t have been surprised to know she was also judging my own parenting.
The day that social worker showed up at my door the first thing I did was let her in. I was in shock by her being there but I knew she needed to come in and see my home. She needed to see the truth.
When the social worker sat down with me she explained the concerns that were made to her by this “anonymous” person. I told her I was an open book. I invited her to have a look around my home. I gave her character references of every counselor, therapist and doctor I’ve seen.
When she went down the list of the claims made against me- they were outlandish. The social worker even admitted this.
There was only one claim in there that was true; a comment I made to Dana about my mental health and dark thoughts I’ve had. The social worker however knew the reality of suffering with postpartum depression and anxiety. She was very understanding.
The social worker asked about my oldest child being in school. She said the claim was made that she was not attending school. She asked where my oldest child was and guess what I told her… In school. I gave her the name and phone number to call and verify.
The social worker investigated claims of the cleanliness of my home. She went through out my home and then said, “It’s untidy but this is a clean home”.
The claims continued to become more outlandish. Claims that truly someone who was not a parent and had no idea how to raise a child would make.
For example, one claim about my oldest needing to wear pull ups to bed because she wets the bed. This, the social worker herself said, my child wets the bed too- I know putting an older child in pull-ups is the wrong thing to do for that age.
The social worker asked me the back story of my relationship with my in-laws. When I explained the difficulties I have gone through and continue to go through, she believed our family needed support concerning their involvement in our lives. She agreed it was not a healthy situation.
Suddenly what started out as a concern about my kids’ safety with me, turned into a concern about our family’s safety with my in-laws. I realized I was safe.
One of my concerns which I expressed to the social worker was that now that one claim was made against me, my in-laws would try to do this again and it would be strike two.
The social worker explained, this has happened before. There are simply people out there that like to be nosey and stir up trouble.
But now that she knows the truth for herself, she will be the one with our case and all claims will go to her. She will not regard claims as facts and will decide for herself if there is concern.
Having a social worker come to your door is something that can happen to anyone. Don’t believe for a moment you are instantly a failure if this happens to you. Social workers are not allowed to disregard any claims which they haven’t investigated themselves.
Has this ever happened to you before? Let us know in the comments if you feel brave enough to do so. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org