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  #1  
Old 09-25-2010, 07:31 AM
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Default Parents and Smoking Pot

first i want to start off by saying i am a registered poster here, i just logged out for privacy purposes. i hope you all understand.

second, i know what i need to do, i'm just looking for some other opinions, and a little backbone.

i have a family i have been caring for for almost a year. their child is the most sweetest well behaved child i have ever cared for. a couple of times the parents have showed up, either at pick up or drop off, and appear to be stoned. at first, i thought, o.k., maybe she has allergies, or is overtired, whatever. but i thought she was stoned all along. another friend of a friend mentioned to me that these people are huge pot heads. now, i dont judge anyone for what they do in the privacy of their own homes, but showing up and putting your child in the car when you are under the influence is not cool. i know technically, i am a mandated reporter. but i have a few reservations about jumping the gun. #1, they dont appear to be "sloppy drunk i can totally tell", so i dont know if its me seeing things or not. #2, friend of a friend said something, but its hearsay, ya know? #3, they are good friends with another family i care for, so how do i deal with that?! they are going to bad mouth me to them, i'm sure. and if i terminate, the other family i have is going to wonder why. (the other family does NOT come across as the type to smoke pot) #4 if i do turn them in, will they retaliate by turning me in for something stupid? #5, is it enough proof to warrant a call to CPS? i mean, they really are nice people, and are really good parents. they come from nice families. i have no other issues as far as how they treat their child. they are in NO way abusive.

i know what i am supposed to do, i am just torn, and looking for a little advice. thanks...
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Old 09-25-2010, 09:26 AM
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I would tell a police officer to stop them, after they leave, for DUI. One time and that should get them to take notice. It will put it in front of a judge and would also be considered potential child endangerment situation. Sounds harsh but it could change their behaviour in a BIG way.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:24 AM
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Because you dont "know" for sure, no evidence ect. I would talk to them about it. I know its hard to confront parents but maybe a simple, "I see that you are good parents but your eyes look a little red and I have been thinkin that maybe you are high when you are picking up your child, I have to let you know that as a mandated reported I am obligated to report this. If you are smoking pot please do not pick up your child." Its the rules, you give them a warning...and then you have to do what you have to do.
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Old 09-25-2010, 11:11 AM
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How would you feel if they were in an accident after leaving your home and knowing you could have prevented injuries to them, their child, and others?
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:53 PM
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I have called cps for this reason before. The first time I called the woman on the phone literally laughed at me and said something like, that's not something you can turn someone in for. I didn't feel good about that reaction at all, talked with my supervisor (I worked at a center), who agreed with me and I called cps back and spoke with a supervisor there, who agreed with me that I needed to complete a report.

You know that this is the right thing to do. The goal of CPS is not to take people's children away from them, but to help the family do what is appropriate for their children. Someone needs to stop this family from driving when they are high. It is illegal and dangerous and they could kill themselves, their children or someone else.

I'm sorry you are faced with this, this is such a crappy situation to be in. Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2010, 02:27 PM
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In Canada, you can call the CAS anonymously to ask if you should report a specific situation. Perhaps if you were to call the CPS (or the cops) "just for advice", you might feel confidant enough to report this family, since you'd be on the phone with them already . I know sometimes if I can trick myself into almost doing something, I can summon the guts I need to actually do it .

Honestly, we need more people in this world like you, who are willing to put themselves out there to protect a child, rather than just look the other way. Let us know how it goes!
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBug View Post
In Canada, you can call the CAS anonymously to ask if you should report a specific situation. Perhaps if you were to call the CPS (or the cops) "just for advice", you might feel confidant enough to report this family, since you'd be on the phone with them already . I know sometimes if I can trick myself into almost doing something, I can summon the guts I need to actually do it .

Honestly, we need more people in this world like you, who are willing to put themselves out there to protect a child, rather than just look the other way. Let us know how it goes!
Yup, you can do this here too-good idea!
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Old 09-25-2010, 07:34 PM
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Let's simplify this for you: People who are high cannot react to situations as quickly as sober people. That is why it is illegal to drink and drive. Alcohol and drugs (even pot) have similar effects on people and their abilities (like driving and avoiding accidents). Therefore, these children ARE at risk.

So here's the simple question: How would you feel if you overlook this and the parents pick up the children, drive off, get in an accident, and the children get seriously injured?

Remember it's CPS's job to investigate, not yours. All you have to do is report anything suspicious. If there is some other explanation, they will find out and all will be fine. If they truly are getting high and putting their children at risk, you could be saving their lives.
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Old 09-26-2010, 01:27 PM
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I would call licensing first and "ask" them what they think I should do. You pretty much know what they're going to say. Then I'd call CPS and "ask" them whether they think it's a good enough reason or not to report them. They'll take a report (or not). I would keep a log of their names and reponses. This way if they don't want to take a report or take you seriously and something does happen you have your butt covered. As far as I know any person that suspects that any child could be in danger is required to report it. What they do is up to them. It's so sad to think that we do have a broken system and that things that are reported don't always get taken seriously until something bad happens. I take being a mandated reporter very seriously (i've been one since high-school) and make it very clear to my families that if I suspect that something is wrong I will do something about it.

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From my handbook:
Mandated Reporter
Because of regular contact with children, as a child care provider, [daycare] is required to report any suspected physical, sexual or other types of abuse to our licensing office.

Child Abuse/Neglect
It is the provider’s lawful duty and moral responsibility to report any suspected abuse or neglect performed towards a child. Children’s Protection Services and the Police Department Authorities will be notified when it appears that a child is being physically, sexually or emotionally abused, neglected or exploited.

Releasing a Child
.... At no time will a child be released to ANYONE, including a parent/guardian, if it appears that the adult is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If an adult listed as authorized to pick the child up arrives at the daycare home and appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol the adult will not be allowed into the home and you, the parent/guardian, will be called immediately. That person will no longer be accepted to pick the child up and another adult will have to be added to your list instead.
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:08 AM
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I was in a simular situation. DCD had showed up to pick up DCG & he seemed a bit off with glassy eyes. Cousins of DCG was in care too & DCB (cousin) dad was a cop. Some how we got on the coversation of the other dad. He told me it is my job to call & report. How would I feel if they got in an accident after leaving? If I thought something was wrong & didnt call it could come back to me & I would also get in trouble for putting the child in danger. It is part of our job to report things like that for the safty of the child.
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Old 09-27-2010, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBug View Post
In Canada, you can call the CAS anonymously to ask if you should report a specific situation. Perhaps if you were to call the CPS (or the cops) "just for advice", you might feel confidant enough to report this family, since you'd be on the phone with them already . I know sometimes if I can trick myself into almost doing something, I can summon the guts I need to actually do it .

Honestly, we need more people in this world like you, who are willing to put themselves out there to protect a child, rather than just look the other way. Let us know how it goes!
I cannot speak for the whole USA, but here in CT if you are a mandated reporter you cannot be anonymous. I ran into this problem with a family member last year.
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAMommy1228 View Post
I cannot speak for the whole USA, but here in CT if you are a mandated reporter you cannot be anonymous. I ran into this problem with a family member last year.
Here in IA if a person wants to stay anonymous they can. They are not allowed to disclose who called anyway although I know some who 'goof' & tell the person anyway.
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Old 09-28-2010, 08:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PAMommy1228 View Post
I cannot speak for the whole USA, but here in CT if you are a mandated reporter you cannot be anonymous. I ran into this problem with a family member last year.
I am in NY and we can not stay anonymous if we are mandated reporters. I ran into this last year as well. I was told by a daycare parent that works for CPS that if I did it anonymously and they found out it was me then I could face some sort of charges, I don't recall what he said. He only knew of the situation because he witnessed it.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:36 AM
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Wow! I was very surprised by all the different ways this can get handled. I think you should call your licensor first and find out what the exact rules are. I have a State Trooper and a Sheriff and a city Police person with children in my care, when I aske them this question I was told:

I can report my "suspicions" to CPS.
I can talk with parents
or I can do nothing.

In our state, I am a childcare provider, NOT qualified to judge someone's physical state without doing a field sobriety test or giving a breathalizer.
They all said that it is unfortunate that parents choose to do this and pick up their child, but I can only suspect without actually knowing anything unless I witnessed them actually smoking pot.
I can feel bad for the child all I want but I am not licensed or qualified to make judgments about anyone's state. I am also not liable for anything that may happen once a child leaves daycare.
I know it is unfortunate, but I guess we have to follow the rules.
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Old 10-08-2010, 08:05 AM
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for me, unless i had solid proof i wouldn't . i'd hate for someone to call CPS on me for 'looking' stoned when i'm tired kwim? however i'd hate for something to happen...i'd be torn as well ! i'm not licensed but as a provider or anyone caring for children are childrens voices and NEED to speak up for them. i'd be afraid of retaliation as well. not sure what to advise but wish you luck!!
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Old 10-08-2010, 12:37 PM
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I denied pick up to a single mom because she was drunk at pick up. I had to care for her child for 2 extra hours while she searched for someone willing to pick her child up for her. She wasn't driving but I'm not allowed to release to someone on drugs or drunk. I stuck to it because I didn't want to be responsible if she did something to the kid while drunk. I was worried that if anything happened to the child the investigators would find out I released the kid to someone who was drunk and that might lead to no good for me.
I have also reported physical abuse against one of my clients and they were never told who made the call. I have heard her saying bad things about the person who she believes reported her and she wouldn't say that to me if she even thought it was me. All in all it was a wonderful decision because they stepped in and helped her out before it got worse.
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Old 10-08-2010, 01:41 PM
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Here in Ca. we cannot refuse to release a child to a parent REGARDLESS of wether or not they are drinking or high. All we can do is allow them to drive away and call the police department to report a crime in progress.

You need to follow your instincts. For peace of mind, report it to CPS and let them make the decision. Legally, they cannot release your name to anyone if you ask them not to, and if they do, and you end up with issues, you can sue them for any loss you may have.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:59 PM
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i don't know how comfortable you are with the family, but i'm guessing you're obviously not comfortable enough to approach them with your concerns.

i personally wouldn't report it right away if i didn't know for sure. my husband has been looking stoned for the past few years because he has major issues with his contacts for some reason, but doesn't want to wear glasses. thank goodness he started wearing glasses about a month ago because everywhere we went, i know people thought he was messed up - his eyes were RED. family members and friends would tell him - your eyes are bloodshot! if he went to pick up the kids or something though, i know he'd make a point to say something about his eyes/contacts so they would know and not have to wonder.

what i would do (other than confronting them) is put a blurb in a newsletter IF you have a newsletter. this is why i think newsletters are good ideas to send home and post on the door regularly - so when something akward happens - you have an outlet and it's not so obvious who you're directing something at. you could put something in there that says, "i would like to remind you all that as a mandated reporter, i am required to report all forms of child abuse, neglect, and endangerment. some examples of instances i must report include, but are not limited to:" blah blah blah......make sure to put driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the top of the list.

they will get the hint!! and if they come in high one more time - you can report them with no guilty conscience at all because that's a pretty clear warning. JMO.
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