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Old 10-18-2012, 01:50 PM
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Default Highly Sensitive Situation, IDK How To Handle

I am a member but due to the highly sensitive nature of this issue, I'm logged out.

I run an inclusionary child care home that caters to medically fragile and/or foster children. It's not my ONLY clientele, but they are a large part of it, USUALLY. Lately, however, I've had more "mainstream" children and the majority of my current parents have typical children, except two kiddos; one of whom is special needs but part time. The other is a foster child who has a history of sexual abuse. My typical families do not know I have a foster child enrolled.

The part time child was here today and is on a specialized diet as he is unable to control his hunger. He has a condition where he will eat until he is literally sick... and still continue to try to eat. He just has no idea when he's full. As a result, we keep him away from the kitchen at all times (he will steal food) and we keep his food separate from the other children's foods--he brings meals from home due to his restricted calorie intake.

This afternoon, however, we were having imitation banana fosters as part of our lesson plan and he was allowed ONE as a treat (OK'd with mom and dietician). He gobbled it down in about a minute and the proceeded to attempt to eat his neighbors', who happens to be the little girl who was sexual abused. We were able to stop him, but she got VERY upset by it all and during nap she began to act out sexually right there on the mat in the middle of the living room.

My assistant was there to redirect the behavior, however it escalated VERY quickly and at one point the young lady was fully exposed, masturbating herself (in some form) in the middle room before we could get her safely separated. The entire situation from start to de-escalation was probably 3-4 minutes, but in the mix of it all the other children saw and there was a marked disruption in the day.

We called the foster mom, therapist, and put in an email to the resource coordinator for this little peanut regarding the issue but we now have other parents to deal with. We know for a fact that little "A", a typically developing 4 year old saw the incident and told his mom (probably on the way home!) because she left a voicemail on my cell not too long ago asking me to call her right away. By policy, she knows I'm not going to call until my last child leaves around 6.

Normally, with any other children, we would tell parents there was a situation and try not be too specific or call anyone out- but in this situation we were advised not to mention it to the to other parents by the therapist and foster mom as it is a breach of confidentiality as far as they are concerned. I don't know what to do?! The parents deserve an explanation and I want to give them one, but this was not an exhibition of typical exploration that can be explained away as such. If "A" described to mom what happened even 75% accurately, then she will certainly have questions beyond any benign explanation I can give her without giving a little backstory on the little girl (which is a no-no). So, how do I handle this? In my 5 years of doing specialized care this is the first time I've had an incident quite like this.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:31 PM
Willow Willow is offline
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I think you deserve a lot of credit being willing to work with traumatized children. Really, I do.

But when it comes to sexual abuse cases I think unless line of sight supervision can be provided for the duration of care it's far too big of a risk to the victim and the other children to put them in that sort of a group situation.

3-4 minutes is far too long for this to have gone on in the presence of other children. Seconds, I could see. Minutes, not acceptable. The other children shouldn't have seen anything because the minute the child went to touch herself inappropriately or remove her clothing there should have been an immediate intervention then. If your assistant was right there I don't quite understand why they didn't or weren't able to. That part is a bit unclear based on your description.


In regards to how to notify the other parents I'd have fired off an email immediately letting parents know what happened and confirmed at the door that they got it. There is no reason to give any indication of the child's past or her status as a ward of the state, but what you did owe the others is an explanation of what the other children saw, what was done in response, and what the plan is to prevent it from ever happening again. There is ZERO breech of confidentiality in that.

The very last thing I'd ever allow to happen is a parent hearing some very confused but partially accurate interpretation of such an account from their own child before me. It is every parents right to know what their child has been exposed to throughout the day. Withholding such information, especially intentionally to protect another, you're opening yourself up for a serious investigation, loss of your license, getting sued by individual families etc.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:09 PM
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In regards to how to notify the other parents I'd have fired off an email immediately letting parents know what happened and confirmed at the door that they got it. There is no reason to give any indication of the child's past or her status as a ward of the state, but what you did owe the others is an explanation of what the other children saw, what was done in response, and what the plan is to prevent it from ever happening again. There is ZERO breech of confidentiality in that.

When something out of the ordinary in my day occurs this is exactly what I do. I want the parents to hear it from me, not their child. I dont want any confusion or misunderstandings. I would have asked at the door did you get my email? If they did not, I would ask them to call me or let them know that there was a very sensitive issue that occurred today and to please check the email or call if necessary.

BTW...kudos for you for being able to make a difference in these children's lives....it truly takes an amazing person to do what you are doing...
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:44 PM
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Can you tell parents that there was an incident and you have spoken with the parent of the child and a theroopist is envolved in the child's life and you have been asked not to discuss it any further. Parents have the right to know you are not ignoring the situation and the abused child has her rights to privacy it is juat a matter of finding the balance between the two.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:00 PM
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Angelmichelle Angelmichelle is offline
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.........Nothing to add here.
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Angelique Mother of 4, stepmother to 3, foster mom (of none, currently), back at it again! Large license, and almost full!
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:08 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I was upstairs with the infants and fulling out paperwork when it first started but my assistant redirected her, as she normally does, and instead of the young woman stopping it escalated. How and why, I can't lie and say exactly, but when I heard the commotion on the monitor I came downstairs and helped her de-escalate the her. Having a child touch themselves when falling asleep is not something new, but normally redirection or a gentle reminder that we do that in private is enough to stop the act. More often than not, I think the kids aren't even fully aware they are doing it so we would NEVER make a big deal out of it because on a rudimentary level, it's normal. I've had kids in the past who do not have a history that used that method to comfort themselves. Nothing more than a gentle coaxing has ever been needed.

She was absolutely line of sight during the incident. My assistant asked her to stop, reminded her, redirected her. She stopped momentarily, started again. Stopped when told she would be moved into the other room, started doing it more vigorously. Assistant moved to get her mat up to move her into a more private corner, she pulled down her pants and escalated her behavior. I don't know that it was 3-4 minutes, but that's what I was told and I believe her; it sounds reasonable.

I did talk to mom and she was OK with the situation. The little boy wanted to know why "J" was different and doing that; mom actually thought the little girl had a rash or something and was concerned in that respect as a physician assistant. The email is a great idea, but again, I was advised against it so I didn't know how to proceed in that respect. As I mentioned earlier, I normally would've addressed the incident immediately with parents but I had never had this type of situation happen where I am expressly asked not to. I did send out an email this evening that painted a broad scope picture but only one parent responded and she just felt bad for me. I'm OK. It turned out OK. Thank you all for your input, again!
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Old 10-19-2012, 05:43 PM
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I always use somthing to create a visual barrier at nap time. I can see everyone but I use blankets draped over furniture and I situate everyone so the do not see their neighbor at all. Keeps them from staying awake and you would not be so worried about this behavior. It takes a couple of minutes to get set up but worth it for a peaceful rest time.
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