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  #1  
Old 09-10-2012, 07:44 AM
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Default Custody Fight

Hello folks,

I am a registered poster who has logged out for privacy.

I have a DCG20mo who's grandmother has custody. Grandma signed on for full time care about 8 months ago (she is a very young grandma at 40ish). DCG was taked from her parents, who were drug abusers and physically violent to each other. She was neglected. She has thrived here and I enjoy having her here. Grandma is a pleasure to work with...pays on time, picks up early or on time, always helpful, really awesome. DCG has had visitation with her parents a few times a week, for which CAS would pick DCG up from my place.

So, DCG's mom (Grandma's daughter) broke up with the DCD and this has given her the ability to seek custody of DCG. DCD is given visitation under the supervision of HIS mother. DCM was recently (2 weeks ago) awarded split custody of DCG, with the hope of getting full custody in October.

The first time dcm picked up DCG she was 15 minutes late. She was rude about my asking to see ID (I had never met her). She texted grandma to complain that DCG had a fat lip within 10 minutes of pickup. Grandma texted me to ask about it. It didn't happen here.

DCD picked up on Friday. He was 15 minutes late. He was friendly about showing ID though.

This morning DCM drops off and doesn't say 2 words to me. I'm all smiles and good mornings from me and nothing.

Then grandma texts me saying DCM is claiming DCG got a rash on her bum during her visitation with DCD. Grandma asks me to confirm existence of rash. There is no rash.

I'm getting uncomfortable with this. DCM seems to see injuries that don't exist and has no problem reporting them to CAS to better her chances of getting custody. I don't want the liability of being responsible for reporting on the injuries. I'm going to ask that I be kept as a neutral party. I'm going to tell them that if there are discrepancies about her physical well being then they need to be addressed outside of daycare, even if that means that they get up early to do the exchange of custody off my watch (Grandma drops off here, mom picks up here).

Anyone dealt with situations like this? Do you have a contract specifically for custody issues? I'm nervous to chat but I need to as the liability here seems huge.
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  #2  
Old 09-10-2012, 08:03 AM
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Is Grandma still paying the bill? If the parents are now responsible, you will need a contract with them.

In custody cases, I insist that ONE person is responsible for paying me and they have to work out paying each other back etc.

Yes...insist on being neural. Don't take sides, no matter how you may feel. Make sure to takes notes to cover you.

If this isn't possible, you may have to consider terming. Providers can get dragged into messes.

For example, the mom says child has a bad rash because dad didn't change her. This may be true, but dad may blame YOU rather than fess up to his own neglect. You have to be very careful.

I would take notes and keep it where grandma/authorities can have access to it. Make sure the parents know you are doing this. It may discourage their story-telling. Tell them you will note every scrape, every rash etc.....or lack of......make a note that the child arrived that day with no rash, bumps etc.

Let them know you will take no nonsense or you will term.
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Old 09-10-2012, 08:15 AM
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My only suggestion is to document everything. EVERYTHING! When the child arrives do an exam of the child and jot it down - whether you found anything or not. If you find something take a photo. Just before the child leaves each day make an inspection jotting down each and every scratch or pimple. Also might be a good idea to contact your licensing rep and discuss the situation with her, just so she is on board and has your back.

Good luck. I always document with new parents daily for the first few weeks and then on occasion if I deem necessary. I feel it has saved unnecessary grief a couple of times. One time all I did was hand the papers to an inspector to read, answer a couple of questions and she was on her way. The parent accused me of giving her child Benadryl to make her nap because she was still asleep when she picked up at 5pm. Our nap is from 2-4p so she slept 3 hours. She was 2.5yrs and it was her first week of getting up at 6am to come to daycare.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:03 AM
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Here is a great letter I got somewhere (?) I have used in similar situations. Helps to CLEARLY state your role as well as theirs.

Dear Families,

Over the years I have noticed my role as child care provider can often create the impression that we are extended family. Because your child's welfare is so important, this care and nurturing can create an intimacy between us that makes us feel more like family than business partners. As a home daycare provider, I strive to foster this sense of community, and to provide the closeness you will not find in a child care center.

However, there does need to be well defined boundaries in certain areas. Some of you are currently in the process of redefining your families, and are struggling with court orders, custody issues, and feelings of estrangement. It is imperative I remind all of you that I must remain a neutral third party. As your child's advocate, their needs are my sole priority. Please keep in mind, this doesn't mean that I am unaware or unaffected by the turmoil you face; I am sorry for your pain and I do mourn the loss of your child's family as they have known it. Still, I can't let any feelings I have for you interfere with my role in providing your child a safe, neutral environment where they can express their own feelings of sadness or fear. In consideration of this, here is a list of some of the things you need to remember should you wish to keep you child enrolled at (name of child care facility):

1. My home is a safe haven for them; please refrain from expressing your sadness or frustration about your child's other parent (and perhaps their new significant other) within their presence. Your child is extremely perceptive and already knows how you feel; my home is one place they should be able to escape this tension.

2. Please provide me with any copies of legal documents I need regarding the custody or care arrangements for your child. Keep in mind that in the absence of any court documents, I cannot legally keep a child from his or her parent, and will not agree to any such arrangement.

3. Develop a well thought out plan for pick-up and drop-off. Do NOT make my driveway a place of confrontation. If you need to do a "switch" where the child moves from one parent's care to another during the course of the week, choose someplace else to do so.

5. Do NOT put me in the middle of any issues you have regarding child support payment or the payment for my services. Work out a plan for who is responsible to pay for your child's care and do so promptly and courteously. I know money is a primary point of contention in many separations -- do NOT make me ask for payment for my services or you will find yourself looking for a new child care provider.

6. Do not request that I do anything for you other than the normal array of service you have received in the past. I will NOT document anything other than legitimately suspected mistreatment, so don't ask me to spend time evaluating your ex-spouse's parenting skills or capability as a parent. If the court feels they need my opinion, they will provide me with a list of written questions I will answer to the best of my ability. I operate an honest business and consider my integrity and trust two hallmarks of my home.

7. I do not participate in supervised visitation. My home is a "Home away from home" for many children and I need to consider the welfare of ALL my families when making decisions. I am a child care provider -- not a mediator or evaluator.

In summary, please minimize to the greatest degree possible, any disruption to your child's regular day at my home. Separation of a family is a big issue to young children, and my home may be the place of stability where they can work through their emotions and confusion.

If you have questions about your specific situation, or really feel there are issues regarding your ex-spouse we need to discuss, please call me at 555-555-5555


Also have divorced families sign two separate contracts, so that mom's days and dad's day are clearly outlined as is who is responsible to pay what or pick up etc.
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:28 AM
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I would have anyone that picks the child up to do a head to toe inspection.They need to mark on a form any little scratch and sign the form. Take a picture of anything they see.

If mom claims a rash take a picture with time and date.

Tell the parents and grandma you are the childs advocate. You are there for the child not the adults.

It might be best if Grandma does all contact with you
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itlw8 View Post
I would have anyone that picks the child up to do a head to toe inspection.They need to mark on a form any little scratch and sign the form. Take a picture of anything they see.

If mom claims a rash take a picture with time and date.

Tell the parents and grandma you are the childs advocate. You are there for the child not the adults.

It might be best if Grandma does all contact with you
I think this is a great idea. This takes all of the responsibility off of you and onto the parent/grandparent. I would make quick little printouts with a general picture of a body and during drop-off off have whoever has dropped off to do a quick assessment with you and a diaper change. Have them mark off anything that they see that they feel is important and you sign it off with your own comments (example: mom draws/circles a bruise on the diagram and writes that the child has a 1/2" bruise on her leg ... you comment that the bruise was there previously etc). Then at pick up have the person picking up fill another one out. You can probably make your own half sheets and just keep them in a binder etc.

You can use something like this :


I also really like the letter above. You might want to write one up that's similar and hand it to grandma/DCM with instructions about doing an evaluation each day.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itlw8 View Post
I would have anyone that picks the child up to do a head to toe inspection.They need to mark on a form any little scratch and sign the form. Take a picture of anything they see.

If mom claims a rash take a picture with time and date.

Tell the parents and grandma you are the childs advocate. You are there for the child not the adults.

It might be best if Grandma does all contact with you
Great idea! I'd also save the texts regarding the issue so that you have the text plus the photo in your documentation. I don't know what kind of phone you have but if you can download a "screen grabber" app you can take screen shots of their text and your reply. I do it for all my families that text me with issues. Document everything!

I really like blackcat's letter too!
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:12 PM
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cat that was an amazing letter!! copied it and will keep it if I ever should need it.
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