CPS Sucks: Why Child Protective Services Probably Aren’t Your Best Bet

I believe in the principal behind CPS of the government stepping in when a child is unsafe, but the system doesn’t work. It’s overloaded with cases and has all the problems of being a bureaucracy and is not forceful enough because it doesn’t want to violate people’s right to their own children. In some cases, they can help people but usually it doesn’t work.
One of my friends has an emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive stepmother who has been reported multiple times–once when she couldn’t stop cry in school and another time when neighbors saw her stepmother repeatedly kicking. But, nothing ever came of these reports. And she’s an easy case for CPS because at least her problems are being brought to their attention. Lots of kids are abused under the radar so CPS doesn’t do anything. If you report it on your own, you need lots of evidence (photos of bruises, rants recorded on a phone,etc.) and you still may not be helped. Another of my friends was molested by her older brother and she proved it had happened but the social worker told her that she had “asked for it.” So it’s a great idea but it just doesn’t work the way it is. (And clearly a lot of their employees really suck if they would ever tell someone they had “asked for it.”)
Instead, go to teachers you like and trust. They are mandated reporters but don’t worry about that because reports have to be filed twice before CPS does a home visit (so they’re pretty unlikely ever to show up and throw your parents into a rage if that scares you). If CPS does show up, you can just say it was the neighbors hearing loud fighting or whatever. Anyway, teachers are a great option because they are the most likely adults to really care about you outside your family. They’ve dedicated their lives to giving random people’s children a better shot, so they genuinely want to help.
Another option would be religious leaders, any adult friends you might have, etc. They won’t actually be able to do much but they can provide you with a safe space when things are bad at home, can remind you that you are wonderful, and can allow you to get your feelings out. Friends are also great for this; it’s just nice sometimes to have a pseudo-parent. It is a relationship that people naturally want, so finding people to be replacements is a good idea.
Anyway, it’s unlikely you’ll get out (before going to college or starting work) or have your parent removed, so the best thing to do is to get emotional support from kind adults. By the way, running away is a terrible terrible option because most teenagers who leave home are forced into the sex industry. It’s true and unbelievably awful. So, if you need to get out, make sure ahead of time that there are people you can stay with like a grandparent or maybe a childhood friend. Just be sure you won’t get desperate and end up homeless and forced into prostitution or another horrible job. It’ll be okay. It’s very hard to get through and it feels like forever but once you’re out you’re out and until then there are a lot of things you can do to make your situation more pleasant.


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