Transcript for a personal interview with Subject 1. Subject 1 is a single mother with two kids still in the home who works full-time and lives in California.
me: Hi. Thank you for agreeing to talk with me about contact with Child protective services. Your identity will be kept confidential. Are you still ok with me using some of your anonymous answers in my paper?
me: to recap-I am writing a research paper and am looking at ways the office of cps functions well, aspects that need improvement, and the overall quality of the interaction.
s1: I understand
me: Have you had CPS contact before?
s1: yes. twice because of things my daughter said to school officials.
me: What can you share about these things?
s1: My kids went through a really tough time after their dad died. my daughter does and says things to get attention.
the first time, she told her teacher a black man raped her and CPS visited her at school and in our home. My daughter fessed up to lying about it. they lectured her about lying about it, checked my pantry, and left.
me: Can you tell me how you felt?
s1: I was embarrassed. My daughter embarrassed me. I was treated well by CPS but embarrassed that they pulled up to my home. I felt uncomfortable about them asking to see my pantry, but I did it anyway. I am not a bad parent. Actually, I felt it was a bit much to ask to see my pantry. I just did what I had to do.
me: You said you were treated well by CPS-how so?
s1: They were polite. I just don’t understand why when my daughter is 15 pounds overweight, and the issue is not about malnourishment, it is about a false accusation about a random black man nobody knows sexually assaulting my daughter, that anyone would ask to see what is in my pantry and refrigerator.
me: Did you question the request?
s1: Nooooooo. no. no. I didn’t want any more trouble. I just wanted them to go away.
me: Were you concerned about that?
s1: yes. I have heard horror stories from people that stand up to them.
me: You mentioned a second time. Do you want to talk about that?
s1: I can. What do you want to know?
me: Whatever you want to share.
s1: well. that time it was much more personal. My cousin moved in with us due to losing her job. My daughter was very jealous of the closeness between my cousin and me and my cousin's daughter and me. She was also upset because my cousin would step in and make sure chores were done and dinner was started before I got home from work. My daughter wanted them to move out and resented the structure my cousin made to help out me and help out the house. She told her teacher at school that my cousin slapped her across the face. The police and CPS came out again.
me: The police? Did they come out the first time?
s1: Oh yes. it was humiliating. I’m positive my neighbors think I am a terrible parent.
me: I can understand. How was the second experience?
s1: Bad. I was really embarrassed and scared by the second visit. My daughter was lying again. She wanted my cousin to have to leave after CPS came out like to force that issue. It did not happen. This time I was told that if they came out again over false accusations that I would be held financially responsible and they would remove her while they investigate.
me: Interesting. Can you elaborate on that?
s1: Which part?
me: Both if you like.
s1: The financial responsibility, I was told they would send me a bill for the time they spent investigating.
me: Did you agree or disagree with it?
s1: I do not understand how it helps the situation to punish me with a financial penalty. I did not do anything. if I am punished with a bill, that takes money away from my kids. I am a single mom. How does this help the situation? I felt bullied and I felt betrayed by my daughter. What she was doing was evil.
me: Did they have any suggestions?
s1: They told me to put my daughter in therapy. She’s already in therapy. her dad killed himself when she was three. All my kids are seeing a therapist because of it.
me: Did you share that with CPS?
s1: Yes. They know she has been traumatized by it and there are behavior issues.
me: How is your daughter doing now?
s1: She is really oppositional to most things. it is very hard to get her to comply with basic rules and responsibilities, especially since the covid pandemic. being cooped up at home is not healthy.
me: I agree. I hope this subsides soon.