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Unconventional (permaculture lifestyle) Living with Kids and dealing with "the man"  RSS feed

 
Posts: 35
Location: Southern New England
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I have five kids under nine. We already do things differently, we home school, we drink a substance that some think should be pasturized, we don't follow every little recomendation of the conventional medical world. I already worry about someone giving us a hard time about these things. I recently read about a man and his wife whose children were taken away from them because they were living in a storage unit. read about it here-- They sound like creative people who were doing a great job with what they had, imploying a lot of the attitudes that this website stands for and it sounds very similar to my shipping container home ideas:

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/E-Houston-shed-family-says-poverty-cost-them-kids-2080056.php


It appears that parents are "guilty until proven innocent" these days when it comes to children. These people can have their kids taken away on anonymous tip from a neighbor. Some people don't think its right to even togive children chores to do. I am looking for advice, encouragement and experiences. Do we even have any rights anymore or are our kids simply state property that we feed while they brainwash them? So far we have been able to do what we want with homeschooling etc but I am a little afraid of alternative homes b/c I don't want to endanger them by opening our family to further criticism.
 
Katherine Baker
Posts: 35
Location: Southern New England
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http://www.chron.com/default/article/Reunited-shed-family-starts-a-new-life-in-new-home-2077517.php

Here is the rest of the story so far. They were living that way to save money to buy land and build a home. Now that they are spending their money on rent and dodads for the kids rooms they are allowed to get their kids back. So thrift is now illegal? and the composting toilet and the fact that their kids ran around outside barefoot were the main reason given for taking the kids away from their parents!
 
Katherine Baker
Posts: 35
Location: Southern New England
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"It was never about poverty," said Mark Cooper, the attorney ad litem for the Leonards' children. "It was about the way they used the resources they had."

Not using you money for rent is now a crime?
 
Posts: 1124
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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yes it is quite saddening to see the amount of involvement the government has in family life, you'd think we were in ancient sparta or soviet russia half the time with the state basically taking over the care of the average families children at the young age of 5... when a parent can't treat their children with their choice of medicine, diet or disicipline without getting pinned with child abuse, you know were living under quite the tyrannical government

and thats not even getting into all our other laws that prevent a child from seeking his/her own job in an economy that gets worse every day due to our wonderful central bank DESTROYING the value of the dollar, or laws that prevent people from growing and administering most of their OWN medicine

America's going the wrong way fast, and if we dont get involved then we are the ones to blame for this nations shift from republic to empire and the inevitable fall that is bound to come sometime in the coming future
 
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Its unfortunate, but I do believe its easier now than ever for the man to tell people how to live and how they should raise their children. Thats why I A. dont tell anyone about my decisions with my child and B. Play by the serious rules as best I can and find the best place to live, and C. get involved in politics. I know I know, its the worse thing ever, but I personally believe that past generations have gotten lazy when it comes to shaping our country and future, its time we take it back. Its going to come to a head sooner or later, when it does hopefully the rebuild will be a much better place. the question is are you part of the revolution or not?
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1124
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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^ good for you

i also hate politics but since i feel we must be the change we wish to see, i get involved as well, though not as involved as i maybe should be...
 
Posts: 21
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A couple of things about dealing with SS:
-They can't take your kids away without a judge's order; judge's are historically loathe to issue these orders and will do so only in cases where they see clear evidence of neglect or abuse. A city judge is more likely to overreach than a country judge, but in many states they won't remove children unless blood is coming out from under the door.

-If SS shows up at your door, remember that you are under no obligation to let them in without a search warrant. Most judges will NOT issue a warrant for a SS search unless evidence of abuse or neglect has already surfaced, such as a child with broken bones or one who constantly shows up to school dirty and hungry. If a neighbor calls in a tip to SS and they show up, you can feel free to tell them to buzz off.

In the case above, the family was living in a storage unit in a major city. The wonder is they didn't get their kids taken away before. Not that I think what they are doing is wrong, but no city judge is going to allow that and there was no way to hide where they were living. If I was them, I would take my kids and leave town pronto.

I've had to deal with SS before in various jobs. I've actually called them myself; I have a legal duty to report and both times I've called where in cases where kids were being outright abused and I witnessed the abuse in the course of my job. Even then, the kids weren't taken away (though one should have been, imo). The two mothers were given counseling, monitoring and parenting training. Most social workers are very reluctant to take kids away. They are not likely to do it because you homeschool or drink raw milk. If you live without electricity and running water they might, depending on where you're at, but as I pointed out before, you are under no obligation to let them in.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1124
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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chicken dog hugelkultur
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^ thats a good point that i neglected to think about, dont allow em in without a warrant, they have no more authority than anyone else in the country to enter without a warrant

though it may or may not bne rare, the state will take kids away from family even if not nessacary at times, my grandparents have two foster children, one was taken away becasue she was skipping school too often and her mother did nothing about it, though education is important, to me it is an obvious overreach of authority for the state to get involved in a childs education and overstep the parents authority, she may be i na better location with us here, but i guarentee it was not a situation in which the state should have EVER gotten involved and it honestly irritates me to no end, fortunately the state will be out of it soon as they're allowing her to return home after she finishes the school year
 
Posts: 145
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
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We have found out that this depends on the individual states ,,,as well as who turns one in to CPS..and the individual case workers...Having had foster children off and on for many years I have seen them removed by officers and social workers and had them placed in my home until "the systems" were satisfied with out judge orders...I have seen great parents turned into CPS because a family member did not approve of one or two of their choices of raising children..I have seen nasty parents who should of had their kids removed get their children back time and time again,,My beautiful daughter in law being one of them,,at 17 CPS told us to keep her hidden until she turned 18 to keep her away from an abusive father.I know one mother who was turned into CPS because her son shot himself..Her bi polar daughter learned she could call CPS and use them as a threat to get anything she wants from her parents now because mom is petrified from when she got back from arranging her sons funeral to find her other 3 kids in foster care even though their father was there with them... .CPS is based more on the individuals opinions who work for them then anything...It is a very flawed system with both good and bad people working inside it ,,It also has some unreal rules that apply because it deals with minors that do not fall into any types of normal court proceedings...
Unfortunately we have seen a very negative side of this system and visit someone who is doing a couple of years in prison for having children living in what some considered sub standard arrangements...No running water, no electricity, no plumbing,doing home schooling..The building had a concrete floor,a metal roof,sided on two ends one room enclosed the rest was wrapped in a couple layers of heavy construction plastic.There was however water storage tanks with a bath tub and on demand propane hot water,sawdust bucket potties(inside) and an out house,propane appliances both for refrigeration and cooking.Barrel stove and plenty of wood for heat..plenty of healthy foods,medical both through alternative as well as conventional, and a small cabin being built.Most of all they had someone who loved them.The jury was totally appalled that the kids were forced to live this way in today's world....
Our advice,, be careful about talking about your lifestyle with others....
 
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Though in some ways government is going too far it is still better than what came before where parents could sell children into indentured servitude or as child brides. The trick is to find a balance. For example I have bought eggs from a Mennonite family in late spring and been served by older girls, barefoot in the snow while the boys, even the <1 year old in another girls arms had boots on. The feet definitely all showed the effect of constantly being without appropriate footwear. In NE Ontario with temperatures that can be below -40 celsius that is more than a cultural difference, it's cruelty. That is not what is going on here but it is what child welfare authorities are trying to prevent and can get over zealous in doing. More communication and flexibility by the authorities is warranted.
 
Rebecca Brown
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Max Kennedy wrote:Though in some ways government is going too far it is still better than what came before where parents could sell children into indentured servitude or as child brides. The trick is to find a balance. For example I have bought eggs from a Mennonite family in late spring and been served by older girls, barefoot in the snow while the boys, even the <1 year old in another girls arms had boots on. The feet definitely all showed the effect of constantly being without appropriate footwear. In NE Ontario with temperatures that can be below -40 celsius that is more than a cultural difference, it's cruelty. That is not what is going on here but it is what child welfare authorities are trying to prevent and can get over zealous in doing. More communication and flexibility by the authorities is warranted.



Yes! As someone who has worked with abused and neglected children before, I have to thank God that SS is there. They have a very tough job to do. You have NO idea what some people do their children. I've seen things that still give me nightmares. SS just needs to find a balance between helping kids who need the help and infringing on parents rights.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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your best defense is privacy..and not telling everyone every little thing..make sure the children are not telling neighbors every little thing, teach them how to keep personal things personal..

it sure isn't as easy as it used to be but I've seen children taken away for a lot less
 
Katherine Baker
Posts: 35
Location: Southern New England
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Thanks so much for your replies. I am a newby and so didn't know that anyone responded until now. At the time I wrote this I was living near NYC where cps is like the mafia. I have since moved --though not to the rural spot I had in mind.

My point was not to say that we don't need these services but only to open a conversation about how to deal with the idea that -for instance- children should not work on their family farms or that only having an outhouse is "child abuse".

Children evidently need to be raised exactly alike in a big cafo.

I thought the comment about the girls barefoot in the snow was interesting as my first thought was that they didn't have money for everyone to have shoes so they gave them to the boys bc they work outside and the girls not as much or that they all share the boots and the boys had them right then as the girls were doing the less strenuous work of selling eggs at that moment (after all you did not see the feet of the boys--- the boys feet might have been equally bad) I didn't just assume that this family undervalued their daughters.....though I suppose that is possible you were there and I was not. Also some people go bare foot all the time and claim its beneficial for them... All I am saying is that barefoot in the snow isn't in and of itself an indication of child abuse. It could be a sign of a recalcitrant kid lol

Basically this thread goes back to the principal of difficulty and weather or not children should be allowed to experience
A certain amount of difficulty in life.

And how much is appropriate .....and who can make that call? Obviously permies people would prob draw the line in a different place than most conventional types! Geesh!! Some of them think that second hand clothes is "abusive"

Obviously if we compare our lifestyle to third world we live in luxury and even the poorest of us are often richer than their poor. The cps

some would say that waking up each morning in a cold cabin and loading up a wood-burning stove not fair to children.... Others might say that it is good for them and builds character. People in cities basically don't think kids should suffer physical difficulty , period. And even intellectual difficult is being slowly iradicated--everything must be fun all the time. But what kind of people are we making that way?
 
Katherine Baker
Posts: 35
Location: Southern New England
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I read more carefully about the barefoot kids and --yes that looked pretty bad. I was thinking of times when my own kids ran outside barely clothed against my wishes while nosey neighbors were watching and clucking and judging while I was just trying to get them inside again!! I jumped a bit to soon to defend. In NYC mds are held accountable if a child is found have been abused and the dr did nothing about it. So they often turn in parents for things like broken arms with no other signs at all ----just to cover their own legal you know what.
 
Katherine Baker
Posts: 35
Location: Southern New England
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"Getting involved" to me looks more like talking to the people in question, doing some investigating, getting to know them, helping them in any way I can ,(shoes?? Or a job for dad or whatever)before calling a government agency. Making a phone call like that should be the last thing you do ---not the first.
That is if you are interested in building strong resilient communities. Because getting government agencies involved does not always solve the prob and often makes it worse.
If you think that it is better to take kids out of a home with parents who love them But
Are poor and put them with strangers who don't know them but have the right stuff then you make things more important than relationships.

People can change and very often it's their children who make that change happen. And not all foster care is so lovely. Just make sure you aren't making things worse with your phone call.




 
Posts: 185
Location: Southeastern Connecticut, USA
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Loose lips sink ships.

In Amazon reviews of the Humanure handbook a family had their children removed when one of them told a teacher they poop in a bucket.

Kids talk, it's not easy keeping secrets, and mandatory reporters, report.
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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The worst thing IMO you can do to a child emotionally is disrupt them from their primary caregiver during early childhood. That is what creates children/adults with no conscience, and if you then treat them with drugs for behavior you are potentially creating a psychopath. Treating kids with attachment disorders with normal therapy and modern "discipline" (time-out, talking, etc.) just make the condition worse.

You need to be very careful about "saving" children from temporary "hardships" just to ruin their entire life.

Right now we treat kids like newbie gardeners treat tomato starts--carefully protect them and keep their conditions perfect, then (when they turn 18 ) dump them outside with no hardening or training and wonder why they fail.



 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
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Here on Pauls Fora he likes us to be nice . Unfortunetly Child Abuse is not nice . Its the opposite of nice .
Reading some of the posts here saddened me greatly . Most people here will never have to read reports of abuse that make you feel sick nor have to talk professionally to folks you want to hit or lock away for ever. I hope none of you have to . I have ,dont want to repeat that .
People talk about rights but if your adults starve you to death , for instance you have no rights because you are dead .
Anyone who works in the child protection field knows it is hard and difficult work, get it wrong and the papers hound you, get it right and you hardly get any recognition .
Those who work in child protection are my heros and I salute you .
A couple of facts that people should bare in mind
Abusers like Home schooling . It means that children dont get asked akward questions by teachers and doctors like " you have broken your arm ? ....again ! " and " How did you get a STD? " I am not suggesting Home schooling is wrong but it can be miss used
Abusers who believe its ok to have sex with kids or beat them or starve them also often have other none standard beliefs. At the moment being a permie is a none standard belief, its not that common yet .
So if you are a Permie and home school your kids and someone reports you dont be surprised if you get a visit .
So what would an abuser do if visited the first time by the social services ? He/ She will not let the SS in . Concequently I feel the advice given above is not one that I would endorce .
I would suggest inviting the SS in give them a cup of tea ,let them see your healthy , happy Permie children . Who knows they might want to learn about Permiculture . They can go away thinking what nice folks ,thank goodness we did not have to deal with another harrowing abuse case .

David
 
steward
Posts: 25164
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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This is an incredibly complicated, frustrating and heart wrenching topic.

The ways that children can be abused is infinite. And the people that are supposed to protect children are usually underpaid and overworked. This leads to hiring people that are not a very good fit for the job and, therefore, they do a terrible job. Sometimes, to keep their jobs, they will have to manufacture problems.

I have heard of too many stories of kids being taken away for really stupid reasons. And I have heard of stories where the kids should have been taken away but weren't.

I suspect that 85% of the time, CPS does the right thing.

I do think that a lot of things that we do in the permaculture world are outside the comprehension of "muggles". So when a muggle works for CPS and encounters a child raised in an unconventional way, the default reaction is to try and figure out what to do. Is it safe? Is it good? And since they are overworked, they don't have the time to really figure it out. So the knee-jerk thing to do is pull the kids and leave the burden to the parents to utterly prove their choices are safe. And since they are underpaid, there is a reasonable chance that this person will not have the capacity to wrap their head around permaculture in a short order in a tense situation.

I think the questions presented here are good questions. How do you prepare for this? How do you mitigate this? How do you prevent these sorts of problems?

Step 1: try to share permaculture information in your neighborhood.

Step 2: be prepared for the visit. Learn what could happen. I think the best tool in the toolbox would be lots of video. Know your rights. An ounce of prevention might be worth a hundred pounds of pain later.

 
steward
Posts: 1793
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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I suspect that location may be a key factor in this familys story . These warmer southern cities - Phoenix , San Diego , Houston - have huge homeless populations . Houston may have dealt so long with unsafe living conditions for kids that they have codified statutes and institutional resources to deal with this situation . Notice that the kids were immediately placed and put into a school with a telling name . If this family had been dwelling in a shanty on a back road in Eastern Kentucky raising a few hens and a garden it would be a different story .
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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