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QUESTION: The Father of the Kids I Babysit Called CPS on Me Because His Kid Told a Small Lie: What Should I Do?
“I need some advice on how to handle this situation I’m in with the parents of the children I babysit for.
Some background, I’ve been in child care for 15 years, recently the daycare I worked for closed, so I started babysitting a few of the kids; I watch two brothers that are 3 and 5 and an older girl who is eight and only comes after school. Recently the father of the two boys sent me a text cussing me up one side and down the other, saying that I need to feed his kids when they’re hungry because of a situation that had happened the day before.
It had been the girl’s birthday, and her mom kindly brought cupcakes, which I was obviously going to save for when she got to my house after school. I provide snacks and meals for the children, and we have a schedule that we go by for those; as I was cooking lunch this day, the 5 yr old decided that he wanted the cupcake, and he didn’t want to wait. I wouldn’t let him have a cupcake.
I tried to explain we had to wait for the birthday girl, and lunch was almost ready, which led to a fit and honestly nothing uncommon for a child that age, he got over it pretty quickly and ate lunch like normal, and the day went on as normal but had later told the dad that he was mad at me because he had been hungry and I wouldn’t give him food….
All pretty common, I nicely explained it to Dad, and he never replied. The next morning I woke up to a mutual friend of ours sending me screenshots of this rant the dad had put on FB about me neglected their kids by withholding food, and he said he had reported me to CPS.
Oddly enough, the mom still brought the kids that morning I explained the situation to her, she apologized and said she had made her husband take the post down and begged me to not stop watching the kids. So I blew it off… Today, a caseworker from CPS showed up because the dad did indeed make a complaint.
No issue came from that because all is well in my house, and I’ve still been watching the children. But I’m very upset that he’s still acting this way over what I think is minor and a normal thing that kids go through all while I still watch the kids, and I don’t want to watch the kids anymore after this mess. Am I wrong? What would you do?”
The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.
“Contact the mother (not the father) and say CPS turned up because her husband had made a complaint. You reiterate that CPS found no issues, that you are disgusted by his behaviour and in light of his over reaction over a cupcake that you have no choice but to withdraw your services immediately.”
“I would tell them they need to make different arrangements for their children and I would tell them why. He felt the need to report you so therefore he obviously don’t think you are good enough to watch his children. Protect yourself. Sorry this happened to you.”
“Give them the legal amount of notice to find other child care. End of story. Don’t extend the care past what is legally necessary. If the parent did not discuss with you the events of the day, and if he called cps over a cupcake, just imagine what he will do when one of the children takes a tantrum and bumps himself, or a simple little accident(we all know kids are prone to scrapes, scratches and bruises)… Don’t take that chance. You will regret it.”
“Personally, I would inform them in a letter and verbally that you can’t watch the kids. Let them know you wish it could be some other way but you have to stop. I would say: Unfortunately due to the false accusations made against me on Facebook and to cps, I am unable to watch your children for liability reasons…
… Over these last few ______ that I have been with your children, we have grown connection and I will miss them dearly. However, I personally cannot afford to have false allegations brought up against me while trying to run a babysitter business. I do hope you can understand that as of _____ day I will no longer be able to care for your children. I hope you the best in the future and looking for another child care provider.Best regards, _______”
“I would not watch those kids anymore. He crossed a line and clearly doesn’t trust you. CPS found nothing wrong. So honestly I would let the mom know tomorrow which is Friday that it will be the kids lasts day. Honestly they need some repercussions for him to quickly jump to conclusions. Maybe a few days of missed work, watching his own kids, and a spat with his wife would set him straight. It’s covid times, it’s hard to find child care. I say good riddance and good luck.”
“As a fellow provider, stop watching the kids! Also, ban the dad from the property. Mom must come pick up their belongings and handle any contact from now on. You can not risk your home for someone else.”
“1. Defamation of character on social media 2. The child lied and will continue to do so. 3. The child will probably lie about something even worse and then you’re in a heap of trouble. 4. Keep those screenshots. They could be very important in the future. 5. Ask for a written apology from the mother, stating that she asked the dad to remove the post and that in fact, her child was lying. 6. Once you have it in writing, give them notice.”
“I would inform both parents that you are terminating care effective immediately and they are to cease all communication with you also effective immediately. The husband’s actions were beyond unacceptable. I would not go back and forth with them about the incident, the CPS complaint, the home inspection, etc. This will just open the door for further drama and further aggressive behavior from the father…
… There are plenty of other kids out there to babysit. I would also save the screenshots the mother sent you and screenshot all communication with them that occurred including and after the original text from the father. If you struggle to find other kids to babysit because of what the father posted about you, there is the potential for a lawsuit. You also want proof that you told them to not contact you in case the father decides to continue cussing you out so you can get a restraining order if needed to prevent harassment.”
“If the mom was begging you not to leave, that tells me she that this situation has likely happened with him before, and will likely happen again. I agree, quit before something worse happens. In this case you and your family’s safety need to come first.”
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