Like any problem, it’s a matter of identifying the boxes and ticking them off. I inserted myself into the childcare situation across the street, and then became the adult who would resolve it. Cathy is doing much of the legwork. She knows everything already, just doesn’t know how to put it together.
I was most of the morning gathering all the names and relationships involved. Cathy had a talk with the one father we know, who talks the talk and may walk the walk, if prodded enough by Cathy. He says he will “turn the mother in” to child services. Whether he makes the call or not, other cogs and wheels have begun turning.
We have one father for two of the children, and a grandmother for the third.
Boxes and tics:
No supper for the children: There is no propane for cooking (or heating, or hot baths!). Solution: propane is ordered for delivery today. Dad is paying, and taking responsibility for keeping the tank full.
Breakfast for the children: All cereal, milk and juice is transferred to the caregiver’s kitchen (Cathy).
Cigarettes and weed in the house: The Health District will make a visit one day this week. I know the agent; he solved the smoking in the office problem. He’ll solve this one, too.
Drug dealer at the house: This one was fun. I know all the officers on the force. I called the chief and said I had a job for his new detective. The new detective, plus side kick, spent one hour with the mother yesterday. The chief tells me the dealer will no longer be on the street. If transactions occur other places, the Health District cog is turning, and at minimum will keep the smoke outside.
The boys in school: Tough. The older boy bullies the younger. They are half brothers. I have close to a graduate degree in “pass it down” bullying, so I’m sure the older is bullied himself. He tells Cathy he will be dead by 20, of HIV. What the hell. He is eight years old. I have an appointment tomorrow with the school social worker to tell all I know about these two boys. The older boy has the grandmother. I don’t have her name yet, but the school may.
The school social worker is a knowledgeable and kind woman. She and I worked with the three grandchildren I brought into the school system, to help them adjust and assimilate. If not, and you know I had one and a half abject failures to correct, she can to move these children along to another authority.
And I still played cards with the Methodists this afternoon.
If some suit from New Jersey shows up on my porch with a bogus complaint, what an earful he’ll have this time. My grandma says I can loosen the corset strings now. And, I'm not doing this any more.