CPS workers are terrible people who rip babies from the arms of loving parents… or so are they portrayed every day in social media. Truth is, CPS workers have one of the hardest jobs and they certainly do not enjoy ripping children away from their parents. In fact, most of them would prefer to do anything they can to keep children with their parents to prevent unnecessary heartache, especially in cases where they’re just not sure if abuse is truly going on or not.
On the other hand, there are cases that are so gruesomely clear-cut that reading them will make you wonder how some CPS workers can continue doing their job. Some admit quitting in as little as just a couple of weeks, while others eventually break down after a couple of years.
Lately, trigger warnings get added to just about everything but this article definitely qualifies for as many trigger warnings as possible as it deals with 15 of the most hard-hitting confessions from CPS workers that will leave you staring at the screen in horror. They’re important to read though because as horrible as these stories sound, they are a lot more common than we think.
First of all, let’s start off with this confession from a Reddit user:
“I could tell a million stories [...] but honestly the thing that struck me within the first week was how incredibly cyclical and predictable it all seemed. I wasn't shocked so much by the individual acts themselves, because it's easy to write them off as fluke events. Sick people do sick things, right? But the truly sick part, the part that in a weird way made me feel personally guilty, was that you could see in these reports and in the testimonies that public policies were largely at fault for the situations that these kids were in.
Not only that, but many of these now abusive, neglectful, or simply absent parents were once, as children, part of the CPS system.”
In response to a post about the worst cases they have seen, a former CPS agent shared that the question brought up secondary trauma as they had only lasted eight years in the field. More specifically, the Reddit user added:
“I wish more people understood the trauma that comes with this job. It starts to [affect] your personal life. After seeing horrible [...] [things] day after day, it was hard to have any kind of [intimate] life with my [significant other]. The state I worked for had no assistance for workers dealing with this trauma, unfortunately.”
This was actually in reply to another Reddit user who didn’t last more than three months on the job despite the 24k/ year salary. In particular because of: “Feral children with flat heads living in [horrendous conditions] who could barely speak or talk from such severe neglect. Parents stoned all day and burning the kids with cigarettes for discipline.”
A Reddit user shared: “Every time I'd think nothing could shock me, something did”. In particular:
“The girl was removed from the home because her brother [...] abused her. Brother was still at home. A boy sold for drugs at age 2. A girl forced into [explicit work] by her mother at age 13. A girl who lived in fear as a teen that the [explicit images] her mother allowed taken of her when she was 10 would show up in her future."
"SO many teenage boys given away by their mothers because mom's new boyfriend didn't like the kid. Pregnant at 12 years old by her own father, or uncle as they both [attacked] her regularly. Two failed adoptions because the child "had too many problems" so adoptive parents returned them (like a freakin' pair of pants)."
"A brother and sister SO neglected/ignored that they could barely talk at age 4 and 6."
That same Reddit user also added that two cases shocked her the most.
“A girl of about 12 who had a hearing loss in both ears. It seems her father rammed pencils in her ears when she gave his friends a hard time when they were [attacking] her. She had nightly night terrors. She was sure her father was coming to get her and was on guard every minute of every day. No amount of talk about her father being in prison on the other side of the state helped.”
“The other was a 16 year old was [attacked] by her boyfriend's friends (gang). She said about 10 of them. She ended up with [numerous diseases and terrible scars down there] from trauma. She ran away from foster care. Guess where she ran? Yep, to her boyfriend. When she was found she told me it was okay now because she had "already been done". No one was ever charged or even arrested.”
The Reddit user finished by saying: “I lasted 10 years in the field.”
Another Reddit user whose account has since been deleted remembered their worst cases from being a Texas CPS: “Dead toddler who was [attacked] over the course of a day while mom was at work because she wet her pants. […] Sometimes I see those pictures in my head still.”
The Reddit user continued by recounting a case in which after being asked why he took advantage of his daughter, the Dad replied: "I don't know why".
In another case, a girl's feet were severely mangled by her father's gruesome disciplining. A different father: "[Spewed] hate about cps to anyone who will give him a second but what really happened is he admitted to [hurting] his two young daughters since they were in diapers after children disclosed and were screened at the hospital".
The Reddit user wrapped up by saying: "This job is not for people who think the world is an alright place”.
One Reddit user's story shows that the right people around you can make all the difference. They described in graphic detail the physical abuse an 8-year-old boy had been forced to endure before being rescued by their agency. He was in such a bad state that:
"His arm was broken so badly that it never healed right, and the nerve damage resulted in the need for it to be amputated. The boy spoke with a stutter and was paranoid. […] He was close with his foster family's neighbors and ran away with them when they moved away […] Two years ago I saw him being interviewed on TV. He was shockingly healthy looking, no stutter. I hope he found the peace and love he deserved with the family he ran away with."
Another Reddit user shared two cases:
“I worked with a family where the mother and her two children under the age of 4 were held hostage, savagely [attacked] (at times with loaded firearms), and [...] tortured for a few months before they were able to escape. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget the images of their mangled bodies from that first night I saw them in the ER, barely recognizable as humans. I think the hardest part of that whole story is that the children are in custody and flourishing, but the plan is reunification with the mother who is back with the abuser.
Another time, a little girl was complaining to her teacher about how her "down there" hurts because daddy was rough with her. Turns out daddy admitted he liked to make videos of himself [hurting] his single-digit aged daughter. He planned on showing them to his wife in the event she did not want to [do it] with him."
Sometimes, the state isn’t the only one to fail abused and neglected kids. One Reddit user shared their worst case:
“The father beat the mother regularly and then one of the preschool aged kids said, "Don't beat mom, beat me instead," and the dad did. This happened more than once. The dad [attacked] his daughters. They told their grandmother later they would wear multiple layers of pants in the hopes that it would deter their dad, it didn't.”
From the sounds of it, there is perhaps a good chance that the grandmother got custody of them since they later confided in her. It still doesn’t make sense that no one noticed that they were wearing multiple layers of pants. Not only did the State and the school fail these kids, but so did anyone who may have noticed the weird behaviors without saying anything.
Up there with physical abuse, living in horrendous conditions is another circumstance that CPS workers become accustomed to seeing. Infested mattresses, dilapidated rooms… they have seen it all, as evidenced by this Reddit user:
“One case [...] had a family of four living in a trailer. They had no running water in the house, so they literally [went] in the toilet until it formed a mountain. When that was filled up, they started [going] in the tub. Then when they filled that, they punched a hole into the bathroom floor and [went] into that until it reached the hole. The kids would "bathe" by getting buckets of water dumped over their head from a neighbor's hose. The kids described not liking the showers because "they could feel 'it'" squishing between their toes."
CPS workers do their best, but the system definitely failed the teenage girl in this Reddit user’s story:
“My most interesting case involved a 12 year old girl who was a registered [...] offender. She had molested her siblings and the parents called CPS to ask for help because they weren't sure how to handle it. The girl ended up being charged. I'm not sure why she wasn't given some sort of inpatient treatment program instead (this happened in another state), but she was put on the registry. Her PO called CPS in my state when she and her family moved out here. Poor kid, she wasn't allowed to swim with her siblings, couldn't go to school, couldn't go to the park, her siblings couldn't have friends over, etc.”
Make sure to read this Reddit user’s story until the end:
“My mother’s sister was a CPS and I listened in on a conversation because my aunt was a mess and told her what happened".
The Reddit user went on to describe in graphic details the kind of abuse that the three kids, who were 6, 5 and 1.5-year olds, had to endure at the hands of their own mother and her "useless boyfriend", both of whom were addicted to drugs.
The night that the kids were taken, "The mother came out crying saying she wanted to say good bye my aunt let her, then she 'said her good byes' as she was in the van pretending to hug the kids good bye she slit all their throats then slit her own. Yes all people who abuse their kids should be killed in my opinion.”
Those working in the field of Child Protective Services receive a lot of backlash for seemingly unwarranted investigations. It’s important to remember that in their field, trusting the word of the parents can be a life or death situation for the child. In the case described by this Reddit user though, the baby didn’t even stand a chance:
“Three day old [...] abused by her father. The mother called father to warn him that the police wanted to talk to him. She said she did it because she loved him. They both went to prison. The baby died a couple days after surgery [...]. I don't usually like to discuss this stuff (I want to spare people), but sometimes you just have to tell someone.”
Here’s the thing about child abuse and neglect: it has a higher chance of happening if the parent had been abused themselves. It’s definitely a vicious cycle and the same Reddit user as previously also shared this gruesome case:
“Another girl, mom puts her with a relative when the girl is a toddler. He proceeds to severely abuse her for 10 years. She said she thought the abuse, 'was normal, like brushing your teeth.' Later her mom is murdered and the girl becomes addicted to meth. She had kids and [lost] custody of them.”
One of the biggest myths about sexual abuse is that it only happens at the hands of a stranger. In fact, it’s actually the opposite: 8 out of 10 kids who are abused know the abuser.
Another Reddit user shared their story from a government pilot program:
“I worked with 3 young boys who all came from heartbreaking situations. The first boy was severely neglected and was left in his baby carrier, never held. His head was totally flat on the back from being forgotten. He was 9."
The injustices committed towards the second child, who was 12 years old were so bad that: "He had an operation so he would [pee] through a hole in his abdomen and he wore an adult diaper".
The psychological damage that the third boy, a 5-year-old, will have to live with is perhaps worse of all. Even after being rescued, he ended the lives of newborn puppies in a way that is too terrible to describe, and proceeded to cover himself in their remains.
The Reddit user concluded: "I loved those kids but they were permanently damaged.”
Child Protective Services is hands down one of the most emotionally draining jobs. After seeing the horrors that some of the workers have seen, it can be infinitely hard to believe that a kid merely “fell down the stairs” or is “making it up for attention.”
At the end of the day, CPS workers make the calls based on a multitude of factors, but in particular to avoid the kind of situation described by this Reddit user:
“Dead babies. This always has been and always will be the answer to this question. The worst thing I have ever encountered in my job is dead babies. It is something you never get used to.”
Out of all the children investigated by CPS, up to 80% are deemed non-victims. Nearly one million are abused or neglected and more than a thousand kids die each year.