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please advise me what to do - mindees mum leaves her 18 month home alone

(47 Posts)
woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 16:29:20

I have suspected for a long time that she does. She walks past my house to drop her older child off at the bus stop. She is a lives alone most of the time but sometimes her partner is there. I childmind her youngest daughter who is 18 months old. I start work officially for her at 8am, at 8.15 she either arrives with the baby and then carries on, or, I see her walk past without the baby. For some time I had suspected the baby was on her own but then one day when I thought it was the case I then later saw her partner there so thought I should stop jumping to conclusions. However, the other week she dropped the child off late and so I asked if she had left her alone. She told me that yes she had and she said she was fine. I said was she asleep and she said no she was watching telly. I said are you not worried she might hurt herself, she replied in a very relaxed and unashamed manner, no, i shut the gate, she doesnt move. I felt fuming and all I could bring myself to say at the time was 'well, i vertainly would never leave a child alone, it would worry the life out of me'. Since then she has continued to leave her on her own. She has even waved at me through the window as she walks past. I am worrying myself stupid over it. I know I have an obligation to do something about it but i'm not entirely sure the right way to do it. In other ways she seems a good Mother. On the other hand, I saw her last week and she came to the door as I walked past and we had a pleasant conversation. I asked where the baby was and she said she was in the bath. I screamed at her, stop talking to me then and go and sit with her!! She'd left her alone in the bath to talk to me!! I am worried that something is going to happen to her, I ma also concerned as I know I have an obligation to do something about it. Im worried that I already should ahve done something and that I will get into trouble for not doing so. I am also worried aboutthe Mums rection when it all kicks off. Please tell me where to start. What would you do.

3littlefrogs Sun 10-Jul-11 16:32:45

Leaving the child in the bath would be the dealbreaker for me. Ring the HV if you are worried about contacting SS.

StealthPolarBear Sun 10-Jul-11 16:34:28

Yes you must do something! Was she literally in the bath - i.e. surrounded with water?
You can either report her to social services or the police I presume. Do you not get guidance on this as part of being a CM?

TableVamp Sun 10-Jul-11 16:35:04

Mmmm she sounds totally dumb oblivious rather than malicious.

But that doesnt matter as a child's safety is at stake. I would tip to a local HV who can do an visit and run through a few things with her - not sure how'd you do that though confused.

BertieBotts Sun 10-Jul-11 16:36:14

I think you have a duty to report it to social services TBH sad I don't know if you would be able to have a serious word with her first and just say that you know she is a good mum and she would never intend to hurt her DD but that what she is doing is actually illegal and she needs to stop or you will have to get SS involved, because of legal implications to your job, not because you think she's a bad parent.

Is she from another culture or something? It seems bizarre that she would think this is in any way acceptable.

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 16:36:58

no shes not malicious. Shes not dumb though, shes doing a degree at the moment! She is from Africa though and Im wondering if its a cultural thing.

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 16:37:47

cross threads bertiebotts, yes about the cultural thing

BertieBotts Sun 10-Jul-11 16:38:21

Or perhaps yes health visitor would be a good call. There might be a child safety/safety in the home course or something running at the local children's centre - ours does things like this.

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 16:40:48

Right I am definately going to do this, ring the hv tomorrow and make note in my incident book. Ive already got one in there because she came with a burn once.

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 16:41:53

but should i pre warn her or just talk to the hv. the thing is i have expressed my shock about leaving her home alone and it didnt register with her

TableVamp Sun 10-Jul-11 16:42:30

Ah ok the burn seals the deal TBH - i would call both HV AND SS.

BertieBotts Sun 10-Jul-11 16:43:34

If you know she is from a different culture and she's generally a good parent and intelligent etc then the serious chat might be a good first resort, I know you've made comments such as "I would never do X" but that could easily be taken as difference of opinion.

You could frame it by saying that you think she's a great mum and you'd hate for her to get into trouble, but that you're concerned that some things she has been telling you might do. Then go on to explain that it's illegal to leave a young child alone in a house even for a short time, and that you should never leave a child in the bath unattended either.

BertieBotts Sun 10-Jul-11 16:45:35

x=posted again. Expressing shock doesn't necessarily convey "This is completely unacceptable to most people in this country, including the authorities". I think you need to spell it out how serious it is as she clearly doesn't realise, hinting isn't really enough.

rainbowinthesky Sun 10-Jul-11 16:45:41

Not sure where teh dilema is here tbh. It's a call to social services immediately.

Hebrewlass Sun 10-Jul-11 16:51:43

This is neglect , you have a responsibility to inform the police who will inform ss. This is a criminal offence . It is very hard to not justify calling the police and ss. As part of your job it is to safeguard children. If they are doing this at 18 months what will be doing in a few years .

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 10-Jul-11 16:52:06

do you have a local safeguarding board guide?

ours have given us a flow chart to follow

ie you have a concern

write a report

ring the number given on the flow chart

you absolutely must ring and report

so sorry for the child, yes cultural mores may be different but you cannot have this knowledge and not act upon it

pepperrabbit Sun 10-Jul-11 16:53:13

Are you close to anyone at your Surestart Centre? When I was a bit worried about a child at school (a sibling in mid winter with completely bare feet - it was snowing) I mentioned it informally to the lady who runs it, she "knew" the family and contacted their HV to do a quick visit - but as someone else said, they run parenting courses as well.
Leaving them in the bath is unacceptable but difficult to prove - leaving the child alone regularly when awake should be easy to evidence by the HV?

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 17:08:11

its not illegal to leave a child alone in the house though is it?

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 10-Jul-11 17:11:31

no it's not illegal but if the child came to harm then there would be repercussions for the parents

have a dig for the guidance,you might find it on your county council website somewhere; if you can't find it then ring your Early Years team in the morning

part of why I am pushing you this way is to protect YOU iyswim

Hebrewlass Sun 10-Jul-11 17:15:58

Yes it is illegal - please trust me I am in a profession to know it's illegal ! It comes under the offence of child neglect .

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 10-Jul-11 17:21:01

it's not illegal but an offence when doing so puts the child at risk of harm

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 17:23:23 not sure about ringing the police and ss to be honest, is this not a bit ott?

RitaMorgan Sun 10-Jul-11 17:24:41

Is actually leaving a child alone illegal Hebrewlass, or is it leaving them in a situation where they could come to harm?

woahthere Sun 10-Jul-11 17:24:55

What do you think if I send her an e-mail saying I have been thinking about what she has been doing and was concerned so had a look into it and found this information, and put a link to that website with it.

RitaMorgan Sun 10-Jul-11 17:26:29

I think you should have a serious chat with the mum, and maybe follow up with an email AND report your concerns to the HV.

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