Poor living conditions at bio mum's house(101 Posts)
My step daughter (SD) is 8 years old and me and her dad have been together 3 years, married 1 and now have a 4 month old. She lives with us 4 days a week and her mother 3.
I have recently been to her mother's house to pick something up and was completely appalled at the state of her kitchen (which is all I saw). This is a new build house that is only 18 months old. The windows are so badly dirty, you can see the marks at the bottom of the driveway. She has dirty dishes lying all over the place, the units are grimey and covered in crumbs, there's bits of rubbish all over the place and the back wall is just a mountain of laundry (not sure if it's clean, dirty or both!) During the summer my SD won't go in the kitchen due to all the flies everywhere. Her lunch is put loose in her lunch box, which would be fine, if it was cleaned out, but it never is, same with her water bottle. She often is left to drink things that are days old. She tells us she can't even make cereal for herself because she doesn't know where anything is kept (Inc milk) as nothing is put away.
I have been told (by both my husband, SD and other family that have been there) that the rest of the house is the same and in places even worse, with the bath water being left in so long it's gotten slimey and there is a perminent pinkish line around the bath from the dirty water. There is often no toilet roll or soap. When she is bathed at our house there is always a layer of dirt left in the bath afterwards.
Her clothes have never come back clean and she has marks in her collar from the dirty coming off her neck. When her mother has washed things, they often come back the wrong colour. There are no coat hangers and I doubt she even has a wardrobe. Several times my SD has fallen due to clothes and other things strewn all over the house. My SD doesn't know where her underwear is to change it herself so often has to wear dirty for days on end and frequently returns with stains both front and back of her undies. Her socks are always brown on the bottom from walking across the floors. When my SD was 6 she came back in knickers aged 2-3 and often other items of clothing too small for her (she is above her age for clothes). This week she has this week returned in a skirt 4 inches to small in the waist, which was bought from a charity shop and not washed before she wore it.
They have a house cat. Shortly after moving into the house the cat was locked away in my SD's bedroom and has used her bed and teddies as a litter tray, so my SD sleeps in with her half naked mother. The cat's actual litter tray is overflowing and barely changed.
We don't let her take any toys to her mothers as everything gets lost, including her school books.
Add into this that her mother smokes and she comes back stinking of cigarettes.
She also keeps her off school sometimes because she can't be bothered to wake her up. She has no bedtime and quite often leaves to visits her Aunty at 9pm.
My SD has undiagnosed tichrochillamania (compulsive hair pulling out) which is not helped by the two polar opposite lives she lives.
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Is this enough to report to the authorities, and which authorities do we call? I have had enough of trying to battle my step daughter into a routine and we feel it's 1 step forwards with us and 2 back with her mother.
No need for "bio-mum", you aren't the child's adoptive mother.
What has her father done so far?
Does she have any physical or mental illness that you know of?
Your husband needs to step in here, do they have an amicable relationship in that he could speak to her?
I think trying to help would be the first port of call before reporting her.
Take this advice as its meant; I've been there, step back, love her and care for her while she is with you. Everything else is out of your control. My step kids live in similar circumstances and the school, social, cafcass etc have all downplayed it. They just don't care. I made myself ill worrying about the kids. Then I realised, if their own mother isn't making herself ill with worry, why am I?
I have a niece living in similar circumstances with her alcoholic mother. We went as far as not returning her home after we had her for the weekend and she talked us through the horrific neglect and suffering. School were aware, GP was aware, social services had been contacted many, many times. It got to court and niece was immediately returned to her Mother. No discussion, no provisions, nothing.
The despair will eat away at you if you let it. Accept what you cannot control, focus on what you can do.
It's unfair, you have my sympathies. Some people should not be allowed to parent, but they do.
I wouldn't let a child live in these conditions and just go 'meh' and step back
Your husband needs to be stepping up here. Can he speak to her? Can you have this little girl for an extra day or two? Can you speak to SS or the school or access other support for her mother?
Can you try having her full time? You say she is 4 days out of 7 with you so that's a lot..maybe her mother won't mind less time as it sounds she is struggling massively...
Also- you say SD has marks from dirt on her neck..presumably she baths when at yours, surely she doesn't get that dirty in 3 days?
Some of what you describe in your OP is neglect. Report to SS. Google "Children's Services" and your area and it should appear. With any luck they will be able to offer your SD's mother some support to improve things.
Have you asked to have her full time?
Has anyone spoke to her about the living conditions?
This is neglect and I would inform social services.
The child can't thrive or live a healthy live at her mums.
Report her, maybe they can address it and get her help. Help to clean up manage then a weekly cleaner.
The is awful for the poor child so do not feel
Bad in the slightest for reporting her
She tells us she can't even make cereal for herself because she doesn't know where anything is kept (Inc milk) as nothing is put away.
Does she ask her mum? What is her reply when asked where things (panties, etc) are?
Also the child does need help (and possibly mum too). Reporting this would help so that she either lives with her dad (and you and baby) full time or her mum gets some help so she can better take care of her DD.
Has you dSd been referred to Cahms re the hair pulling?
Does her mum have mental health problems? a chaotic home can be a huge sign of someone struggling, is it something new or has it always been like this? It sound like your DSD dad needs to do something re the situation.
This could be speaking to her mum with concerns, presumably this has been already with no success? If so next step for me would be contacting social services. I’d also speak to the safeguarding lead at DSD school and explain the situation to them, they might have picked up on things already. School will be involved if for instance DSD goes on a child in need plan or if it’s referred to the early help team so I’d involve them from the offset.
Their df needs to ring ss. And apply for full custody.. Today.
It sounds awful.
Is there a court order.
Will dad be able to intervene ? Is she struggling getting help . Could she spend evenings at mums but come home to sleep and clean clothes.
My husband has tried talking to her, but she doesn't listen to him or my SD. He is doing everything he can, without contacting the authorities.
We tried to have her more days but her mum doesn't like it as she claims full child benefits and so makes things very difficult.
When she is with us she is bathed on the day she gets here and the day before she goes home and in between if needed (she would be bathed every day if it was down to me).
Tichrochillamania (which I think is how you spell it) is a mental health problem but she is also at times very anxious and depressed.
SS were involved at the start of the year but as they asked her new school (where she had been for a week) they didn't find anything of concern (of course!). Is there any way of getting them to go round to the house, rather than just ask the school?
Ahh sorry cross post. If you've explored other options the only thing left to do is contact SS and apply for full custody.
I hope it all goes well. Your DSD will still be able to see her mum I'm sure but she'll have a better life wi tv you and her dad
You need to speak to someone in Social Services or the NSPCC instead if her father wont do it. This is neglect and will be impacting on her physical and emotional wellbeing as well as her education. I dint understand how her own father can send her back to that environment.
Her mother may well need help and support and this can be offered but if things are as bad as you say (and in fairness, not every issue you raise is a safeguarding concern on its own) your sd needs someone to protect her.
Ugh, I couldn’t allow myself to be married or have a child with someone who enables this.
That poor little girl.
so bio dad is doing what, exactly? it is up to him to deal with it, if he considers it needs dealing with. I would be careful about stuff such as lines round the bath because how could you know and how could you really know how it's happened. I would also be careful with the deliberately inflammatory 'half naked mother' because plenty of people sleep naked. If you are making an accusation, make it and back it up with evidence you have seen with your own eyes or using words your DSD has told you.
I should say that the threshold for Social Services intervention is generally very high. Some people are messy. It can be classed as parenting difference.
Can I ask why you have so much involvement with her personal care too? Like baths, knickers etc?
Even from being with your partner a year you’ve had mass involvement with this.
Actually, it sounds like you’re the only person caring for her.
If it’s this bad, then it’s time for outside help, and maybe an application for full residence.
Why the fuck do you make this poor child go back there if the conditions are so bad?
Why haven't you contacted social services about it? You realise that by doing nothing you are condoning and contributing to the neglect. Everyone that knows about this and is turning a blind eye should be ashamed of themselves.
The mother obviously needs help, but the priority in this needs to be the child. Next time you have her, keep her and don't make her go back. When police or SS ask, tell them why. FFS. It's not hard.
But what is he actually "doing"
If this was my child, and I'm pretty sure most people would agree, they wouldn't be returning to that house?!?
Why would you willingly allow your child to return to a home with animal shit, dirty underwear and basic food needs not being met.
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