I know someone who, I believe, is raising her child in a less than ideal environment. However I guess I need some perspective as to whether this is worth reporting. If I do report this person, it would get very messy. If I do report her I would hope that Community Services would help her and give her support to be a good parent like she wants to be. She always wanted children so her actions confuse me.
She is a single Mum who grew up in an abusive home complete with domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce which eventually led to her family living in a refuge in poverty. She didn't have an easy childhood.
Her child is a toddler. A gorgeous baby. Very mobile and inquisitive. The father of the child is not in the picture. I don't know the full story but the relationship never really got started and by the time she fell pregnant, it was shaky. They split during the early stages of the pregnancy. He has seen the child a few times.
This Mum has a history if drug and alcohol abuse and depression. This stopped during the pregnancy. But picked up when the bub was very young (weeks old). Daily alcohol and marijuana use is the norm, as well as other drugs outside of the house (cocaine, ecstasy etc). She works in an alcoholic environment and has admitted to using hard drugs at work.
She lives in a very toxic environment with her Mother who emotionally abused her own children and is a marijuana user. She also lives with her sister who uses marijuana daily, abuses alcohol and has a strong mental health history of depression and borderline personality disorder. In the household there is a brother who apparently has kicked his habits but is still a social or occasional drug and alcohol user. And there is a niece who is 18 who is addicted to marijuana, alcohol, prescription medications and has anxiety disorders.
There are regular fights in the home. Yelling, swearing and threats of violence. There has been violence between the sisters, brother and Grandmother in the past. The police have removed the mother from the home one night when she was too under the influence and dangerous to be at home with the baby after an argument with the sister and grandmother. The mother has told me that she has had to sit in a park with the baby for the day as she cannot be at home because of the fighting and threats. The family have at different times had AVO's on each other.
When the mother was pregnant and while x was a baby they were selling drugs from the house. I have been told that this has now stopped.
They all love this baby dearly but all care for the child while under the influence. The Grandmother and sister with the mental health issues have primary care of the baby. the mother of the child has admitted to me that she can only really meet the child's basic needs ("x is fed and clothed, but I cannot interact with x").
When the two of them have been at our home we have witnessed her fall asleep and leave the child unattended. We've heard her scream at x to shut and called x degrading names, but then try to laugh it off with bub like its a joke. X just looks confused. We have seen her fly off the handle, cryng and screaming in her phone like a lunatic. The baby has appeared scared.
The child has minimal language at nearly two. There are no boundaries, no sleep time or regular sleep area (the mother has said that baby will sleep where x falls asleep). The child is well fed - it keeps x quiet. The mother and the rest of this family leave foxtel on for x all day and tv is the Carer.
These people present really well. The house is feral with hoarded junk everywhere and rubbish, dirty dishes and food all over the kitchen. But when they feel threatened, they will all clean for 12 hours straight and put on their best faces when they need to. They are articulate and very good at pretending. They are actually good friends with people who work in child protection in foster care! Very concerning but these people work for a less than reputable agency.
While I don't think that this child is in immediate danger of sexual abuse, physical abuse etc I have concerns about x's supervision, development and the baby's exposure to the many volatile situations in that home. The mother is obviously not coping, but when I have talked to her about my concerns she gets defensive and says that as a single mother she has to live at home as she cannot afford to leave (she's in her late twenties).
Now I know that he is not in danger of physical or sexual abuse. But I am asking for some perspective on what you think this child's main issues are so I can decide in the appropriate course of action. THanksin advance.