As seen on WhatToExpect.com…
“I absolutely think it neglect to have a child in a filthy house, because I was a victim of it.
My mother was/is clinically depressed and she hardly ever cleaned. I can remember being little (4,5,6) and going weeks or more with out of bath. She never made sure I brushed my teeth or hair.My hair would become so matted and knotted up from not being taken care of that it would take my mothers at least an hour to comb it out. I can remember it hurting so bad I would scream and cry. My mother would then get mad at me, telling me it was my fault and that I should have brushed it. Again I was 4-6 years old and she had NEVER cut my hair I could sit on it!
She did laundry once every few months and would only wash a load or 2. Our clothes would pile up in the floor along with trash (including food. We never had clean dishes, they would just fester and mold in the sink. We had every bug imaginable, roaches, flies, gnats, and in one place we lived RATS! We kept having to move over and over again because we would get kicked out because the landlord would find out the condition of the place.
Every 6 months or so, my mom would go on a crazy cleaning spree and scrub everything in the house, then let it get disgusting again.
The only reason I know how to properly take care of myself is my grandmother. She taught me how to care for my hair, and how to clean house.She was the exact opposite of my mother. She cleaned her whole house top to bottom everyday. I moved in with her when I was 13 because I couldn’t handle living with my mother anymore.
It could be argued that I was cared for which I was). I had food and shelter. I was taken to the doctor when I was sick. I had clothes and toys, I wasn’t in danger. I’m alive today, so it didn’t cause any physical harm, but I was neglected.
I don’t know how I feel about children being removed from homes like the one I grew up in. On one hand I remember how angry I am that I grew up that way and I don’t think any child deserves to be in a home like that. However on the other hand, I did/still do love my mother and I think being taken from her would have done more harm that good, to us both.
This situation is tricky for me.”
So how does CASA deal with a situation such as this? CASA tries to remember to look at the child holistically. Is this all the child has known? Is it causing irreparable harm to the child? Is there a great risk of harm if the conditions were to go unfixed? Is the harm of removing a child from their home or keeping a child from their biological parent’s home greater than letting the child continue to grow and develop there? Are the child’s other needs; food, language and sensory development, social being met within this environment? Like we often have to tell new trainees, there is no easy answer. What are the underlying causes? Do Mom and Dad (or one or the other) simply need to learn how to keep house appropriately? Are drugs/frequent sleeping/unstable habits to blame? Are the parents rarely home because they work so much or work odd hours? All of this and more needs to be taken into consideration. Remember, the parents are providing the minor with a home. They are providing a child with stuff; clothes, food, furniture. Those are positives.
Look below at the CASA training exercise. Can you identify some positives in this picture? To help you we’ll name three; 1) there is food in the home. 2) it appears the medicine is placed out of reach of the baby. 3) both healthy food and toys are available to the children. Can you come up with ten others on your own?