Safety Planning: here are some conversation starters to help you create your family's safety plan.
- How do we as parents feel about the other parent having overnight dates when our child is present?
- When would it be appropriate for the other parent to meet the new boy/girl friend of the other parent?
- What kind of notice should we as parents give one another when we are:
- Moving another adult into the household?
- Getting engaged/married?
- Having another child?
- Moving our partner's child into the household?
- Who is allowed to drive our child?
- Who is allowed to make medical/emergency decisions for our child?
- Who is allowed to watch our child?
- How do we as parents feel about providing a background check and a copy of the driving record of any adult living in our home with our child?
I'm worried about my child's safety, what can I do?
- Get your child in counseling or therapy. If you think you can't afford it, talk to your child's school. Many schools have on-site or district wide counselors that can help your child.
- Encourage your child to talk to another adult (teacher, coach, etc.) about what is going on. The more adults aware of what is going on, the better.
- Work with your child to identify adults they feel safe with and encourage them to engage those adults whenever they feel unsafe.
- Document your safety concerns. Pay close attention to what are true safety issues vs. those things that are annoying because they are not done your way.
- Contact your lawyer about your safety concerns and ask how to best address them.
- Ask your lawyer if having a Parenting Coordinator assigned to your case would be helpful. In many states Parenting Coordinators are therapists who work with the courts and families to create a solution to a challenge involving a child when the parents can't agree on the best course of action.
- Check local CPS reporting guidelines to see if you need to report the incident.
- Don't interrogate your child about what goes on in their other parent's house. This makes your child feel terrible and it will make it harder for them to share information with you
- Don't encourage your child to keep secrets
- Don't react strongly or say negative things about your child's other parent when your child says something that makes you think they are unsafe. Instead ask your child how s/he is feeing, validate those feelings and let your child know you want to help make things better.
How do I report abuse?
- National Standards for Reporting Abuse
- Every state has different guidelines and procedures, and it can also vary by county within your state. To find the guidelines for where you live, do an internet search on the name of the county where the abuse occurred and CPS. To see Maricopa County, Arizona guidelines, click here: https://www.azdes.gov/dcyf/cps/
Reading List – Helpful articles and books
- Dinosaur Divorce by Marc Brown and Laurie Krasny Brown
- One by Kathryn Otoshi
- Todd Parr Feelings Flash Cards by Todd Parr
- My Stick Family by Natalie June Reilly and Brandi J. Pavese
Background Checks and Identity Verification
National Sex Offender Database