The social worker from Administration from Children Services (ACS) kept calling. She was eager to close the case and get the file with the allegations from the rage-fueled off her desk. (See: Are All Fathers Created Equal? Not Really)
I was happy my nightmare was coming to an end but irked that taxpayer money was spent investigating me when somewhere there was a child locked in a closet or being denied food. Every year in New York another child makes headlines for dying at the hands of his parents. The common thread running through all these cases is that there was horrific abuse that occurred over a prolonged period because ACS dropped the ball.
The caseworker arrived at 6:00 as she said she would.
“You have a hard job,” I said, while quickly removing the clutter from the kitchen counter. “I don’t think I could do your job.”
I was being sincere. I’d be crying buckets and bringing the kids home to live with me.
“Sorry for the mess,” I apologized. I hate people seeing my apartment dirty.
“This place is immaculate compared to some of the places I’ve seen,” she said. “We’re talking hoarders”
The thought of being in a hoarder’s apartment gave me the heebie-jeebies.
Fascinated with her job I had to refrain from being overly inquisitive. I was also curious to know what Jose said about me, though I knew his rhetoric well. “She’s a career woman who knows nothing about raising a child. She leaves Savannah with a babysitter while she’s a work. Sometimes Savannah is with a babysitter for hours, yadda yadda yadda….”
“We get all kinds of wacky calls,” she confided, warming up to me. “Someone called to say there were children wandering around Whole Foods unsupervised. What people don’t realize that unless there is clear cut signs of abuse there’s not much we can do.”
That’s my ex.
“I thought you were going to help me,” he apparently whined to the caseworker, urging her to take drastic action. “She yells at our daughter.”
Horrible, I know.
He also admitted to the caseworker that he overacted. What he didn’t say, though, is that he had been waiting and plotting this moment for years, so pounced when he sensed the slightest opening. Later, he did a victory dance as watched the ACS circus unfold.
It was so stupid what he did. As I learned, if the caseworker truly suspected abuse, Savannah have gone first to a shelter, while they investigated him. She will also now have an ACS file that will follow her for the next 10 years.
“Please explain all that to him when you meet with him again,” I urged the caseworker.