My 95-year-old dad has a huge apartment and his caregiver and her 9-year-old daughter have been living with him for 3 years. The mom is very strict with her daughter, but caring with my stepdad, and they have a good relationship. Last week, I heard that Child Protective Services came and got the kid after the caregiver *burned* her intentionally with a hot fork. The mother said her daughter was being disrespectful and she was teaching her a lesson. Then Friday the police came and arrested the mom (I was not informed), leaving my dad unattended all day till I got home from work at 10pm. I've been calling replacement caregivers all day. About an hour ago, a friend of the mother called me and said she has made bail and will be out either tomorrow or Monday. But now, despite the good history till this incident, I am not sure I want her in here; if she can turn against her daughter, can she turn against my dad? However, all of her stuff is here. And her dog. How do I approach getting her out? I have power of attorney for my dad's affairs but how should I handle this? I have never seen any evidence of her being violent with him - and I do look; but this whole thing is so disconcerting. Should I give her a second chance or get rid of her? I am hearing all of these facts second hand, but I see online that she's been charged with 2nd degree Assault.

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You're entirely justified in not wanting her in the apartment again. Not only would I be concerned about her mistreating her daughter again, but also that she might turn on your father.

Did you check for past criminal actions, or with the Juvenile Court to see if she's done this before? Child abusers can often display indications of physical abuse before a really violent incident, so I wonder if this has been going on but you were unaware of it.

In addition, and I'm just speculating here, you don't want you or your father to be involved on any level if she turns on the daughter again.

You have constructive knowledge of her child abuse. Knowingly allowing her in your father's apartment, especially if she is convicted, might put you in a position of theoretically condoning potential elder abuse, as well as any future charges of child abuse.

And if she is convicted, she won't be available anyway. Her child would probably be put in foster care. If she's given probation, you then have a convicted felon caring for your father. That could be construed as potential elder abuse by APS.

And realistically, I would REALLY be concerned about your father.

If you have a contract with her, check the termination clauses to see what the bases are, and write a letter of termination. If you're concerned she might retaliate, ask the police if they could be present when she removes her possessions.

Since she's been there 3 years, you'll probably have to issue an eviction notice.

It wouldn't hurt to get advice from not only the police but a landlord tenant attorney. Just make sure your father isn't alone when she removes her things, and that she gets everything so she has no excuse to come back.
Helpful Answer (10)

Burned her daughter with a hot fork to chastise her for being disrespectful.


That was a bit nuts of her, whichever way you look at it. But define burned, define hot, and then consider whether you yourself think the consequences have, so far, been entirely proportionate.

Three of those consequences are that:

a nine year old child has been removed from a stable home and is now in the care system, God help her.

a woman you personally know to be of previous good character has been arrested and charged with assault.

a 95 year old man was left unattended, while the authorities present in the home raised not a finger to inform his family or make provision for his care.

You need to know a *lot* more about what has happened before you rush to judgement on the mother. But meanwhile, of course, your priority must be your father's wellbeing.


First of all, source alternative care for your father. Would it be possible in the short-term, for example, for you to stay at his house overnight and have agency caregivers coming in during the day?

Once that's under control, talk to the woman. Have there been other concerns raised about her daughter's welfare? Have you yourself ever before considered her parenting to be over-disciplinarian or in any way abusive? What *exactly* happened with this fork incident, and how did it come to the authorities' attention?

Until you have a clear first-hand account of what has happened, do take steps to ensure your father's continuing care but don't join in what could be a destructive witch-hunt.

Is your father very upset by what has happened? It really bothers me that no thought seems to have been given to him at all; and even though obviously CPS have their own priorities that doesn't mean they couldn't manage one measly phone call, for heaven's sake. It raises a question mark in my mind about the calibre and attitudes of the team at work, here.
Helpful Answer (10)

Wow, twisted, what a difficult situation. I gather you are certain about the charge.
Think about it. Do you really want someone who has been charged with 2nd degree assault looking after a family member? She harmed her own child. I think I would get legal advice about giving her notice of the end of her job, about the end of her living arrangement and about disposing of her belongings. I know so far there is just a charge not a conviction, but I gather there is little, if any, doubt, that she is guilty.

Was she hired privately or through an agency? Wishing you luck in finding a replacement quickly.
Helpful Answer (9)

I agree with everyone's opinion. Maybe she'll never touch your father but she's demonstrated a serious lack of judgement at the very least. I'd get her as far away from you and your dad as you can. You don't want to get caught up in all of that.

I used to work in hospice and I now I work with HIV/AIDS patients and everywhere I go either to work or to volunteer I am subject to a background check. Not only would I never abuse anyone but I would never do anything to compromise my clean record. This caregiver obviously doesn't care about her record and I'd get a person like that away from my father as fast as I could.

And she abused her daughter! It wasn't a little tap on the butt to make a point, she burned her daughter intentionally. That's scary. Have someone with you when she clears her stuff out. I don't think you'll need an attorney to get her out of there when you have her police record.
Helpful Answer (7)

Or the arrest could be about something else all together.

Further, I can't imagine a police department that would arrest a person who was on the job caring for a vulnerable adult not making a call to social services, at the very least, to alert someone to the fact that he was being left alone

I'm very cautious about this post, because what is being reported here seems to have been gathered from social media, and perhaps from a dementia patient and a "friend" of the person "arrested".

I would call an agency and get a temporary caregiver until you get this sorted.  

With facts.

The whole story sounds very fishy to me. 
Helpful Answer (6)

This will go on for quite some time with CPS, the mother needing attorneys fees, court appearances, etc. A desperate time for her, and stressing your Dad out, perhap demanding money.
Fire her.
If at all possible, put her belongings in storage, pay the first month, tell her not to return
because she is fired. Give her a second chance? To do what, may I ask?

Do all this swiftly, and legal, consulting an eviction attorney.

Is your Dad at all involved-a witness to the abuse? Lawyer.  All they have to do is change the child's mind to say your Dad did this.  A child of nine is very pliable.  There is very dangerous liability there.  imo.  It doesn't have to be true, they just have to say it.

Ask your Dad to make a clean break.

Now, about the dog......
Helpful Answer (5)

Change the locks.

Tell the friend to come and get the dog.  And ask the friend to pass on the information not to return to Dad's apartment.

Are you living there too?  If not,  could you stay with him, while you pack up the caregiver's things?

Can you call APS to intervene and get him some help, or keep the caregiver away?
Helpful Answer (4)

CM raises some good points about verifying the charges.

Assuming CPS took the child to the hospital for treatment of the burn, there would have been photos taken as well as the medical reports initiated by the hospital, which the police would be able to access.

Hospital staff are mandated reporters. Those are probably the primary criteria for charges being pressed against the mother.
Helpful Answer (4)

Get her out! She can no longer be trusted.

It would be interesting to know what your father thinks?
Helpful Answer (3)

Took her to hospital?

How badly would you have to burn yourself to believe it required hospital treatment? I mean, what are we thinking here? That she heated the fork on a gas ring and branded the child for life? Or that she took the child's dinner fork out of her hot supper and held it against the back of her hand?

CPS might well, and quite properly, have taken her to hospital for a forensic examination, though, and perhaps found other grounds for suspecting abuse - who knows?

Or it could be that the child was engaged in a show and tell at school and was overheard by a mandated reporter, and the following sequence of events echoes the pattern above: an instant response that this woman is not fit to set foot in the same house as a 95 year old she's spent three years devotedly looking after.

We just don't know.
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