Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Teeth

Toothbrush, photo taken in SwedenImage via WikipediaDoodle has a dentist appointment today.
It's been planned for months, but we don't have a choice about it.
Here's why. A few weeks ago at school they had a routine dental check at school. We got a letter home saying we could opt out if we returned the form, otherwise Doodle's teeth would be checked. I wasn't remotely concerned about this. He has been to the dentist. His teeth were fine in the summer. We brush regularly, and I do my parental duty of making sure all the teeth are brushed. I'm not saying I was cocky about the school check. I just didn't really think about it.
Until.
I got a letter from our health department saying that my child's teeth were in need of a check up. To say I was a little annoyed at the letter is an understatement. It was worded in such a way that it was implied I don't take care of my kid's teeth. And, it included check boxes to indicate the problems they found with my child's teeth.
Except they forgot to check the box.
So, given that I had received such a formal letter written in such an urgent way that I insisted I rush my child to a dentist I was a little nervous. Especially since they forgot to tell me what they'd see. (and they had told Doodle he had "twenty beautiful teeth" - wtf?)
I called my dentist's office. They said not to worry, to keep my regular appointment and call to let the health department know the date of the appointment in order to stop any further letters, and also to find out what box should have been checked off.
So, I did.
And, after dealing with several people and finally getting a phone call back a not-so-friendly woman let me know that they had seen tooth decay. And . AND. I HAD BETTER GO TO THE DENTIST SOON OR THEY WOULD BE IN TOUCH WITH CHILDREN'S AID.
What????
This has been bothering me a lot.
The more I think about it, the more it angers me.
I'm a good mom. Both of my children are up to date on their needles. My son has never missed school. I feed them organics, for goodness sakes. And, yet, because my son has tooth decay I could be reported to the Children's Aid? Seriously?
I hate that fact that because I let him have his teeth checked I could be on the radar of a child protective agency.
I know it's a small thing. I know that once I take him to the dentist today I'll get the form signed and sent back. In fact, I may even send it registered so I KNOW that it has gone back.
But really ...
Doesn't the health department have bigger things to worry about than the fact that my kid has tooth decay?
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10 comments:

Steph said...

This is very strange. I would send a letter to the principal and the school board. I suspect you encountered a crazy public health nurse who needs a clarification from her boss about her role and scope of practice. Tooth decay is not a sign of neglect or any of the other reasons where the CAS should even be mentioned or in this case threatened to you. What a terrible experience for you! Maybe your dentist can put something snarky in their confirmation letter.

Don Mills Diva said...

That's the craziest thing I've ever heard! I only WISH all the children in this province were so well cared for that the Children's Aid could spend its time investigating cases of tooth decay! You should tell the paper about this - they'd have a field day!

Badness Jones said...

That happened to a friend of mine - her teeth were checked at school and Children's Aid was called. I'm glad that an agency exists to be a watchdog for children, but it is as badly run as the rest of the government. Another friend works for CAS, and he told me that their workers carry those shoe covers that some delivery men use - they have to cover their feet to enter some of the houses they let children live in. So why are they harrassing children with cavities? Unfortunately, some kids just have weaker enamel!

Hugs!

Badness Jones said...

Her DAUGHTER's teeth, I mean.

Jenn said...

Wow that makes me mad just reading about it!

SciFi Dad said...

That is bizarre! I mean, I can understand them sending a recommendation to see a dentist... that's what the program is for, to alert you to things you may not notice. But to refuse to give you details, and threaten to call Children's Aid?!?

PhatDaddy said...

The sad part of this is that we had the option to NOT participate in the screening by signing the form.. So the question is, how many children who actually do need CAS to get invloved slip thru the cracks? What kind of messed up system is this? Do the (responsible thing) screening and be on CAS radar... Don't be responsible, no worries.. Messed up.

Haley-O said...

that is APPALLING, LD! I'm so sorry you've had to go through that. It's INSANE. Seriously, ((big hug)). You don't deserve that at all. There are mothers doing CRACK in front of their children!

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

BRUTAL!!!

Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine works for Children's Aid.
Let me just assure you that CAS would NEVER investigate a call about tooth decay. They deal with so much sickening abuse on a daily basis - honestly, they would probably laugh at that call.