I found out this weekend that my husband’s Ex-wife, who has primary physical custody and lives one county away with her fiance, sometimes leaves their seven year old daughter home alone. Their daughter says her mother got a telephone landline specifically for when she’s left at home, “and she only goes, like, this far away [she indicated about two feet with her hand motions], so if there’s an emergency and I call her, she’ll be home in, like, two seconds.” I could tell that the way she explained it was exactly the way in which it was explained to her.
I haven’t told my husband, because he’ll be even more furious about the situation than I am, and I don’t know that he’d handle it properly. I can’t think of a single situation in which it would be appropriate to leave a seven year old home alone, and I feel that this calls Ex-wife’s mindset and judgement into serious question – we have countless, smaller examples of poor judgement and borderline abuse/neglect, nothing that is particularly egregious as an isolated incident – but put together, they add up to a really hideous life for this poor girl.
My question is, should I call DSS about my step-daughter being left home alone? If so, should I mention any of our other concerns about how she’s cared for? How does DSS go about investigating these things? And should I call the office in this county, or the one in which Ex-wife and daughter live?
Thanks in advance for you advice, and huge thanks to the Rosen Law Firm for this invaluable resource!