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Dad Calls CPS On Ex-Wife After His Kids Came Home With Old Clothes, Sparking Debate

Photo: Liderina / Shutterstock
Dad with kids playing

A man's choice to call Child Protective Services about concerns he had for his children has sparked debate online.

The man shared his story to Reddit’s r/AITA to ask if what he did was wrong. In the subreddit, users vent about a dilemma their facing in their lives — usually one that has gotten them in trouble with people in their lives.

The man said he contacted child services on his ex-wife after his kids came home with tattered clothes.

The concerned dad begins his post by saying that he married his ex-wife at the age of 18 and remained married for fifteen years. “We have two children together, a boy and a girl. My kids are everything to me and even after our divorce, I make sure to be present in their lives.” 

They have shared custody of their children, he sees them three days a week while his ex sees them four times. He wants to increase his time to spend more time with his kids but his ex-wife will not allow it. He is allowed visit them whenever they want him to, since he's nearby, and he says he pays a substantial amount in child support because he is relatively well-off and wants them to have a good life.

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However, he noticed his kids weren't getting new clothes.

When I picked them up, I noticed they were wearing some old clothes, which didn't seem like a problem, they were just home before I got them, so I thought they were just in what they felt comfortable," he writes.

When he got home, he unpacked their bags and noticed that most of the things they packed were also in bad condition. So, he decided to ask his daughter about it. “She told me that her mother said they couldn’t buy new clothes because she was saving up,” the father explained. 

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He decided to go out and buy his kids all new clothing but was still concerned about it, and after talking to his brother about the ordeal, he decided to call CPS and alert them about the situation.

When his ex-wife called him, she was enraged, saying she was saving the child support money he had been giving but never told him what for.

His mother and father said he should’ve talked to his ex first, but now he’s asking the public for advice in the situation. 

People were divided about how the man should have reacted.

Many had questions about whether or not this was a once-off situation, arguing that the father could have spoken to his ex first before contacting CPS. But others pointed out that, despite their reputation, CPS exists to intervene in these kinds of concerns. 

"I don’t think a lot of people here realize what CPS does," reads the top comment on the post. "I’m an elementary school teacher so I’m fairly familiar with CPS and it’s not like they are some child police who rip families apart."

"They actually have a lot of great resources and home visits can be incredibly helpful and shouldn’t be frowned upon. You absolutely did the right thing by contacting CPS."

In situations like these, it's important to remember that CPS exists to ensure the wellbeing of children. While the dad's actions caused serious tension, they also shed light on an issue that he felt needed attention. Open and respectful communication, especially in situations involving the welfare of children, are ideal when you can, but that is not always possible if you have a contentious co-parenting situation. By addressing concerns constructively, families can often find solutions that benefit everyone involved.

The ultimate goal should always be the best interest of the children, and while the path to achieving that goal may be challenging, it's a path worth pursuing for their wellbeing and peace of mind.

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Kurtis Condra covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics for YourTango. He is also a poet based in San Francisco, California.