May 7th, 2006


Investigating child abuse/neglect

I've checked google and wikipedia on this, and while I've found plenty of lists of the signs of abuse and who to call, I'm having trouble finding details on just how child services works.

An elementary school teacher suspects one of her students is being abused at home; he keeps coming in with bruises, a broken arm, and when he's asked what happened he says his father made him promise not to tell. But he denies that his father's beating him. Is this enough to call in child services? And as a teacher, should she call child services directly, or does she meet with the father first, or does she tell her principal (in which case, does he call the father/child services)? If child services is called in, what kind of action can they take? (I don't want them to take the kid away, because the father isn't beating him, but I want to know how much trouble this teacher can get him into on her suspicion. Just having someone ask the father if he's beaten the boy would suffice, but I don't know whether a teacher would confront him directly or if there are more official channels she would go through.)

Similarly, child services finds two children are being neglected to the point that they need to be taken away from their parents. How does this work? Can they just come to the door one day and take the kids away? Do the parents go to court? Where do the kids go immediately - as in before long-term arrangements can be made - and are siblings kept together?

Thanks in advance.
elegant lady

Deep South US superstitions...source?

Allright. Old southern (United States) superstitions.

1) Wash your clothes on New Year's Day and you wash for a funeral i.e. someone will die within the year

and the REALLY interesting one

2) To keep away a witch, place a number of needles (amount uncertain but it was my understanding it was to correspond with the number of members of the said witch's family) in one's front yard and uh...pee on them?

I've done some googling and am trying to find the sources of said superstitions and any more details pertaining to them such as cultures with similar beliefs, variations on these superstitions and so forth. I find both fascinating and would love to include them in a story of some sort but I'd like to know their background more thoroughly first.
Crookshanks (curious)

"Suspicion" of suicidal behavior; costs of class trip abroad in 2000?

OK, I have a character who is a high school junior around the time of the Columbine shootings, in a relatively wealthy suburban school district.

She's a good student, is not incredibly popular but has some good friends and a boyfriend, and is a bit of an oddball. She doesn't get along tremendously well with her mother or one of her younger siblings, but she has two other younger siblings she's pretty close to (father is not in the picture).

What she decidedly is NOT is suicidally depressed. However, for some reason there is a teacher who thinks she is and who reports this to a guidance counselor (and possibly to her mother as well, I haven't decided yet) and is generally oversolicitous and annoying.

She likes dark colors, but isn't a stereotypical Goth (or a stereotypical anything other than possibly "brain"). She's not deliberately going out of her way to shock anyone, mostly because she's smart enough to know that calling unnecessary attention to herself is counterproductive to what she wants out of life. So I don't want this to be an appearance-type issue - no pentacles, black fingernails, hair dyed weird colors, oddball piercings, or anything like that.

I'm thinking perhaps that she is (on her own time in a study hall) reading something that raises alarm bells, but again, nothing stereotypical - no Anarchist's Cookbook type things, and probably not The Bell Jar either. I want something that could, given current events, raise alarm bells with a somewhat paranoid teacher but specifically without it being a matter of "OMG they're persecuting me because I'm a Goth!"

EDIT: I think I'm going with the "thinks she can't afford the French class trip" route. The trip is planned for the next year. In 2000, about how much would a student be expected to pay for a one-week trip to Europe as part of a language class, and what sorts of fundraising would be available, and how much "spending money" would kids from a relatively well-off background take along with them? I want her to be able to go in the end, but for it to be an ongoing worry for her as to whether or not she can "afford" to go.
Naughty no good cheating Bush

Date rape drugs and S.T.I's

Hi, I'm writing a story where a character has been date raped after her drink is spiked. Wikipedia isn't offering much help on what the drugs are like ie how easy they are to hide in alcohol and side effects. Also it doesn't say what she'd feel like the next morning.

Part two of this is that she contracts genital herpes from him and it's found that he never used a condom (she's on the pill anyway). I need to know more than just the fact that she will have sores.

The character is eighteen and is from Glasgow, Scotland (where I'm from) but information relating to anywhere would be fantastic

how many ways can you dislocate your shoulder?

Basically, I want to know how you dislocate your shoulder. What way does your arm have to go? I've read up on basics, treatment, etc. at WebMD, but I'd like some personal stories, if possible, on how one dislocates a shoulder, what it feels/looks like, etc. Can you feel the difference between a break and a dislocation?

I'm writing a story in which one of my characters dislocates his shoulder during, er, rough sex (his partner has superstrength, if it seems too improbable otherwise). The character has advanced healing powers (he heals in about half or one third the time as a normal person), so would it be advisable for him to try to pop it back in himself before seeking professional medical help? He actually has a fair amount of experience with injuries, so it's probable that he might know how to set it himself, although of course he'd go to a doctor anyway.

The character's in his early thirties, white male, average weight and height, healthy, etc. He's had quite a few previous injuries--you could say he's kind of accident-prone--but no permanent damage from any of them, probably due to the advanced healing.

Thanks, and let me know if you need any more information.

EDIT: I've gotten some great responses about what you should and shouldn't do when your shoulder's been dislocated, but what about the dislocation itself? Anyone have any great personal stories about how you dislocated your shoulder and what it felt like? I'm fortunate enough to have never experienced any sort of major personal injury. **knocks on wood**

EDIT 2: Thanks, I think I have everything I need now! But, you know, feel free to contribute more stories if you want; they're all fantastic.