My mom was very neglectful and physically and emotionally abusive throughout my childhood, I can see that now. Her m.o. was that we would move every time people started questioning what was happening in our family, so my sisters and I never really developed strong friendships or relationships with other family members. We were always isolated, so when we’d end up in the school office or in family counseling after our teachers would report our situation, we would refuse to talk or deny the allegations against my mother. Why did we lie to CPS? We were afraid of being separated, we had learned that we would just move again and we’d be punished more harshly by our mother. Sometimes I think we should have spoken up, but when the truth finally got out, all our worst nightmares were realized. The situation had gotten so bad that one of my sisters tried to commit suicide after being punished by my mother. A huge custody battled ensued and my sisters and I ended up in foster care til the end of the case, which coincided with my high school graduation. It was terribly traumatizing to testify against your own mother as a graduation gift. I was court ordered to go straight to the state college I had been admitted to and attend summer session, but was not emancipated, so as a result I was under my mother’s power when it came to loans. She refused to fill out documents and I had to work full time to go to school. My sister who had attempted suicide entered my father’s custody, and ended up in months of rehab and eventually was kicked out as a minor by my stepmother. She came to live with me, but slipped into heavy drug use and worked in the sex industry for years to support her habit. My second sister remained in my mother’s custody, but then she was isolated with my mom’s violence. She literally spent years in psych wards and rehab before the state took her from my mother and she entered a group home. She dropped out of high school and ended up joining the navy because she thought she had no way out. Now I am a public school teacher and I see the bias in CPS protection, I see how weak it is, and I know that my case is hardly unique. CPS and the state failed my family, CPS continues to fail the families I serve. We could do so much better by children.