Mom's Harmless Twitter Joke Leads to CPS Investigation

Alex McDaniel recounts the craziest, worst week of her life
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2017 6:47 AM CDT
Mom Jokes About Selling Kid on Twitter, CPS Investigates
The Twitter logo.   (AP Photo/dpa, Soeren Stache, File)

After a funny conversation with her 3-year-old earlier this month, Alex McDaniel did what she often does and tweeted about it. After recounting their back-and-forth, she wrote, "3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer." Pretty harmless, yes? Well, no, as it turns out, because an anonymous tipster reported the line to Child Protective Services of Mississippi's Lafayette County. And then, much to McDaniel's disbelief, a rep from the agency showed up at her office with a sheriff's deputy in tow asking about the boy, writes McDaniel in an essay at Time. She had to yank her child out of a nap at preschool so he could be interviewed. It took a few days, but with the help of an attorney, McDaniel was able to have the case dropped. She's relieved, of course, but also angry, and not at child services.

"CPS has a hard job, both in the nature of what they do and the day-to-day demands of handling each case," she writes. Instead, she's upset at the tipster. McDaniel's best guess is that it was someone, perhaps a stranger, who took exception to something she wrote online as part of her job as editorial director at Oxford Newsmedia. "It is one thing to come after me, a grown adult woman who enthusiastically signed up for a career that comes with a large amount of exposure and criticism," she writes. "Coming after my son is utterly despicable." She'd like to see rules put in place with punishments for those caught deliberately making false claims and wasting the agency's time. And in another essay via Twitter, McDaniel says that she is done tweeting about her son. (Click to read her full essay at Time.)

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