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Topic : 12/22 Parents Falsely Accused

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Created on : Friday, September 12, 2008, 01:20:40 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 09/18/08) Could you be guilty of abusing your child and not know it? Where are the boundaries when it comes to parenting? Treffly is a mom of three who never thought she would be accused of breaking the law. But that's exactly what happened when she left her daughter in the car to do an errand just 30 feet away. Treffly's case sparked a flurry of opinions and heated debates across the country. People in the community and a criminal defense attorney weigh in. And find out what Dr. Phil thinks about Treffly's encounter with the law. Then, Lynn says her biggest regret is leaving her daughter alone the night the 13-year-old died. Find out how a false allegation landed her behind bars. Her conviction was overturned, and Lynn became the first woman in U.S. history to be cleared by DNA evidence. Hear how the truth came to light and what life has been like since she was released from prison. And, hear about Lynn's son, Ed's, experience growing up in foster care as a result of his mother's incarceration. What can mother and son do to rebuild their bond? Find out what you can do to improve the lives of children in the foster care system. Plus, don't miss the steps you need to take if you're wrongly accused of a crime. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.

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September 18, 2008, 8:06 am CDT

falsely accused!

Dearest Edward and Mom & Family, my heart goes out to all of you.  What a terrorizing thing to go through.  I am a child of the system myself-- in and out of state homes and foster care because my mother had mental illness and could not parent.  I know exactly what you went through.  They were the same to me.  The other children mattered much more and I was shoo'd away.  It was horrible and I felt so alone.  I have children now and cannot imagine your mom terrorized every single day being pulled away from her dear children wondering what they are going through every day.  I am inspired by the CASA program and inspite of my busy schedule, I am choosing to join.  If I can make a difference in a child's life as much as I needed it, that would give me some self healing too probably.

God Bless you all and I hope you find the peace in your life that you so much deserve.

your friend, Teresa

September 18, 2008, 8:13 am CDT

Use common sense

Quote From: alotofshoes

Where has common since gone...? This has caused more damaged to the child watching her mother being arrested...!!! than being left in the warm car asleep...(PLEASE) How many PPL keep the children beside them to return a shopping cart to the rack? How many children get up before the parents and play?
how many children play in a back yard..!!! come on...the moment we blanket one thing we have a real problem...!!!! I dont need the law to tell me how to raise my child.... Because whos watching there KIDS.?
How many children have died in washing machines or fallen in a toilet....!!! Or even a mop bucket. Lets leave good mothers alone and go ahead and catch them purse snatchers ...

Yes, accidents do happen in cars.  But they also happen everywhere else.  As a mother of 3, I have to use common sense.  Sometimes I think it is more dangerous to take the kids out of the car than leave them in.


I leave my kids in the car while I put gas in it.  I think it is more dangerous to take them out than leave them in.  When my oldest 2 were little, they didn't have credit card swipers and you had to go in to pay.  I always took my kids in but hated having to go through the busy parking lot holding one and holding the hand of the other.  I don't think I've ever seen any parent take an infant out of the car and hold them while putting gas in the car.  The fumes alone are probably more harmful than the potential risk of them staying in the car while I fill it with gas. 


With 3 kids, you have to think, where is the greater risk.  Can I watch all 3 while I do this.  On a cool day, is it safer to have them confined in the car than near traffic while I am standing nearby?  What about changing a tire on the side of the road?  Parents make judgements all the time.  We can't universally say that leaving kids in the car is wrong.  I do think heat is a great danger and am always aware of it.   With 3 kids, I have had to juggle the needs of all 3 and where is a child safer.  Strapped in a carseat while I change a diaper of another in the back of the car or next to me in a parking lot while my hands are full?  Where is the line?  When I put my shopping cart back, is it safer to walk 3 kids with me 30 yards through the parking lot or have them confined to their seats? 


Any parent who says they never leave a child alone must have a very difficult life.  My children sleep in another room.  They go to the bathroom by themselves.  I do household tasks without keeping my eyes on them 100% of the time.  I cook dinner and think it is more dangerous to have an infant by my feet while cooking than have them in a playpen nearby.  Even as infants, children are not watched constantly.  Parents have to use their best judgement.  Yes, accidents do happen in cars.  They also happen in homes.  I have injured myself twice tripping on the stairs - should we outlaw stairs?  Life is not safe.  We can't legislate our lives in the what ifs.......  Educating teenagers with basic parenting rules would be much more productive.



September 18, 2008, 8:14 am CDT

09/18 Parents Falsely Accused?

just to comment on leaving children in the car...i am a mother of twin boys that will be a year old next week.  they were born 31/2 months early and when they finally came home from the NICU, one of my sons was on oxygen and a monitor.  we had to get out of the house for doctor and physical therapy appointments multiple times a week, and there was no way i could carry them both to the car together by myself.  I had no choice but to take one child out to the car, get him settled, and then go get the other.  still today, they cannot walk yet, and i cannot carry two squirmy boys, so it is one and then the other. 


my point is, there is no absolute, black and white to this issue.  before people accuse and say under no circumstances should a child be left in the car by themselves, they need to take in the facts.  unless someone wants to be at my beck and call for every appointment, every errand, then they need to look at all angles before accusing someone of abuse. 

September 18, 2008, 8:18 am CDT


Dr. Phil ad Robin,

I am sorry but you have seen with this young man, Edward, that the system is grossly flawed. CASA in Richland county of OHIO is no friend of the children in need. I know. I started to go through the course to become one and quickly saw that in ALL cases they stated that their prime concern was to keep the family (mother and child(ren)) together.  Very young children left home alone while the mother goes out to prostitute herself for drug money and doesn't show up for days and in the mean time the young boys are sodomized. This was OK and an approved situation to keep the "family" togther. I am not kidding! It was one of he examples used in the classroom! It was not about protecting the children. The Children Services here and CASA failed my grandson as well. He too could sit on the couch with Edward. If you are interested in readng my diary of the first years of his life, let me know and I will send it.

September 18, 2008, 8:20 am CDT

Never leave your child alone?

 Really?  When do you go to the bathroom?  When do single parents take a shower? Do you haul your child(ren) to the washing machine, which is often more than 30 feet away?  Never garden while they play in the sandbox?  Don't cook a meal without the child(ren) in the kitchen (talk about unsafe!)?  Where are the kids while you are making lunch?  Folding clothes? Cleaning up the toilet that just overflowed?   Mopping up after the older one just projectile vomited over her entire room?  Are you sitting right next to each child the entire time they are sleeping?  (I hope they don't have separate rooms.)  Do you sleep at night, in a room separate from your children?  How emotionally healthy is it for a child to have a parent glued to their side, because you cannot be more than an arms length away all the time? 

Each circumstance needs to be evaluated independently.  No, I never left my 6 month old in a car-period. Yes, I've left my 6 year old and 4 year old in the locked car in the pouring rain to return the cart to the cart holder 1 car away.  No, I would never leave a child of any age in a locked car for an hour.  But I also would not put a plastic bag over my head (or leave one near a child), leave a child in a walker near stairs, or let a 5 year old walk to school alone. 

Where is the line? At every car pool stop, does the driver get out, take all the children out, and walk them all to the front door to get the child being picked up?  Then load everyone back up again. Or does the parent of that child wake up all the siblings, get them dressed, and all six of you walk sister to the carpool car that is 20 feet away , in front of your door, and there is a clear line of site for both driver and parent?

While I personally would not have left a two year old in a car alone, I don't see how it is better for the children to have their mother arrested when she was only as far away as from a bedroom to a living room.  If you think your house is so much safer than a parking lot, check out how many people have been hurt/killed in their own home (ask the Klass family), as opposed to being kidnapped from a parking lot.  A little common sense can go a long way here.  A written warning of : "It is illegal to leave your child unattended (assuming it is, because it isn't everywhere) in a parking lot.  If it happens again, you will be arrested." would make far more sense in this case.  We're not talking hours or even going into the store. We're talking line of sight, dropping money in a salvation army kettle, and returning to the car.  And the car was not running....
September 18, 2008, 8:27 am CDT

Foster Parents

I have never understood how children can be passed from one foster home to another to another.  When you offer your home as a foster home, it should be for the length of time that child needs to be there.  I was a foster mother for thirteen years and had 69 children pass through our home.  Never did a child go from our home to another foster home.  They were with us until they were able to go back to their parents or, as was the case with four of our children, they stayed with us as family members until they graduated high school and were able to move out on their own.  To this day they are still considered part of our family and I am "grandma" to eight "foster" grandchildren, though we don't use the term "foster" anymore. 


If the system is responsible for constantly moving these children around in the foster care system, then shame on them.  These children need stability and being in several foster homes at their young age does nothing but make them insecure and feel as if they don't belong anywhere. 


And if it's the fault of the foster family deciding they no longer want the child, then shame on them.  They should never have agreed to become foster parents in the first place.  I'll admit that sometimes it's not an easy thing to do as these children come with a lot of emotional baggage, but they still need love and compassion and understanding.


Because of the bad press that the many good foster families receive, I wrote a book titled "Someone Else's Child" that chronicles our years as foster parents, the lives of some of the children we had with us, and how fostering changed our lives for the better.  I'm trying to find a publisher for my book, but even if it never gets published, it's a constant reminder and a book full of memories of the wonderful years we had and the wonderful children we were priviledged to know. 

September 18, 2008, 9:04 am CDT

09/18 Parents Falsely Accused?

Quote From: tkwrites

Dearest Edward and Mom & Family, my heart goes out to all of you.  What a terrorizing thing to go through.  I am a child of the system myself-- in and out of state homes and foster care because my mother had mental illness and could not parent.  I know exactly what you went through.  They were the same to me.  The other children mattered much more and I was shoo'd away.  It was horrible and I felt so alone.  I have children now and cannot imagine your mom terrorized every single day being pulled away from her dear children wondering what they are going through every day.  I am inspired by the CASA program and inspite of my busy schedule, I am choosing to join.  If I can make a difference in a child's life as much as I needed it, that would give me some self healing too probably.

God Bless you all and I hope you find the peace in your life that you so much deserve.

your friend, Teresa

I am really surprised how the show left out a big portion of the story. What Edward went through is horrible and there is no excuse for it. The mom however isn't as innocent as they allowed her to seem. I watched this story on another show on at night I'm not sure which one and the guy they believed actually killed this little girl was dating the mom.  After awhile the mom did not want to be in the relationship any longer so she broke it off.  The other show reported that she went out partying(drugs were also involved) that night and left her 13 year old daughter home alone.  While she was out, her ex came into the bar she was at with another man there was an argument and he threatened her.  She was then concerned about her daughter and went home to check on her he followed her there and there was a fight between her and this man. She told her daughter to call 911 so he left.  Even if she was the perfect mom up to this point (which I don't believe she was) she then decides once the guy leaves to leave her daughter home alone again and I think they said at this point is was around one in the morning. She goes out with the guy she was with at the bar and that is when they believe the ex came back to kill her daughter. No she didn't kill her daughter herself but the neglect was what left the daughter vulnerable.
September 18, 2008, 9:45 am CDT

09/18 Parents Falsely Accused?

Our children are never really safe, wherever they are. People break in our homes they break in our vehicles, they snatch our babies right under our noses. If someone is intent on doing harm , it is as good as done. I have three small children. They are five, three and two. What is more dangerous leaving them in a vehicle buckled in thier car seats with the car shut off and the doors locked or getting all three of them out while I try to pump gas and hang on to three babies at the same time with traffic whipping in and out. Or inside trying to pay for my gas with people coming in and out while I am trying to write a check and my kids are throwing themselves on the floor and screaming wanting the candy isle. I am not surrounded by family that will ride with me when I need to pump gas. The mothers who have forgotten thier children in a car for hours at a time have made it difficult for all of us. If you go into the mall and leave your children sitting in the car there is seriously something wrong with you but there are certain circumstances where you have to weigh out the decision you make and me leaving my kids in the car for 45seconds while I go in to pay for gas is not putting them in any danger. That would be like saying that you and your kids sleeping in separate bedrooms is putting them in danger. A mother with only one child should not even be allowed to respond to this because having one child and having more than one is two different worlds. I have three children but not three arms and not three hips.  These are impossible expectations for a mother whos husband is gone all week driving truck and has no family living near by.
September 18, 2008, 10:32 am CDT

do not judge, least ye be judged!

Quote From: pearamedic

I've notice its the people who accuse and dictate to everyone else how to parent their kids who have the most annoying, rude, back talking brats.  Child welfare worries about some of the dumbest things.  Child welfare should be a form of government that I believe should be banned.


My daughter was bitten at the daycare.  Child welfare NEVER investigated it.  The police department was the only people who gave a crap and investigated it.  They investigated the bite nothing but the bite.  Didn't do a home inspection, didn't invade our privacy (not that they would have found anything if they had).  But the police did a better job and cared more then Child Welfare could ever have a concept of doing.  Or should I say, Child-We-Really-Don't-Care-About-Their-Welfare. 


So I say let's get rid of case workers who think they're better then everyone and above the law and place chldren in abusive foster homes.  Let's get rid of child welfare and use our police who are real trained professionals.  Also to the parents, grandparents, and everyone who have to worry about how others raise their kids.  While your watching my kids your kids are committing the crimes you complain about and leaving you grandkids to raise. 

You cannot judge all child welfare people in the same category, nor can you honestly believe that the agency has not helped more then it has hindered. The fact is you HEAR all about the screw- ups but little about the successes. Let me tell you a story that inspired me to go back to school to make a change, and put myself in the shoes of a caseworker.
I am a Married mother of seven, and I feel I did nothing wrong(NOTHING) and I had my children ripped from me placed into foster care and was not even allowed to return to my own home. my children were taken from me for a year( they were placed with their fathers, two of whom were my husbands children and we lived in the same home which i was not allowed to return to. you know what I did, I let my 15 year old daughter and 11 year old son babysit for and hour and a half. while I was out getting sponsors for a community day to rid our neighborhood of drugs and violence, the neighbors boy walked across the field to McDonald's when she walked into the house for a minute, a police officer picked him up and took five of my children( the other two are adults and not in the home.) to the children services. I did everything they ask me to do(everything) and every time I finished what they asked me to do, I was told to do something else, family counseling, in home counseling, family circle, one parenting class( i took three) , individual counseling,and stair steps for toddlers,. all of the people that I had to be involved with were confused as to why I did not have my children, why they were taken, or why I was not getting them back. when I was at my wits end I called the news channel, when they questioned the children services, they threatened me to keep my mouth shut or they could place them back in foster care. there is much more to the story that if you want to hear e-mail me at  and I'll tell you the whole story, but instead of crying about a situation I could not change I went back to school to gain my degree in human services and a masters in social psychology, so that I can make a change in someone else's life, in an agency going the wrong direction and in the lives of my family. the agency was put in place because there is a need, but there also as to be a balance of control and power.
September 18, 2008, 10:59 am CDT

09/18 Parents Falsely Accused?

i could not believe what i was seeing for a minute.

the fact that the lady (first lady who left her kid in the car) was arrested is ABSURD!

she could see the car, was only 30ft away, AND is was raining/sleeting outside, AND the baby was asleep.


anyone who thinks she should have been arrested needs thier head examined.


you know who REALLY commited the child abuse?? the officer that hand-cuffed the mother and seperated her from her children!

those kids went through a very traumatic experience seeing thier own mother arrested and taken away.

THAT imho, is much worse for the kid/s than being left in a car for 30sec-1min.




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