I don't think the issue here is the lunches and laundry, or even degrees of acceptable discipline. If a child is scared enough to run away asking for help and crying then it's not a loving home which holds to phisical discipline when necessary and higher expectations regarding responsibility.
"the mother showed up at our house days later and freaked out at the kid, saying how when she gets home she was going to give her the shots, the whole time speaking Portuguese"
Granted if my mom were to have ever screamed at me in Portugese it would have been hugely more dramatic than in this situation, but ethnic background aside, showing up DAYS later shows tremendous irresponsibility and uttering threats is a criminal offense regardless of language, age or nation. I am quite sure skink keeper know far more about this story than is sharing with us, ans SK's sister probably even more so. While I fully agree that one should know both sides and the whole story before making accusations, I do think that has likely been previously addressed.
Social services is another branch of government and is like wise just as inept in every respect. If I was involved, I would recommend seeking the help of a local church and clurgy, regardless of religious belief as they have far more connections, resources and influence than most any individual. And any real Christian worth their salt would be willing to accept and aid another person in need no matter what their beliefs.
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