Published April 26, 2012
LOS ANGELES – Orange County Family Services reps and a police officer reportedly visited the home of Nadya “Octomom” Suleman on Tuesday following a complaint filed by Suleman’s hair stylist claiming her 14 young children are living in neglectful and unsanitary conditions.
Photographs published by TMZ show writing on the walls and children going to the bathroom in portable training toilets in the backyard. According to the website, only one toilet in the house is operational, and while Suleman – who receives $2,000 a month in government assistance – dismissed a $150 plumber’s quote as “too expensive,” she spent almost $600 on having her hair done.
Photographs also showed she may have locked the children in a room with a chair while her tresses were being tended to.
California defense attorney David Wohl told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column that Child Protective Services will likely engage in a thorough investigation of Suleman’s home to further determine whether the children are at a substantial risk of harm.
“In the worst case scenario, Child Protective Services will file a petition with the Juvenile Court asking the kids to be removed from their home and either be placed in relative care or foster care. Octomom would then be offered reunification services, including parenting classes and counseling, and she'd be given up to18 months to get her kids back in her care,” he explained. “If after that time had expired the kids could not be returned, they could be placed in legal guardianship with someone else – or even be adopted out.”
Citing confidentially clauses, Social Services Agency's (SSA) Children and Family Services rep Terry Linn Fisher, would neither confirm nor deny whether the Department had visited Suleman, or if any further investigation was underway. However, she did affirm that, generally speaking, the SSA’s goal is not to remove children from their parents, but to strengthen families.
“It is not against the law to have dirty clothes on the floor or writing on the walls, [nor are there] laws that tell us how we have to toilet train children. Social workers look for dangers that pose an immediate safety threat to the children, like drugs on the floor or rotting food to be fed to the kids,” Fisher explained. “The law says ‘good enough parenting,’ but it’s not against the law to not have a totally pristine home.”
Fisher also noted that if parenting body is somewhat “overwhelmed,” yet the children are not in an unsafe environment, the SSA then offers voluntary services and makes recommendations to support the family unit, which parents have the right to accept or refuse.
But based on the controversial photographs taken by the stylist, California-based family attorney Debra Opri said that Suleman’s situation warrants further investigation.
“Pictures are always the best evidence, and they clearly depict something is out of control here. A lot of questions need to be asked. Is she providing her children with adequate nutrition, bathing, and are they sleeping properly? The litmus test is not whether she can afford to raise her children, but rather if their cares are being adequately met,” Opri said. “Personally, I was disgusted. I hope that Social Services would be out there now investigating, looking for health hazards like defecation in the backyard or why she felt the need to lock them in a room like that.”
When questioned by TMZ photographers on Wednesday morning, Suleman declined to comment.
This isn’t the first time the allegedly cash-strapped mom of many has raised eyebrows. Last month, Suleman resorted to posing topless for European magazine Closer, reportedly earning $10,000 for the shoot.