Some days, it boggles my mind too. My neighbor, who I will call psycho bitch, because it fits her so accurately, has no business having custody of her kids. I know more about her than I want to because the duplex walls are thin, and she pays no mind to that fact.
I've heard her scream at the kids. At least once a week she tells them she doesn't want them anymore, to pack their shit and get out. She loves sex, and apparently loves being heard we think, since she got even louder after we said something. If we can hear her, her kids can hear her. One morning my boyfriend actually called child services on her because she was keeping him awake, and I guess her kids decided to keep barging in on her. She wanted her man friend to just keep going, figuring they wouldn't want to watch their mom having sex, and seeing that they couldn't stop her, would just give up. He wouldn't do it. So the next time they barged in he heard a door slam, and the kid started screaming about his hand. Put two and two together, she slammed his hand in the door. Then he heard what sounded very much like the kid getting shoved down the stairs.
Someone from child services came, but the kids weren't taken. She told my mom that her own mother had called child services on her, and she lost the kids for a month. We're pretty sure she leaves them alone a lot (don't know the ages, but I don't think the eldest is any older than 11 or 12 and the youngest maybe 5 or 6). Sometimes we see a babysitter, sometimes the only sign of life is the kids. She'll be gone for days at a time.
She tells the kids their dad doesn't care about them. From what I've seen and heard when he's over there, he cares a fuck of a lot more than her. He was pissed because she wouldn't let him have them for Christmas; and they spent the day with a babysitter. The kids listen to him. He doesn't yell when he's there watching them. When they manage to call him, for any reason, and don't have the phone wrestled away from them and told not to bother because he doesn't care, he always comes if he can. He works. She sponges off welfare and boyfriends.
Their father really should have them. He wants them, but she keeps threatening to cry rape if he takes them. Because, you know, she's on welfare for single mothers, and no kids = no welfare.