Free-Range Kids

Law Says One Thing, Child Services Says Another: Don't Let Your Kid Outside

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The government loves your kids more than you do. Or so it seems to believe. How else to explain a government worker visiting a Maryland mom and threatening her with a fine and jail time for letting her kids play outside? Here's a letter she wrote me describing the terrible child abuse she committed:

Dear Lenore,

I thought you might find this interesting: I was just visited by two representatives of Montgomery County Child Welfare Services because a "helpful" neighbor called them about my children who were at the park on Monday afternoon 10/27 without an adult.

These reps told me that Maryland law prohibits me from allowing my six-year old to go to the park, which is two blocks away in a residential neighborhood, with her 10-year old brother but no adult.

This is not true.

She actually dug up the Family Law statute (5-801):

"A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child."

And so, she continued in her note to me:

The way I see it, "locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle" does NOT include a neighborhood park and this statute does not preclude me from sending my six-year old there with her brother. Therefore, I will continue to do so.

Then this ballsy mom called up the child services rep to point out the difference between "playing outside" and "locked or confined." The rep actually called back to tell her that:

…[J]udges have interpreted the law to include parks—in spite of the fact that the language is VERY clear about enclosed spaces—so a cop could charge us $500, or a judge could give us 30 days in jail, if my daughter is without supervision at the park.

free-range-kids

The mom wants her children to have fresh air, fun, exercise and independence. She trusts her kids, her neighborhood, and her own parenting. The state, apparently, does not. And it believes things would be better for the children if mom was locked up in jail for a month.

I will keep you posted as to what happens next.

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  1. A person who is charged with the care of a child

    Interesting phrasing. Reveals a lot about the thinking of the people who wrote the law — you are a parent to your children not because you conceived them but because the State has charged you with their care. They could just as easily have written “A person who is responsible for the care of a child” to foreclose that interpretation.

    1. I think the point is more that if a parent leaves their child with someone else – e.g. an adult relative, an adult family friend, etc. – that other person has then been “charged with the care” of the child by the PARENT – not by the state.

      I don’t see any nefarious wording here. Yes, they could use the word “responsible” just as easily. But it’s not a big deal, IMO.

      1. Either the law considers parents to have been “charged with” the care of their kids by someone else (guess who?) or it doesn’t apply to parents at all.

        1. Well, I’m pretty sure that parents are legally responsible for the care of their children, and rightly so.

          The law is bad, but “charged with” isn’t the problem. It shouldn’t be criminal to leave you 10 year old home alone for an hour.

          1. Two thumbs up to you, Zeb!

    2. … no, that’s not what’s going on there. It’s just written to include babysitters, grandparents, etc, as well.

    3. I think you are reading a bit much into it. I think that the charging with care is done by the parents. Most of the law seems to be a convoluted way of saying that babysitters are required if you leave your child and have to be 13.

      1. I think you are reading a bit much into it. I think that the charging with care is done by the parents. Most of the law seems to be a convoluted way of saying that babysitters are required if you leave your child and have to be 13.

        Is it reading too much into it to say that “locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle” includes going outside to play? Because that’s what some people have read into it, and it’s the guys with guns and badges and the power of the law who did that reading into it.

        Relying on the wording of the law to determine whether or not something is illegal only works if you live in a society governed by the rule of law. When you live in a society governed by whatever rules any petty bureaucrat makes up on the spot out of thin air it becomes a big game of “Mother May I ?”.

        The law didn’t specifically say sending young kids to the park is either allowed or prohibited – under the rule of law you would be safe to assume that whatever is not prohibited is allowed but under the rule of bureaucrats whatever is not allowed is prohibited. Which case do we see here?

        1. Is it reading too much into it to say that “locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle” includes going outside to play?

          Yes, obviously.

        2. I’m fairly confident the Child Protective Services person was lying to her. I doubt any judge interpreted that phrase to include outside parks.

          Remember that CPS workers are SJWs and see themselves as equivalent to LEOs, even though they are not. They are allowed to lie to you without repercussion. They are also almost universally dumb, petty, and entitled cunts who have no other objective than to fuck with you. They are terrible people.

  2. The law is quite clear and this mom needs to wise up fast. The entire planet is obviously an enclosed space.

  3. I was placed in a maturation chamber for my first 16 years, absorbing nutrients and being programmed with base knowledge and reasoning skills. And I turned out juuuuuuuust fine as long as I don’t go into direct sunlight or put too much stress on my skeletal system.

    1. Bubble boy is that you?

  4. Someone complained! The law says something about something! “It’s just easier for everyone if you comply, ma’am”

    Existence, in all its form and splendor, functions solely on one principle: The System is infallible. To prove It wrong would undo reality and everything that is. Up would become down, black would become white, existence would become nothingness.

    1. It would have been funnier if I had replaced “existence” with “order”. DAMN YOU Hindsight, you dirty ape!

  5. I will keep you posted as to what happens next.

    Cop: Ma’am, I told you. Step. Away. From. The Children!

    Lady: But they’re just going to the play-

    *BLAM!BLAM!BLAM!BLAM!BLAM!BLAM!BLAM!*

    Cop: Stop resisting!

  6. [J]udges have interpreted the law to include parks?in spite of the fact that the language is VERY clear about enclosed spaces

    Something, something, exchanges established by the state.

    1. I smell bullshit. I’ve had too many petty bureaucrats assert that the law says X, and when challenged to produce any authoritative statement that the law says X, they got nothing.

      1. Exactly, it’s not as if these people actually read the law. They read a pamphlet provided to them at a conference 4 years ago and take it as gospel interpreting the law. They are ignorant morons, and most of them are barely literate.

  7. Freedom means the law is whatever the enforcer says it is.

    1. What fun is power if it’s not arbitrarily enforced.

  8. Did she really think a government bureaucrat would respond with “My bad, you’re right”?

    1. The appropriate response (for the bureaucracy) would actually be complete silence – neither action nor further threat of action.

      1. *this being standard defenseive behaviour. It avoids flak for admitting culpability, and flak for causing a lawsuit by pressing an illegal action.

        1. When the government does it it’s not illegal. Remember, these people are legally allowed to lie to you. You are not permitted to lie to them.

    2. “Did she really think a government bureaucrat would respond with “My bad, you’re right”?”

      On the other hand, the bureaucrat might be right.

  9. Get out of MoCo.

    1. not so appealing when the alternatives are the District of Columbia, Pee Gee, the Peoples Republics of Arlington/Falls Church/Fairfax etc, Bal’more, or way out in the sticks risking running afoul of some local prosecutoress with a hyphonated last name who shall not be mentioned and her plea bargain fiefdom.

      MoCo isn’t so bad, considering.

    2. on second thought, scratch that last sentence. They’re all rotten. Washington DC ruins everything it touches.

      Moving anywhere is a matter of picking your poison.

  10. So in Maryland your kid can’t go to the bathroom and lock the door or stall without a 13 year old being with them? You can’t tuck your kid in their bed too tight then leave the bedroom? And they can’t play hide and seek unless the hiding spot is in a crowd of adults or teenagers?

    1. See, Lena Dunham was just taking care of her baby sister as prescribed by the state! Nothing to worry about…

      1. That would be funny if not so frighteningly close to the truth.

  11. From the Reason Facebook comments:

    Sorry 6 and 10 too young to be alone anywhere especially a park. There are lots of reasons to be frustrated with the government, but this particular scenario, these two ages, not so much!

    1. I certainly respect that opinion – definitely a judgment call to be made by each parent/couple for the children, and if parents don’t think they’re 10 yr old is repsonsible enough to go somewhere on his own, so be it. However – AGAIN – they should respect the right of parents who DO think their 10 year old can go down the street alone. This isn’t about approval of someone else’s actions – it’s about not locking people up who have a different view on it.

      JUST BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING DOES NOT MEAN IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL.

      1. Why do you want children to be raped and murdered?

        1. why is that a default? who are these rapists and murderers? when was the last time a STRAMGER raped or murdered a child in your town?

          Family/friends bigger “threat” to children – just check out who really abuses/kills kids.

          and don’t cite a story from another city or state.

          We should allow a parent to PARENT!!

          1. Hi bob. It appears that you are new here. Let me introduce you to everyone’s best friend around here – SARCASM.

          2. You might want to invest in a sarcasm detector.

            1. And make sure and get the recalibrater. This place does crazy things to a sarc detector.

        2. No, I just want Maryland abolished.

          1. Hear, hear!

        3. Not sending kids alone to the park just enables rape culture. :-/

          1. Considering the overwhelmingly vast majority of kids are raped or molested in the home and that public rape or molestation is probably less than 1% I’d say the law is perfectly designed to encourage rape and molestation.

            It’s those unintended consequences. They’re not unforeseeable.

    2. I hate people so much.

    3. I hate people so much.

      1. yeah yeah yeah

  12. I will keep on repeating this on how Government looks on the citizenry–

    “the Government is Mother, the Government is Father!”

    1. “The government loves your kids more than you do.”
      Dammit, the article stole my thunder! Right off the bat, no less! Just by seeing the headline, that was going to be my comment! So I guess I will have to content myself with a traditional old-timey-values kind of post here, see below?

      1. Scienfoology Song? GAWD = Government Almighty’s Wrath Delivers

        Government loves me, This I know,
        For the Government tells me so,
        Little ones to GAWD belong,
        We are weak, but GAWD is strong!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        My Nannies tell me so!

        GAWD does love me, yes indeed,
        Keeps me safe, and gives me feed,
        Shelters me from bad drugs and weed,
        And gives me all that I might need!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        My Nannies tell me so!

        DEA, CIA, KGB,
        Our protectors, they will be,
        FBI, TSA, and FDA,
        With us, astride us, in every way!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        Yes, Guv-Mint loves me!
        My Nannies tell me so!

        1. Nicely done, SQRSLY One,
          Nicely rhymed and very fun!

  13. While the first impulse might be to shake ones fist at the overreaching children’s services bureaucrats, my reaction was to want to track down the “helpful” neighbor and tar and feather him/her. The tar, you see, will come in handy for the next step, which is to set him/her alight and shove him/her off a cliff. I kid. Sort of. When we reflexively call the authorities on people over trifling matters, we empower the nanny state. Every one of us is part of the solution, people.

    1. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter. I would hope that the next issue includes reliable local vendors of hot tar.

        1. Glad to see you are using renewable resources and not raping the planet by using carbon based fuels.

          1. Pine tar isn’t carbon based?

        2. Are you saying it’s George Brett’s fault?

    2. I’d settle for running them out of town on a rail.

      1. I vote beaheading. Is it too much to ask that ISIS finds at least one jackhole who actually deserves it?

  14. .[J]udges have interpreted the law to include parks…

    Citation needed. I don’t think that any judge that respects his own reputation would issue such a clearly unsupported opinion.

    1. More likely, it’s a bureaucrat that has decided on that interpretation

  15. No bankers who crashed the global financial system in 2008 have faced prison time, and we’re throwing moms in jail for letting their kids play in the park. I would say it’s a feature, not a bug.

    1. Mom lied!
      Kids died!

      Oh wait, no one died?

  16. If you’really old enough to go to school, you’re old enough to go to the park. More predators at the school.

  17. What I love about these “helpful” neighbors is that they never seem to report any “bad” people – just the children. They always seem to add that they “observed” the children for X amount of time – so presumably they saw NO danger (or the cops would be called).

    These “helpful” neighbors – who have all this time to “observe” – maybe they should volunteer their time and be a park monitor.

    1. That would require them to put a tiny bit of time and effort into being a decent neighbor by doing something nice for someone (watch out for their kids for them). That would take away from their busy schedule of watching the Law and Order: SVU marathon on USA network.

      Much easier to just call the authorities and let the control freaks with the monopoly in legal force deal with the situation than be a decent human being.

  18. Resistance is senseless and futile, my friends. Now that it is established FACT that “The government loves your kids more than you do”, that ship has sailed long ago. Time to get used to it?
    You know how frogs and toads and sea turtles lay a batch of eggs and then abandon them to let Nature take its course? So, too, do we need to learn to drop our newborn babies off to the tender loving care of the Government Almighty, who Loves Them more than we ever can? And go, and never look back. If that is contrary to our instincts, if that thought or act tears at Mom and Dad’s tender feelings, then we need to start looking into genetic human-behavior modifications, PRONTO! What frog, turtle, or insect, spider, etc., genes might best and most easily be spliced into the human genome, to take care of these mal-adaptive, instinctive “feelings” of ours?

    1. PS, while we are at it, might as well do it right? All is for the Hive, and only the genes of the Emperor and Empress deserve to be passed on? For those behavioral genes to be spliced into our genomes, look no further that ants, bees, wasps, etc. (AKA the Socialist and Communist insects), and the naked mole rats, as well. MARCH ON into our brave new future, comrades!

  19. My across-the-street neighbor, recently arrived from an overseas job posting, allows their young children to play outside alone. I haven’t quizzed them on their exact boundaries, but it appears the 7-year-old is supposed to stay on our street and more or less in sight of the house.

    In large part because of that, I encourage my kids to play with their kids. But I worry for this family who is quite clueless to the trend of jailing “irresponsible” parents.

    1. The trend seems to be pretty localized, fortunately. Where I live people let their kids go all over the place and this kind of stuff never happens.

      1. Yeah, I regularly run into a group of kids (about 6 years old) on my block who say I look like Lord Voldemort and they run screaming madly when I act the part. Way, way too much freedom here in Bozeman, Montana.

        Please, pray for my irreverent soul when you learn I’ve been killed by the police. Then, go have a beer at Neptune’s Brewery over in Deadrock and blow it all off for the effed up world it has become.

  20. my friend’s sister-in-law makes $82 /hr on the laptop . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her paycheck was $15787 just working on the laptop for a few hours. hop over to this website….

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  21. …[J]udges have interpreted the law to include parks

    I find it hard to believe that all judges interpret the law this way. What we need to do is find these idiot judge and have them fired.

    1. The CPS SWJ was almost certainly lying about this point.

  22. [J]udges have interpreted the law to include parks?in spite of the fact that the language is VERY clear about enclosed spaces

    Words: They can mean whatever you want whenever you want…if you are the government.

    1. Yes… The USA Constitution no longer says what it says; it says whatever the 9 Omniscient Big-Guv lackeys say that it says…

      1. This has been true now for at LEAST 50 years? From FDR’s “New Deal” on, at least, so say 80 years or more?
        I have a friend, he’s a primary-materials (original materials) historian; none of you would know him (specializes in a small, very conservative religious group’s history).
        His Q: How long (even among way-conservative pepples) until “we’ve always done things that way”?
        His A: About 50 years?
        Frightening though with respect to Government Almighty?

  23. Until I see some actual verification that judges have included parks outside as also being held to that statute, I will remain skeptical.

  24. If this ever happens to you, lie, lie, lie. CPS says “we saw your child do X” ask “you personally saw this?”. When they tell you it was an anonymous tip, tell them the tipster was lying and that it never happened or that you were there the whole time, if slightly off to the side of the park.

    Make them bring forth your accuser, so that you can provide some decent incentives for said rat to mind their own fucking business.

  25. It’s taken me many, many years to believe we’re close to the need for armed revolution. At the very least, we need active financial revolution, the defunding of these gestapo like agencies by State legislators who must finally come to their freedom loving senses.

  26. A cop can’t charge you five hundred dollars, and if a judge ignores the law to convict you, that is very good grounds for appeal. Don’t hire a lawyer for a simple case like this. The law is obvious, and juries can usually read. Demand a jury trial, and the DA will fold like a tent in a high wind. Be prepared to be stalled, and consider subpoenaing the prosecution’s witnesses so they will not have an excuse to delay the trial.

  27. Neighbors snitching on each other is beyond the pale. Instead of getting to know and sticking up (when and if necessary) for each other so as to avoid bringing law enforcement or bureaucrats into the picture, people pull this nonsense. I don’t think they fully realize the possible implications and consequences of their actions they’re so fucking stupid.

    Apparently, everyone loves your kids better than you do.

  28. My mom would have done serious jail time when I was younger, if the laws were the same. We would ride our bicycles to a store 2 miles away, along a busy 4 lane, 55 mph road… I was 8 at the time. I won’t even let my 8 year old walk to & from school(because of the law, not because anything will happen to him)… and it’s less than 1/4 mile from my home. I have often wondered why the school hasn’t turned several parents in for allowing their kids to walk home from school unsupervised, considering it’s K-5 and most 5th graders are 12 years old at the most. Schools are usually on top of gross child abuse like that.

    I must admit, I have gone into 7-11 with my then 6 and 7 year old sons in the car. I parked right by the door, but never again, the hospitality the State extends is not very attractive.

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