Free-Range Kids

Kids Play in Backyard While Mom Does Dishes. An Investigation Ensues.

Child services strikes again.

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CPS
Screenshot via CTV News

I'm both thrilled and worried when these stories make the news: A Winnipeg mom was doing the dishes while her three kids, 10, 5 and 2, played in their fenced-in backyard.

A neighbor called to report "unattended" kids frolicking and Jacqui Kendrick was visited by a child protective services rep who asked questions about what her own childhood was like, how she punished her kids, and where they slept. She also looked in Jacqui's fridge, according to CTV News.

Happily, the shrink that the CTV reporter interviewed to provide some sanity pointed out that neighbors should complain to each other, not to the authorities.

That, perhaps, is the crux of the matter. The easiest way to feel smug and muck up someone's life is to call CPS, say, "so and so is abusive" and hang up. The system, dedicated to the idea that child abuse is so rampant that no stone can be left unturned seems to investigate every call. Even ones about kids "neglected" in their own backyard.

So why does a story like this thrill me? Because the more we hear about these Kafka-esque investigations of families—of healthy children engaged in mildly unsupervised playtime—the more we resolve: This has to change.

Barring actual abuse, parents must be allowed to raise their kids the way they think is best, even if a CPS worker would raise her kids some other way. And barring, say, a backyard filled with heroin and alligators, kids must be allowed to be outside, unsupervised, even if a neighbor faints at the idea.

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42 responses to “Kids Play in Backyard While Mom Does Dishes. An Investigation Ensues.

  1. So no kids outside in Florida.

    1. With the pythons, gators and now monitor lizards, you’d be feeding the kid to a Reptile!

      1. I really get a kick out of how many times I see you comment. It appears to be a slow day (well let’s be honest: everyday) at work in the bowels of government.

        1. NTTAWWT! A gov’t employee doing nothing is how I prefer it.

          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!

  2. So why does a story like this thrill me? Because the more we hear about these Kafka-esque investigations of families?of healthy children engaged in mildly unsupervised playtime?the more we resolve: This has to change.

    Um, what the fuck.

    Vulture.

    1. Meh, nothing wrong with wanting to pile straw on the camel.

  3. I like to pretend that all these apparent busybodies siccing gov’t bureaucracies on their neighbors are actually don’t-tread-on-me types giving nosy rubbernecking neighbors a taste of their own hotdish.

    My world is one of pretend, and it’s a happier world.

    1. My world is one of pretend, and it’s a happier world.

      Yup.

      In my pretend world, children routinely call the police on CPS agents. The situation ends with an otherwise okay child locked in a police car and a murder-suicide. A tiny minority political faction laments the dearth of Officers and Social Workers.

  4. Fear your neighbor as much as you fear your government. That is all.

    1. Or vet and befriend your neighbors, and make sure they’re good people who will have your back.

      Government bureaucracies will always exist as a tool for vindictive or moralizing assholes. We can only hope that ever more people realize that they’re expediencies for jerks to do cruel things, and not moral institutions fending off chaos.

      1. How do you vet your neighbors, exactly?

        IF one of them is a busybody, or someone moving into your neighborhood is a busybody, exactly what can you do about it?

        1. You tell them their house was built on a pet cemetery. Then engage in spooky mischief.

        2. Engage in a little harmless vandalism.

          1. Exactly. Or move your couch to the front yard, sit on it all day while staring at their house.

            1. while wearing a sleeveless shirt and drinking beer, maybe put a toilet on the lawn. Of course some communities have rules against that sort of thing

        3. It’s not foolproof, but you can meet them and use your excellent discriminatory faculties and judgment of character.

          Bring them cookies. If they freak out about a stranger giving them baked treats, you know they’re bad news. If they smile and say thank you and eat one right there on the stoop with you, and then bring out a couple of beers, one for you, and then you talk about how it’s great when kids can just run around the neighborhood and just like be kids, and you bond over Little House on the Prairie and wasn’t Michael Landon such a babe ? then they’re probably ok.

          1. So, when I moved in to my current residence I dropped an entire case of 7.62×39 right in front of the neighbor walking up to me with a welcome basket an wine…all the while swearing like a sailor. She still likes me but for about three years she thought I murdered my wife an buried her in the back yard.

            1. Where did you bury her?

        4. It’s time for some security so you can keep those kiddos safe.
          1. Install security cameras around the exterior of the house. Point them toward your neighbor’s windows.
          2. Install outdoor motion sensor spotlights. Make sure they go off at the slightest blow of the wind and are aimed at your neighbor’s windows and doors. You may run past them 3 or 4 times a night just to make sure they work.

  5. CPS agencies are given the authority to intervene into our lives without any justification whatsoever. Unless the kids were doing damage to her property there was no reason for the neighbor to get involved.

  6. I see a business opportunity: parent mannequins. Put one in your yard, like a scarecrow, to keep Child Services away.

    1. I love it.

      We could use more scare* mannequins overall. Scaresolicitors, scarebusybodies, …

    2. How about fake ID’S for the kids? They can’t investigate if the kids are “really” adults!

      I had genetic tests done on the kids. They are about 15% neanderthal, so when they come calling, I just tell them, “Your human laws don’t apply to us”….oh, and “Fire Bad!”

  7. We could probably get rid of these spurious complaints of we did away with anonymous complaints.

    You wanna be anonymous? Then you must not think its very important. I mean, if its important, you’d be willing to stand behind your complaint, right?

    1. We could probably get rid of these spurious complaints of we did away with anonymous complaints.

      If only we had a document that explicitly talked about asset forfeiture, facing your accuser, etc.

      1. Heresy I say!

  8. Seriously, in the fucking fenced-in backyard? Isn’t that where they’re supposed to play?

    That lady should go over to the neighbors with an iron frying pan and beat some fucking sense into them.

  9. Yet the person that called this in is not punished, not fined and not questioned at all.

    1. A neighbor ever does this to me, I’m sending whatever authority comes to my door right back to my neighbor’s.

      “Oh really? No, they were playing back in the yard, but I was right by the window… come to think of it, so was Mrs. Pearl C. Lutcher. Yeah, she stands there a lot and never takes her eyes off my kids. Rubs her chest a lot while doing it. I mean, she’s never been all that menacing to them when she talks to them over the fence whenever I step inside real fast, but yeah, gives me the creeps a little the way she looks at them. But I guess she can’t help what she looks like…

      …well anyways, take a look around. I’m sure you’ll find nothing untoward around here.”

      1. “…well anyways, take a look around. I’m sure you’ll find nothing untoward around here.”

        No. Never invite a CPS worker into your home. Never let them speak to your kids or cross the threshold without a warrant.

  10. Thank God we have a nice 8-foot-high privacy fence. I hope this derp creep doesn’t reach Texas.

  11. What distinguishes “unsupervised” in the backyard from “unsupervised” in the bedroom? If kids can’t play in the backyard, then they shouldn’t be left alone. EVER. Not even to take a shit…in private. Not even so you can take a shit…in private.

  12. I definitely need a few acres, just to keep the neighbors away.

  13. the more we hear about these Kafka-esque investigations of families?of healthy children engaged in mildly unsupervised playtime?the more we resolve: This has to change.

    You would think so. But unfortunately every story of overreach that makes it through to the public consciousness is countered by a story of the failures of CPS departments. Like losing track of kids altogether. Or much, much worse.

    And those opposite examples carry 100 times more weight than our belovedly awful free-range kids examples. The nanny state moves ever forward.

    The Nanny State is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead safe.

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    1. I admit that my sister was like really generating cash in his free time

      If he already transitioned, it is very inappropriate to refer to him as your sister.

  16. We need the email and phone number of the harassing neighbor. So that we may taunt them wigorouswy.

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  18. RE: Kids Play in Backyard While Mom Does Dishes. An Investigation Ensues.
    Child services strikes again.

    Hopefully, child services will take the urchins away from their mother and place them in a gulag for children.
    Somewhere, Stalin is smiling.

  19. Life in a socialist coountry exactly like the one progressives want to create here…. all you need to know..

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