Free-Range Kids

A Kentucky Family of 7 Didn't Practice Social Distancing. Now Child Services Is Investigating the Parents for Abuse.

A Home School legal defense group calls it "a terrible thing and a waste of time."

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What's a parent to do? It was early in March, COVID-19 fears were on the rise, and two Kentucky parents who were new to the state needed to open up a bank account. Seeing no other option, they took their seven kids to the bank with them.

By the time they had returned home from their errand, a child protective services caseworker and a law enforcement officer were waiting at the door to investigate them for child abuse.

That's according to Jim Mason of the Home School Legal Defense Association, who blames the false report on panic over COVID-19 social distancing rules. A letter from child services, obtained by Reason confirmed the existence of the complaint.

The parents, referred to as "Bill and Kristy," are homeschoolers. Kristy had moved to Kentucky in advance of Bill, who had remained in New York City finishing up work. When they arrived at the bank, the parents opted to let the two oldest children wait in the car. The other five had to accompany them into the building, which had a COVID-19 warning sign on the door. They were not treated warmly, writes Mason:

The teller immediately interrogated Bill and Kristy about why they had brought five kids into the bank at one time. She [the teller] told them they could not get within six feet of her and that they needed to take the children out. Kristy explained that the children were too young to be left unsupervised by an adult, and neither she nor Bill could take them elsewhere because the couple were opening a joint account, and both had to be present.

While Bill stayed with the children away from the counter, Kristy opened the account, feeling self-conscious as the staff whispered to each other and watched her family suspiciously. When Bill walked to the counter to show his New York ID and to sign, the bank staff asked why Bill's and Kristy's identifications were from different states, which the couple explained.

Back at home, the authorities confronted Bill and Kristy, who discovered that someone had called in an anonymous tip claiming that a mother of five had taken her children out with a man who wasn't their dad, and they had bruises on their arms that indicated rough grabbing.

The investigator proceeded to question the kids away from the parents, and he made at least one of the boys take off his shirt to look for bruises. Kristy told Mason that the investigator wanted to do the same with the girls, but she objected, so he only pulled up the girls' sleeves and took photos.

Already, there's a problem: If the kids were wearing long sleeves (it was a cold day), how had anyone spotted bruises? Of course, the caller got other information wrong, too: Bill was very much the kids' father.

The parents presume the call came from someone inside the bank, since it specified five kids rather than seven. Whoever the caller was, they provided the exact kind of information—bruising, suspicion persons, etc.—that prompts a CPS investigation.

When Bill handed over his license, the investigator could see from his last name he was not an "unrelated male." And when the kids showed him their arms, he could see the bruises didn't exist. Case closed? If only.

When I spoke with Mason by phone, he explained the idea of an "off ramp." In theory, he said, once an investigator gets to a home, checks for the supposed crime and comes up empty handed, he or she should turn around and leave—i.e., take the off ramp. Anything else "is such a terrible thing and a waste of time."

But all too often, investigators insist that they must robotically keep probing: opening cabinets, looking in the fridge, questioning kids. This Kentucky investigator even questioned the family about which homeschool curriculum they were using, as if that had some bearing on the case.

That's why the Home School Legal Defense Association, as well as its allies who make up United Family Advocates, have been trying to get "Off Ramp" legislation passed. Once an investigation comes up empty-handed, the investigator should simply leave rather than get started checking off a giant list of possible problems.

The groups are also hoping that some day the states will outlaw anonymous reporting. That way it would be harder for people to weaponize the system against families that got on their nerves. Currently, it's just far too easy to bring a case into existence.

What's more, parents in Kentucky—and the rest of the country—also deserve a law like Utah's Free-Range Parenting Bill, which says that simply taking your eyes off your kids is not neglect. Neglect is blatant disregard for their safety. Especially in these times, parents who want their kids to wait in the car or even at home, rather than dragging them into stores, should be able to make that sensible decision without fearing an investigation—or worse.

The HSLDA's lawyers are working with the family. But the state gets 45 days to close an investigation, and Mason said it can easily get an extension, turning a time already tense with pandemic fears into a protracted period of torment.

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  1. The teller is just another snichenfuehrer. Why can’t people mind their own business?

    1. It wouldn’t bother me, if the snitch were not anonymous and were held personally accountable for false charges.

      1. What’s a parent to do?

        Use a little detective work to figure out the snitch?

        1. Get a different bank for starters.

          1. That was my reaction, too. I’d be closing the account in a heartbeat. And being very public on social media about why.

            I’d also be reconsidering whether my spouse and I really needed a joint account. With the rise of internet banking, it’s just as easy to create separate accounts, then grant each other permission to them. Granted, it doubles the minimum balance you have to maintain. But for my spouse and I, it’s been a lot less trouble than a joint account.

            1. Yeah, that is where my head is as well….simply leave the bank and tell your story on social media.

              1. They’d be doing that bank a favor. Lousy judgment, seven children, homeschooling, inadequate resources . . . no bank is likely to profit from a commercial relationship with these parents.

                Most worthwhile prospective customers would not identify with misfits who parade children into a bank during a pandemic. A social media campaign would likely go nowhere fast.

                1. Your aim in casting stones, Rev, is as poor as your comprehension as to why they were out with the kids.

                  1. Some days I say he has a double-digit IQ. Other days I think I’m overestimating.

                2. That’s right. Parents have no right to raise their children and take them places. State over all!
                  #praisedemocrats
                  #orangemanbad

                3. What makes you think they have inadequate resources? That is just an assumption on your part.

                  1. Because he’s a fucking ignoramus.

                4. I registered on this website just so I could tell this faux reverend he’s a DOUCHEBAG.
                  People like you are #1 reason people are waking up & leaving organized religion in droves.
                  Thanks for leaving the “Rev.” in your profile name.
                  We need more people like you out in cyberland peddling hate right now, so everyone can see all of you “follow the herd idiots” and the fakery, hypocrisy, hate-mongering and judgement … in all of its glory!
                  I truly hope that if your God does exist, you are judged accordingly.
                  Better pack for some warm weather!
                  And keep up the good work, we need more people like you to wake everyone up so they can invest their time wisely (aka NOT listening to RELIGIOUS HACKS like you!)

                  1. I’m sure the only god the rev believes in is almighty government.

                    He’s a piece of shit of the highest order. In fact, I’d go so far as to say if he actually believes 1/10th of the shit he posts, the world would be a better place if he would just fuck off and die already.

                  2. Hate to burst your bubble however “Rev” is anti-religion like you. So all he really does is make people like you look like idiots.

                5. Nice to see the Rev’s oikophobia in full flower.

                6. If they bring their children into the bank with them so they can open a joint account, they’re irresponsible and should have their children taken away from them for neglect and abuse. And if they leave the children in the car while they come into the bank–well, everyone knows that leaving children in a car is tantamount to handing them over to kidnappers, so they should have their children taken away from them for neglect and abuse. This dilemma should be solved by simply forbidding knuckle-draggers (defined as anyone who homeschools or had more than 2 children) from opening bank accounts, the way we do with terrorists.

            2. Use a credit union with naiotnwide ATM access. Two separate accounts which can be linked.What way money can be hopped from one to the other online. Separate ATM cards, maybe each get both. That way if one is lost/compromised they can leave that account at zero and work off the other one.

              No minimum balance or fees. Since credit unions are member owned, you don’t have snarky nannie busybodies calling CPS on nothingburgers.

              I’ve been done with typical banks for decades now. The big ones are corrupt and crooked, the littler ones make travel without paying fees everytime you sneeze impossible. Credit unions are the ONLY money institutions I’ll deal with.

    2. That’s a good question

    3. And the Left thinks the Right is stupid to oppose these…well, blatant violations of any semblance of natural rights.

    4. I wanna know the name and address of the bank so I can publicize–

  2. It’s Kentucky. the authorities were checking to see if those kids had proper marriage licenses.

  3. Another good example of why only victims, or their guardians, should be able to prosecute in the normal case; in the case of wards who are not able to prosecute, as here, the prosecutor has to be personally accountable for false charges. Anything else is not justice.

  4. Ron Bailey, this is what pimping bad science gets you.

  5. I can’t believe people are abusing all this panic we’ve been inducing.

  6. THIS is the kind of thing that PROVES indubitably, that Government Almighty doth LOVE us all, indeed, AND The Children! Beyond the shadow of the slightest doubt! Do NOT be unbleevers, ye unchurched heathens ye!!!

    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. Got tired of shitting up threads as “Brandybuck” I see.

      1. Speaking of shitting up threads, the value of your contribution is ???_________________???? (Please fill in the blank, pulling non-existent data from the vacuum between your ears).

        Inquiring minds want to KNOW, dammit!

    2. Goddammit you AIDS spreading whore, why are you not dead?

      1. That was for ass fuck sqrlsy

  7. “The parents, referred to as “Bill and Kristy,” are homeschoolers. ”

    2019: homeschooling is bad because kids aren’t socialized

    2020: homeschooling is bad because kids are getting too socialized

  8. “The groups are also hoping that some day the states will outlaw anonymous reporting.”

    If only the sixth amendment were as clear as the second, so there could be misunderstanding.

  9. someone had called in an anonymous tip claiming that a mother of five had taken her children out with a man who wasn’t their dad, and they had bruises on their arms that indicated rough grabbing.

    “You see: ‘anonymous’ — so there’s no need to be concerned over your privacy when we mandate apps for social-distancing and contact-tracing.”

  10. Family of 9?

    1. Irish Catholics maybe? Who knows.

    2. A good percentage of the homeschooling community are Evangelicals. Not that unusual.

      It’s easy to see why they fled the People’s Republik of Noo Yawk.

      1. I was correcting the headline.

  11. The parents appear to be irresponsible. The informant was worse. Mason sounds like an unreliable source for a balanced account. The children — let’s just hope they overcome their circumstances over time.

    No winners to be found here.

    1. Going to a bank with your parents? Horrible. They might grow up thinking that money doesn’t grow on government trees

      1. During a pandemic? It surprises me that bigoted dullards do not recognize the risks associated with a pandemic, but I suppose it should not. The concentration of ignorance, superstition, bigotry, dysfunction, and backwardness has become severe in the red state backwaters.

        1. Clearly, you not not a parent (leaving aside that you are in fact a Human Hemorrhoid). With what head do you leave small children unattended, period?

          1. I would — did — avoid having seven children without the resources to properly care for them.

            These children seem pointed toward living in Kentucky (bright flight in reverse, thanks to their parents), below the poverty line, with disaffected, downscale parents. Decent people do not applaud those circumstances.

            Clingers, however . . .

            1. Hmmmmm which article did YOU read? I saw nothing that would point toward backwards, poverty, indecent, not having resources to “properly” care for however many children they have…..

              They just arrived from another state, are getting personal and pracitcal affairs lined up, likely have few trustable contacts in their new area, and simply need to move their banking matters to alocal bank, rahter than trying to deal itnerstate with where they came from. They did leave two “of age” kids in the car, rather than be “irresponsible” and leaving the younger five with the older two stupidly deemed “incomeptent” by the state, thus complhying with silly laws. Fact is, I know quite a nubmer of families where children too yhoung to legally be left with younger siblings in the car are fullly capable, and often DO, manage the entire household. You equate all children with the mind-numbed unthinking irresponsible product of the typical gummit skewlz.

              It would seem a good thing that YOU do not have seven children.

              1. You’re assuming that fuckwit CAN read.

            2. They moved to Ky from NEW YORK you dimwit ass sh!t fool!

        2. You mean the disease that really doesn’t affect the very young? The disease where everyone was already taking active measures against? The same parents that had they chosen the wrong baby sitter and something happened because in this brand new place they moved to they couldn’t vet someone would have in you mind deserved the death penalty because the State taking those children is anxiously better for them

          Do as Trump says and try to fix this virus with Clorox, you cuck.

    2. “No winners to be found here.” — not within that comment, no.

    3. The winner is the bank on the next corner that will end up getting their business.

      1. Because you figure these slack-jaws are the modern Rockefellers?

    4. This from the guy with no kids and no clue.

      1. In my experience most of the Child Protection Bureaucracy is made up of angry, unmarried 30-something Karens with degrees in child psychology or family therapy.

        People who agree with them tend to have the same background.

        1. I love it. Karens

    5. Can a jar full of the gall bladders of failed dictators get the coronavirus? The world can only wait and hope that something kills you soon.

      Or would you like to brag about how you like to leer over other peoples’ kids some more, you sick bastard!

    6. You realize if they had left the kids in the Car CPS would have been called for child abandonment or worse if the windows rolled up

      CPS and the busy body reporting them are evil

      1. He probably realizes that and thinks that would be for their own good.

        1. I have relative with several young children her husband is deployed and has to take her kids everywhere. People like this are scary authoritarians who believe the government is god

          1. People who have seven children without the resources to provide properly for them are substandard people.

            I hope the children overcome the handicap that is their parents.

            1. No one said they don’t have the resources to provide for their kids thats just your typical ignorant liberal stereotyping assumption of anyone they don’t know

            2. Where in the world did you get the idea that they don’t have the resources to provide properly for their children? Do you just assume that anyone who can’t afford a nanny is a pauper?

            3. Fuck off, Rev. Karen.

  12. “The groups are also hoping that some day the states will outlaw anonymous reporting.”

    While states are setting up anonymous tip lines to report people ignoring quarantines and exercising their rights. That’s like East Germany outlawing the Stasi.

  13. 1. Your neighbor is the most dangers agent of the government.
    B. You don’t get 7 kids by social distancing… amirite? Amirite?

  14. Find out who called that tip in. And sue the shit out of them.

    1. It had to be someone in the bank, sue the bank itself.

      1. Sue? Fuck no. Background check each bank employee suspected and find out if they have kids. If not, then certainly their relatives have kids.

        Return the favor.

        1. Yes, so much this. Anonymous tips work both ways. Fuck them and fuck the system till it breaks.

          1. Whining, disaffected clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

            1. Actually, I suspect your favorite thing is prepubescent boys.

          2. What makes you think they have inadequate resources? That is just an assumption on your part.

  15. That’s why the Home School Legal Defense Association, as well as its allies who make up United Family Advocates, have been trying to get “Off Ramp” legislation passed.

    Off Ramp just invites them to find more trivial infractions that ‘count’ during their investigations. How about “I had a hat” legislation that allows investigators to be treated as trespassers once their investigation wraps up without finding any evidence.

  16. I was thinking about the last time (before COVID-19) that I saw people walking around in masks, and it was in the wake of 9/11–after the anthrax attacks.

    It seems so silly now to have been scared witless of anthrax back then. It’s so embarrassing for people who were scared of anthrax back then, that if you try to tie that fear to people’s support for the clusterfuck that is Iraq, they’re so ashamed of being so scared, they deny their support had anything to do with that.

    This will happen with COVID-19, too. The COVID-19 alarmists will be remembered the way people remember the John Birch Society, and people will deny they were ever afraid of COVID-19 the way they deny being scared of anthrax in September of 2001. They should remember, however, that everything is archived on the internet these days–more so than it was in 2001, and the internet never forgets.

    And going after a family for not practicing social distancing really should be remembered like conspiracy theories about fluoridation.

  17. sounds like time for new bank.

    1. Considering that the bank employee falsely reported them by accessing their address through bank records, they should report the bank to federal authorities.

  18. You can open a joint bank account without both people being present. I have no idea how much of the rest of the story is true, but the claim that both adults had to go into the bank together is bogus.

    1. So the fuck what? Both adults had to go into the bank at some point.

    2. definitely this was the takeaway.

    3. Oh, so definitely child abusers then. Case closed. Whatever.

    4. Not at any bank I know. One partner might be able to initially open the account but the other person can’t get access until both people are physically present.

      1. Then you don’t know many banks. I’ve opened two joint accounts in different banks with my brother, who lives 2,500 miles away. One of the banks is Bank of America. You may have heard of it.

        1. For clarification, where those recent? That is, under all the latest “know your customer” laws and regulations? My last experience with this was just under a year ago. (We stuck with separate accounts rather than deal with the hassle.)

        2. You can open a joint bank account, like my wife did at our credit union, but not have access to it until you went in and give them your signature, like I had to.

          Just because YOUR bank does it doesn’t mean that EVERY bank does it.

    5. That depends on the bank and State law.

    6. Depends on the state

  19. The teller immediately interrogated Bill and Kristy about why they had brought five kids into the bank at one time. …

    Back at home, the authorities confronted Bill and Kristy, who discovered that someone had called in an anonymous tip claiming that a mother of five had taken her children out with a man who wasn’t their dad, and they had bruises on their arms that indicated rough grabbing.

    I think we all can guess who made the “anonymous tip.” Was the teller’s name Karen by any chance?

    I would go back to the bank, ask to speak privately to the bank manager and file a little “anonymous complaint” of my own. Then I would close the account and take my business elsewhere while encouraging anyone else I know to do the same.

    1. Losing the business of every Downscale Dan and Sally Slack-Jaw in town? That’ll show that financial institution not to mess with no-count clingers!

  20. But all too often, investigators insist that they must robotically keep probing: opening cabinets, looking in the fridge, questioning kids. This Kentucky investigator even questioned the family about which homeschool curriculum they were using, as if that had some bearing on the case.

    The HSLDA’s lawyers are working with the family. But the state gets 45 days to close an investigation, and Mason said it can easily get an extension, turning a time already tense with pandemic fears into a protracted period of torment.

    Unfortunately now that they’ve gotten lawyers involved it’s pretty much a certainty that the CPS fucksticks will drag this out for as long as they possibly they can because “only guilty people hire lawyers” and as always “FYTW.”

    1. Thankfully HSLDA is pretty good at this stuff. They’re lucky they had a lawyer; otherwise it could have gotten messy.

      Introducing your lawyer to a CPS bureaucrat works pretty much like flashing a cross to a vampire. Aside from the inconvenience, they’re going to be okay.

  21. These obedient , tiny minded people would have fit right in to pre-war nazi Germany .

    1. A lot of people always would, we’re just seeing the examples now. The state is always masterful at inciting immoral action along the pretense of moral superiority, for which people are absolute suckers. Nazi Germany wasn’t special in the moral makeup of it’s populace, just in it’s circumstances and leadership.

      1. One must bear in mind, however, that long before WWII, and even before Hitler and the Nazis came into power in Germany, Germany was already vulnerable to having the Nazis end up being elected into power, because they’d always had a strong streak of anti-semitism, along with a lot of other stuff, and the destruction of the Weimar Republic resulted in lots of bitterness, which culminated in the “Final Solution”, which resulted in extermination of a total of 11 million people, most of who were Jews, but were also gypsies, Roma, Catholic priests and nuns, Italian POW’s, homosexuals, and people who were physically and/or mentally disabled, whether they were Jewish or not.

  22. “Bill and Kristy” need to find another bank.

    1. They need to tell the world what bank it was, also!

  23. If the complaint indeed included allegations of bruises on the arms, they probably have a case for slander. And as for “anonymous”, whoever made the complaint had a name, address and phone number, presumably. So I’m thinking they can narrow that down pretty quick.

    I’d say a letter to the bank president on attorney letterhead demanding they preserve all evidence would get a favorable response.

  24. It’s a Red State. I thought this only happened in Hillary’s Blue States?

    1. The person who called in the complaint was probably the head of the county Republican Party.

      /sarc

    2. They’ve got a Democratic governor.

  25. That’s how the government keeps the serfs in line.

    We aren’t afraid to risk our own lives; so they target the children.

    That tactic won’t work for long once enough CPS workers are buried.

  26. Anonymous tips shouldn’t be allowed and if the allegation is unfounded the tipster should be fined.

  27. Tyranny of the overly terrified.

  28. Freaking Blue state nanny gov’t

    oh,. wait

    funny how the terror stories of gov’t overreach are all coming from trumpski country

    funny that

    1. They recently elected a Democrat governor, or did you not know?

  29. First mistake was not packing up all five younger kids and walking back out the door to that bank. The “vibe” described would have had me making a fast but polite exit. At that point they had not yet produced ID, so the anon crank would have had no handle on them.

    Second mistake was allowing the dirty copper to enter the home and inspect. “Do you have a warrant?” No? Come back when you have one. And it BETTER be strongly supported by sworn tesimony by an identified credible WITNESS (not some nameless heartless brainless bank dweeb) establishing by a preponderance of the evidence a clearly articulable probable cause of action.

    1. “Get a warrant” and “You’re trespassing, get off my property” should be in the vocabulary of everyone encountering CPS. Gives you time to call your lawyer.

      And if they don’t get off your property, call the cops on them. Make it hard for them just like they want to make it hard for you.

  30. The story sounds a bit contrived to me…

  31. Just like the fucking police. EVERYONE is a suspect and they will keep digging until they find something!

    “But all too often, investigators insist that they must robotically keep probing: opening cabinets, looking in the fridge, questioning kids.”

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  33. I can find nothing anywhere that tells us what bank they went to, or even what city or county it was.
    I think it would be helpful for the rest of the world to know that…

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  38. I think the CPS folks should be arrested and charged with gross violation of the stupidity laws.

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