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8-Year-Old Girl Walks Dog Around Block, Police and Child Services Investigate Mom

"We want to investigate…because you just don't know."

WalkVvvita / DreamstimeCorey Widen let her 8-year-old do the most normal, cheerful thing in the world—walk the dog around the block. After the girl returned home, the doorbell rang. It was the police.

The cops had received a call about an unsupervised child, and had to question the mom. After doing so, they quickly dropped the matter. But then the Department of Children and Family Services picked it up again—interrogating not just Widen but her kids, other family members, and even her pediatrician.

This was all due to the ridiculous assumption that one must leave no stone un-turned, even when the inciting incident was as benign as taking the dog for a walk—in my home town, of all places.

That's right: Wilmette, Illinois, is where I would walk to kindgergarten, just like everyone else. I was just 5-years-old, and my crossing guard was a 6th grader. No one arrested my mom, or shut down the school for allowing a tween to direct traffic.

Can it be that the world has become so dangerous in the intervening years? Here are the Wilmette crime stats:

The overall crime rate in Wilmette is 59% percent lower than the national average. For every 100,000 people, there are 3.18 daily crimes that occur in Wilmette. Wilmette is safer than 83% of the cities in the United States.

I don't mean to imply that a town has to be this super safe for parents to allow their kids outside. But if we are investigating parents who let their kids go outside when there is almost every reason to believe they are going to be fine, what are we investigating them for? Trusting their kids? Their neighborhood? Their grasp of statistics? If we can investigate parents for not doing anything dangerous or unusual, do parents have any rights at all?

"This case should have been screened out immediately and not sent for an investigation," Diane Redleaf, a long-time family defense attorney and author of the forthcoming book They Took the Kids Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Families At Risk, told me. Under DCFS's new rules, she said, this is actually not neglect. Adopted in 2016 in the wake of the Natasha Felix case—the mom investigated for letting her kids, ages 11, 9, and 5, play in the park across the street from her home—the new rules state a parent must have exhibited "blatant disregard" for the child's safety to be officially neglectful.

"It is distressing that DCFS continues to be unlawful in targeting reasonable parents," said Redleaf. "Letting a child walk the dog isn't a dangerous decision that needs to be penalized—with the risk of the parent losing their job if they land on the child abuse registry—it needs to be encouraged in order to help children grow into responsible adults."

Sometimes I wonder whether this phenomenon—cops investigating parents for letting their kids play outside, or wait briefly in the car—is widespread. On my end it seems rampant, because people contact me when it happens to them, and send me their stories. But I never wanted to be the Nancy Grace of parent arrests, flogging the few stories that actually happen, as if they are legion.

Hearing of this particular investigation in Wilmette, though, literally brings the issue home. As The Tribune's Kate Thayer writes:

...those charged with investigating child abuse and neglect cases say it's important to thoroughly check out all allegations, and it's hard to create a system that doesn't have at least some level of subjectivity.

"We want to investigate … because you just don't know," said DCFS spokesman Neil Skene. "You also don't want to say (to the public), 'Don't call us unless it's serious.' There are all these other cases where we say, 'if only someone had called us.'"

But how many "if only someone had called us" cases actually involved walking the dog, or letting a kid wait in the car while mom picks up the pizza? When normal parenting can be interpreted as neglect or abuse, no family is safe. Not even in my sweet home town.

Photo Credit: Vvvita / Dreamstime

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  • Vernon Depner||

    "You also don't want to say (to the public), 'Don't call us unless it's serious.'

    Uh...yes, you do.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    and...and lose all that overtime??!?!

  • patskelley||

    The purpose of such harassment? Creates/justifies government jobs!

  • Vernon Depner||

    Instills fear of the government at an early age.

  • Echospinner||

    Exactly.

    An atmosphere of fear and intimidation is how authoritarians maintain control. The busybody who called in is just as much a victim of this as the child. It is a process of conditioning people to see a monster behind every bush which only the authorities can protect from.

    Even seemingly minor things like plastic straw bans are all a part of the same process. Giving government control over every aspect of our lives.

    It has only gotten worse over time. We and many other places are becoming less free and moving to autocratic rule.

  • Trollificus||

    Create statistics that guarantee departmental budget stability or increase. You know, "good statistics".
    As in:
    Good statistic: # of cases reported and investigated.
    Bad statistic: % of # that are clearly not neglect, are the result of busybodies, or vindictive misreporting.
    BEST statistic: children actually abused, but neither reported or investigated, indicating clearly that "something must be done!". (note that this is not so much a 'statistic' as an anecdote or data point)

    Legislators defending the "good work" justifying departmental budget increase will reference the appropriate category, and local media will reliably over-report the garish/suggestive anecdote.

    Thus you end up with a CPS department that has plenty of staff to investigate dog-walking, park playing and unaccompanied bike-riding.

  • Sevo||

    patskelley|8.22.18 @ 7:14PM|#
    "The purpose of such harassment? Creates/justifies government jobs!"

    If those folks didn't waste their time on crap like this (and then 'writing up the report'!), how could they justify stiking their hands in the taxpayers' pockets?

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    We're getting to the point that they don't have to justify it.

  • Conchfritters||

    For fuck sake people - mind your own fucking business. How hard can it fucking be? Nosy neighbors deputizing themselves and inserting themselves into every fucking situation possible. Ass sniffing mother fuckers - you want to come into her house and rifle through her family's drawers and personal shit too?? I hope the girl and her friends find out who called the cops on her, and they leave a flaming bag of dog shit on their front step.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Daily.
    For years.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Fuck that. I'd SWAT the motherfuckers.

  • croaker||

    No need to involve SWAT in a situation easily handled with a Louisville Slugger or a cordless drill.

  • JFree||

    For fuck sake people - mind your own fucking business. How hard can it fucking be?

    IDK - ask Wang Yue. Is there some set of rules/principles - or complaining about a different set of rules - that can deal with everything or anything for that matter?

    Personally I've long thought that the real source of the overprotection problem here in the US is kids being driven around everywhere. The rarer it is to see kids playing and going places on their own, the more it can look like neglect to the nosy. But kids playing and going places on their own - esp on/near modern roads - well the more you'll get the Wang Yue type situations

  • TangoDelta||

    The Want Yue case is a direct result of Communist nannyism where the state is assumed to be omniscient and omnipotent. If you involve yourself in anything you can expect a full on rectal exam from the state to verify you're a person of worth and never watched a Winnie the Pooh flic. General result, your wife can be stabbed to death by some sword wielding psycho and the cops might come by at one point that day.

  • Peryno||

    Can you sleep alone at night, wake to find the scorching light of neighbor Jim, he's come to turn you in

  • ||

    Second that!!

  • cc2||

    I walked to school starting in kindergarden. Seriously. In the snow. 2 blocks. We cut through an alley. After I was 7 it was 3 blocks. Not far from where this story takes place. People have lost their minds.

  • CE||

    2 blocks? For me it was 2 miles, uphill, both ways, in the snow. If it was 30 below, sometimes my mom would make me wear a hat.

  • Sevo||

    A classmate!

  • JFree||

    We used to dream of walking uphill both ways to school. We had to carry the school itself around to all the other students, spend the school day under the foundation, and then carry the school back at the end of the day to drop off the students.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    At least you made it to school. We had to run to school each morning. But before we got even halfway there, we had to get a quarter of the way there. Before traveling a quarter, we had to travel one-eighth, before an eighth, one-sixteenth, and so on and on to infinity. We had to accomplish an infinite number of tasks, just to make it to school!

  • NashTiger||

    LUXURY

    We used to get up for school at 9:30PM, a half an hour before we went to bed, drink a cup of cold sulphuric acid for breakfast, walk twenty three hours to school mill, , and when we got home, our Dad would slice us into with a bread knife and dance about on our graves

  • Ben of Houston||

    I've read Zeno. You are not Zeno, my friend.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    When I lived outside of Pittsburgh, it was about 2 miles as well, part of it down a game trail used by hunters. Nobody ever freaked out.

  • Longtobefree||

    I froze to death my first day of school, yet still graduated on time.

  • Dan S.||

    I also walked two blocks to school by myself in kindergarten. Or was it that I walked home by myself? Yeah, I think it was the latter. I know my mother walked me one way, and I walked by myself the other way. Speaking of reversing things, if it was up to me, it would be parents who simply refuse, for no good reason, to let their kids play outside who would be questioned.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You had snow? We had to collect hydrogen and oxygen, smash 'em together to make water, then blow on until it turned to snow, throw it in front of us (uphill too!), and pick it up after we stepped on it to throw it in front of us again until it finally wore out, and then go back to collecting hydrogen and oxygen. And usually school had closed and re-opened several times by the time we got there.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    It was only a few blocks when I was in kindergarten, by fifth grade we'd moved, and it was half a mile with a trombone that was probably bigger'n me.

    It kind of sucked but, damn, if miles of cars snaked around the school as every parent/guardian personally picked up their child and gave them a ride home, I'd have assumed aliens invaded the planet.

  • perlchpr||

    (1/2)

    Two blocks in kindergarten here too, although it wasn't snowing when I started kindergarten. And I was one of the kids who lived fairly close to the school. Lots of kids walked several blocks even farther than that.

    And after school... My god. These CPS people would spontaneously shit an entire pallet worth of bricks.

    I can only presume that none of these children own a bicycle, because what would be the point in buying a child a toy you'll be arrested if they ever try to use? But way back at the dawn of time, or at least 1981, I used to ride my bicycle for miles, both by myself and in the company of other 5 year olds.

    And if that wasn't enough to give the CPS folks an aneurysm, right across the street from my house was the Meadowland Jumps.

    Back in 1981, BMX was a huge thing still. The Meadowland Jumps was a huge empty lot (multiacre) that dozens of kids, over the years, had built a huge network of trails and ramps out of, not particularly like an actual BMX course, in that it was mostly a series of parallelish trails that led down from a common, perpendicular raised starting area, but definitely built for the purpose of giving kids a place to race their bicycles around and get air with them, oftentimes over obstacles such as pits following the ramps.

  • perlchpr||

    (2/2)

    And this was something pretty much everyone let their kids do. No helmets, no kneepads, no nothing. Shorts and flip-flops. I ended up in the emergency room from my activities at the Jumps on multiple occasions, and no one ever called CPS.

    These people are insane. How the fuck are children ever supposed to learn to do anything, if we never let them do anything?

    ---

    BTW, Reason, the 1500 char limit on comments is really fucking annoying. Not that you give any sort of fuck about your commenting system or its structural problems.

  • Longtobefree||

    "How the fuck are children ever supposed to learn to do anything, if we never let them do anything?"

    That is the point. Socialists do not want kids learning that they are free to do what they want. They want the kids to feel uncomfortable without close supervision. They want the kids to be accepting of anonymous complaints about nothing that result in unwarranted searches and detentions.

    Now, be a good boy and go vote for a democrat.

  • Trollificus||

    At this point I think it's generally accepted that those in the higher echelons of REASON editorial view the commenting system as "quaintly anachronisitic", and if they could revert it to be more like an IRC channel circa 1990 without any expense or effort, they would.

    Note that "without any expense or effort" part, it's key.

  • TangoDelta||

    Meh, from 3rd grade thru 8th it was walk to school before the sun came up, walk back home for lunch, walk back to school after lunch, and only after that did we walk back home. Oddly there was only one fat kid in my class but he lived across the street from the school. More than half the time there was nobody home at lunch so we had to make our own lunch. I actually miss those days since I work too far to get home at lunch even if I drive at the electronically limited maximum speed of my car.

  • ||

    I walked to school starting in kindergarden. Seriously. In the snow. 2 blocks. We cut through an alley. After I was 7 it was 3 blocks.

    You must be really slow.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    My libertopia would make these kinds of things bets of a sort. You want to investigate a crime, serve a warrant? Then you make the explicit bet that you are correct and danger will be found; if not, your actions rebound on you. In this case, that damned snoop would have to pay you to take time off from work to run around investigating her kids, relatives, and co-workers. Of course, she could always simply pay you directly to just forget it, or work out some other arrangement -- an hour in the pillory, for instance, including a basket of rotten tomatoes or eggs, and cleaning it up afterwards.

    I think most people would forgive honest mistakes, if properly and humbly explained. If I were sneaking in a side window of my house because I locked myself out and a cop shows up at a neighbor's behest, the neighbor is the one on the hook. Do we get along? Did the neighbor apologize? Did the cop not cuss at me? Then I'd probably thank the neighbor for his vigilance and tip the cop. But be an ass about it, pretend it's all my fault, and call the meanest dirtiest cop agency on me, you can bet I'm going to demand some rebound.

  • CE||

    Why not just wait for the victim or the victim's relatives to file charges?
    In this case there was no victim, so no charges could even be filed.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Sure, yes, that too in my libertopia. But give people rope to hang themselves. Suppose you see someone being held up in a parking lot, or beaten up. Not everyone wants to just stand by and call 9-1-1. Here's some accountability.

    It doesn't really apply in this case, since the kid was alone; no attacker, kidnapper, etc. But what if the kid was lost and someone thought the parents had locked her out of the house as punishment?

    The point is to make nanny do-gooders think twice, but still act in those rare occasions when they are correct.

  • SRoach||

    That sounds nice, in theory, but I can see a potential issue. What is to prevent the wrongheaded from doubling down, because they have the resources to do so, and don't want to be wrong? Or because they want the accused to be wrong, (or at least punished as if they were.) Or because they don't have the resources to do so in the first place, and therefore have to be right, or in arrears?

    Also, it sounds like the kid was not alone: she had a dog. Now, maybe this is the type of dog that would lick the hand of a kidnapper, and hope for a treat, or maybe it's the type of dog that would lay down its life for its mistress, even though it's shorter than its mistresses already short knee.

    Frankly, this type of activity should be turned on the caller. Shame the intrusive neighbor for thinking this is unreasonable.

    And people are blaming soft drinks and fatty food for childhood obesity. We had all these same foods when I was a kid, but we spent more time in free play, burning the calories off. I spent much of my time climbing trees, building "forts" in the shelter belt, and a host of other things for which there was no instruction manual.
    Heck, kids can't even run at school, between the classroom building and the gym, without the teacher chastising them.

  • SRoach||

    Granted, fountain drink portion sizes were smaller.
    A McDonalds large then, is now a small, and a McDonalds small then, is now a water cup.
    If you wanted one of those ridiculously large drinks, you had to either get it at the 7-Eleven, or your local movie theater; not just ask for an "extra large" at the burger counter.

    But I'm still more inclined to blame helicopter parenting, and helicopter teaching, for sedentary kids getting fat. Kids, these days, eat healthier than we did, even with the outsized fountain drinks, (which they mostly aren't given, any longer, anyway, in favor of milk, or juice.)
    When I was a kid, every lunch had a dessert. Not fruit masquerading as a dessert. Sheet cake, especially chocolate sheet cake, and peanut butter cookies, graced many a food tray, but no longer.

  • James Pollock||

    "But I'm still more inclined to blame helicopter parenting, and helicopter teaching, for sedentary kids getting fat."

    How, when Little Johnny has soccer at 3:00, and little Susie has gymnastics at 4:30, and little Johnny has Little League at 5:00, and Susie has swimming at 7:00?

  • SRoach||

    Just off the top of my head, probably because Little Johnny has soccer at 3:00, which is over at 4:00, followed by Little League, but if he's not playing, or it's not his turn, he's sitting still, doing his homework or playing on his mom's phone while waiting on his sister to finish her activities.
    At gymnastics, he's probably made to be still and not disturb the class, and once they get to the swimming pool, the risk of him drowning, if he's left to his own devices, is just far too high.
    In any case, his available playtime is cut in half, and then whittled down further because so much of what he's doing involves sitting on a bench and waiting his turn.
    But, that's just off the top of my head, basing it on your own hypothetical schedule.

  • James Pollock||

    WHOOSH

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Another feature of my libertopia is that any unpaid restitution debt limits what redress you can file charges for. If you lose and owe $1000, then you can't file for anything less than $1000. Which means that anybody who steals from your for less than $1000 gets away scot-free, and any attempt at preventing it is a crime on your part. It's a variation on the old outlaw status.

    And doing something stupid like claiming a stolen potted plant was worth $1500 is perjury, which means the crime itself doesn't matter. If you did falsely claim $1500 for that potted plant, then no one has to prove that you did get their money; only that you lied in your complaint. You lose and owe that $1500 yourself, plus court costs etc. (Losers always pay in my libertopia.)

    It's been a fun exercise, but mostly for thought experiments.

  • Longtobefree||

    And my personal favorite, perjury will carry the maximum penalty of the crime perjured about, plus 10 years. Lie in a theft crime, theft max plus 10. Lie in a murder, life plus 10.

    And hell yes, losers always pay. If they lack the funds, their lawyer chips in. That alone will cut down bogus suits by 90%.

  • James Pollock||

    "And hell yes, losers always pay."

    That's literally not the American way. In the American rule, each side pays their own lawyer.

    This is true because if losers always pay, but the right side doesn't always win, then people will be afraid to bring meritorious lawsuits.

    (It's already the rule that lawyers can be made to pay for frivolous suits. See FRCP 11, specifically section C.)

  • James Pollock||

    "The point is to make nanny do-gooders think twice, but still act in those rare occasions when they are correct."

    The cure is worse than the disease.
    The nanny do-gooders will have to make extensive investigation to decide whether or not to push something to authorities. So they'll be even MORE up your grill checking things out, not less.

  • perlchpr||

    Perhaps some sort of factor for simple reasonableness in calling. You going in through your side window at least looks like something that could be a crime.

    An 8 year old walking down the sidewalk with a dog does not. (In a sane world, anyway, because clearly, they could just make being outside under the age of 18 a crime in itself.)

    Too, 911 bears a fair bit of responsibility here.

    "911, what's your emergency?"

    "There's an 8 year old outside. With a dog."

    "Uh, are they attacking you?"

    "No, they're walking down the sidewalk."

    "OK... do they look like they're in trouble?"

    "No, she's smiling."

    "THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD FUCK OFF AND LEAVE HER ALONE."

  • James Pollock||

    "An 8 year old walking down the sidewalk with a dog does not" (look like a crime)

    It looks EXACTLY like child neglect.
    It isn't usually, but you can't tell just by looking.

    What does driving without a license look like? It looks like driving. So a cop that has pulled someone over investigates. It's a brief investigation... "license, registration and insurance please."... but we don't just assume that anyone who's driving is doing so with a license.

    When I was 3 years old, I escaped from the backyard by tunnelling out and got a couple miles down the expressway before Johnny Law caught up with me. I exercised my right to remain silent when questioned. A co-worker of my dad's happened to drive by and recognized me, and told the cop where to find my parental unit(s). The cop undoubtedly had a few pointed questions for my mother when he delivered me.

    Many, many years later, during a contentious custody fight, my ex-wife made accusations about my parenting. The judge ordered CPS to investigate. They did. They correctly found that my ex-wife was full of bovine excrement, and reported that conclusion to the judge.

    I suggest that having to undergo an investigation is not a problem if there is nothing bad for them to find when they investigate.
    Now, there certainly are cases where the system is abused, and cases where something innocent is misperceived. Those cases are where our attention should lie. Not on cases where an investigation occurs, and finds nothing wrong.

  • Robes Pierre||

    My experience in Chicago is very different. The attorneys flat out lie to get what they want for their client, and they know exactly which lies will require an investigation. They don't care that they won't find anything. It simply is a weapon to harass, drive up expenses and torture their opponent. The 'opponent' being the father of the child, to keep this in perspective. The GAL in my case, that has now gone on for three years, reported exactly what the mother's attorney claimed, despite the fact that most of the claims were easily verifiably false, self-contradictory, and often logically impossible. He couldn't string three grammatically correct sentences together, or go a paragraph with at least one misspelling, except for the portions which he plagiarized, yet still charged $10,000 for the privilege.
    The investigations done, by at least some actors, are not honest investigations. And we are defenseless against it.

  • James Pollock||

    The problem you are reporting isn't that there is/was an investigation, but rather, that it was performed by incompetents. That is where the attention should be directed.

  • Robes Pierre||

    It was a weapon used against me. It cost $10,000, and now is going to cost my son his college education fund to refute it. Bad actors are not held accountable.

  • James Pollock||

    It was a weapon used against me, too. Except it didn't cost me $10,000 to defeat it.

  • phenryinohio||

    I hate humans

  • Frank Thorn||

  • CE||

    I blame the neighbor. Raise your own kid.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Neighbors are assholes. It is known.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Wanna bet the neighbor doesn't have kids?

  • SRoach||

    I think we can lay the blame of this at the feet of Hillary. It's she who told us "it takes a village".

  • Longtobefree||

    Wait, I thought she said "Village People". So that's where she went wrong - - - -

  • perlchpr||

    I'm always willing to blame Hillary.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    ""It is distressing that DCFS continues to be unlawful in targeting reasonable parents," said Redleaf."

    Not targeting reasonable parents? How else are they going to justify funding and staffing increases?

  • Rich||

    But if we are investigating parents who let their kids go outside when there is almost every reason to believe they are going to be fine, what are we investigating them for?

    Please, Lenore -- Think of the JOBS!

  • Rich||

    *** reads comments ***

    Ah, yes. Word.

  • Rich||

    "We want to investigate … because you just don't know," said DCFS spokesman Neil Skene.

    That's a heckuva slogan, Neil.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    So I guess Neil would be up for random cavity searches of his department's employees (including himself)?

    Because you just don't know.

  • FlameCCT||

    DCFS spokesman Neil Skene publicly demonstrating the ignorance of DCFS. Hey dumbass, yes you dumbass DCFS, the cops had already investigated!!!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    "It is distressing that DCFS continues to be unlawful in targeting reasonable parents," said Redleaf.

    What's the punishment to social workers not following their own rules?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    We'd tell you, except that would violate employee privacy.

  • Longtobefree||

    A few people make fun of you on a web site, and life goes on.

  • croaker||

    Absolutely nothing, which is why this bunch caught a class-action lawsuit.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    "We want to investigate … because you just don't know," said DCFS spokesman Neil Skene.

    As has every despot POS throughout history about anyone they disliked...but Neil continues:

    "You also don't want to say (to the public), 'Don't call us unless it's serious.' There are all these other cases where we say, 'if only someone had called us.'"

    Apparently a Neil doesn't understand that the more DFCS does things like this, the fewer people will ever call them for any reason. Overall a good thing I think, as it's pretty clear they're abusing their authority, but is the exact opposite of what Neil claims to want.

    Unsurprising that an authoritarian asshole is also incredibly stupid. Just feel sorry for the family to have to deal with such totalitarian bullshit, especially the child.

  • Aleyn||

    On the plus side, the dog wasn't killed.

  • Rich||

    Only because DPS took it away from that awful Widen girl.

  • Ben_||

    Stop naming your kids Corey

  • Mike Laursen||

    because you just don't know

    Actually, if somebody is out walking a dog, you do know.

  • SIV||

    OT:

    While I frequently refer to "the cucks at Cato", I'm not including this guy. He done tore Conor Friedersdorf a new backhole.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    benign as taking the dog for a walk—in my home town, of all places.

    Lenore, all due respect, it sounds like its about time you move.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "This case should have been screened out immediately and not sent for an investigation," Diane Redleaf

    It was screened out... by sending two cops and a HAZMAT team from CPS.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Oh, by the way, which neighbor was it, 'cause it had to be someone who knew where to send the cops.

  • James Pollock||

    " it had to be someone who knew where to send the cops."

    You've made an assumption, that doesn't hold up.

    Could be the cops just followed the kid home, and then put two and two together and said "gee, this is probably the kid's home"

  • SIV||

    Based Cato: They're gonna get called "white supremacists" soon if not already.

  • SIV||

  • SIV||

    Of course being Cato it is:
    Billionaires >"Social Justice"

    But I never fault people for supporting the right thing for the (somewhat) wrong reasons.

  • Eddy||

    Oh, by all means let them focus their attention on bike-riding children, that will make it much more likely that they'll catch the parents who chain their children to radiators. Which, by the way, would at least have kept the kid from riding her bike in the dangerous outdoors.

  • Echospinner||

    Marshmallow the dog is somehow the key to this story.

    Something about that fluffy little Maltese set someone off. This kiddo took that walk on a regular basis. Her mom made a good choice. Your job to help take care of marshmallow is take him for a walk once around the block. She watched and when her daughter and dog were fine it was a good routine for her child's development.

    Kids may look the same from your window but not dogs.

    Diane Reynolds (p) is right. Whomever called knew.

    Calling the cops is what the sheeple do in an authoritarian state. Like a girl and her pup are such a danger.

  • ||

    For every 100,000 people, there are 3.18 daily crimes that occur in Wilmette.

    But all of them are SEXUAL TRAFFICKING OF MINORS!

  • yovi||

    I think so. I have nice article healty

  • Jerry B.||

    If this had been in San Francisco, I could see it, as the child was probably taking work away from a trained and licensed professional dog walker.

  • Longtobefree||

    And only the humans are allowed to shit outdoors.

  • perlchpr||

    Man. Think how much water San Francisco could save if they outlawed toilets!

    Don't simply allow the humans to shit outdoors. Mandate it.

    Think of what it'll do for the environment!

  • James Pollock||

    " If we can investigate parents for not doing anything dangerous or unusual"

    This question is going to sound obvious, but it bears asking.
    How do you KNOW the parents did not do anything dangerous or unusual until after there's been an investigation?

  • BBerry12||

    Right. And how do we KNOW that it wasn't a small pervert in a dog suit that was kidnapping the little girl? You go by common sense.

  • James Pollock||

    "You go by common sense."

    Reaching a conclusion without bothering to learn any facts isn't common sense. It's ignorance. The fact that you can't tell these two things apart doesn't speak well for your level of, well, common sense.

    Hint: We know it wasn't a small pervert in a dog suit that was kidnapping the little girl, or even a small dog in a dog suit kidnapping the little girl, because the cops investigated, and didn't find any kidnapping happening.

    They didn't look for neglect, so you don't know there isn't/wasn't any until somebody does. In much the same way, pretty much anyone can pop by and determine that your house isn't currently on fire, but it just might have some conditions that make it likely to become on fire at some point in the future... and the way to find out is to look for those conditions. Saying "well, it isn't on fire now, so it obviously can't ever be on fire" would be pretty stupid, no?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Wow, you are breathtakingly stupid. You must work for a social services agency.

  • James Pollock||

    Breathtakingly stupid, and yet apparently still smarter than you? Your mom must be SO proud of you, you special little thing, you.

  • BillEverman||

    If there is no prima facie evidence that neglect is taking place, then the government's job is to stay out of your business. Sure, a kid outside walking their dog might be neglected, but if there's enough reason to suspect that kid, then there is enough reason to suspect every single kid you see anywhere, any time. And what about the kids you don't see?!?!? They're the ones that you really need to worry about, because they might be locked in somebody's basement--which is why our benevolent overlords need to be allowed to inspect everyone's basements without notice or warrant...just in case.

    No thanks, James, I'd rather not live in your totalitarian hellscape.

  • James Pollock||

    So, in your preferred scenario, the government just gets to decide that you're abusing your kids, WITHOUT having to investigate first?

    Not sure I like your totalitarian hellscape better than mine.

  • BillEverman||

    Okay, I'll type really slowly; maybe that will help you to understand.

    The government doesn't get to decide that you're abusing your kids without investigating first.

    The government doesn't get to investigate unless they have a valid reason to suspect that you are abusing your kids.

    Your kid walking the dog outside is not a valid reason to suspect that you are abusing your kids. If it were, then pretty much everything--the simple fact that you have a kid--would be sufficient reason to launch an investigation. And that is not okay.

    My preferred scenario means that at least reasonable suspicion is needed to initiate an investigation, and no intervention will take place without the investigation providing proof that intervention is warranted.

    Got it now?

  • Vernon Depner||

    Don't get your hopes up.

  • James Pollock||

    "Okay, I'll type really slowly; maybe that will help you to understand.

    The government doesn't get to decide that you're abusing your kids without investigating first."

    OK, I'll type even slower so you have a possibility of following along.

    You don't know there ISN'T abuse until after there's been an investigation.
    That's all I said. It's still true. You filled in a bunch of other crap, decided without consulting me what my opinion is, and then ripped into me for an opinion I don't have.

    YOU are being both stupid and ignorant.
    I tried to point this out for you gently, but no, you didn't want that.

    Twit.

    buh-bye, now.

  • Steve-O||

    How do we know James Pollock isn't running a child prostitution ring out of his house? Answer: We don't, unless there's been an investigation.

    So tell me, James, have you been investigated for child prostitution?

  • James Pollock||

    Gee, Steve-O, odd that your thoughts took you THERE.

    Something you'd like to confess?

  • Riick||

    Steve-O --
    Stopped beating your wife and children? :-)

  • Vernon Depner||

    He could be killing children right now. Better call SWAT.

  • James Pollock||

    "He could be killing children right now."

    Well, he IS on the Internet, looking for someone who's prostituting children. You figure he got despondent when he couldn't find any?

    (See how you have this problem every time when you try to reach a conclusion without first investigating facts?)

  • Steve-O||

    We can't reach any conclusions because you haven't been exonerated yet from your possible child prostitution offense.

  • James Pollock||

    Why not?

    It's just as relevant to the discussion at hand as the fact that you can't prove that you aren't a single, gigantic, unit of genitalia with a massively engorged head.

    (note, please, that here I am stating that you CANNOT prove this, not that you haven't yet proven this.)

    buh-bye.

  • Steve-O||

    Are you by any chance related to Michael Hihn?

    My point here is not that you are running a child prostitution ring. My point is that it would be ridiculous to investigate you for that without some kind of reasonable suspicion that you are.

    I may misunderstand, but it seems to me that you are saying that the absence of an investigation into someone's behavior is itself a sufficient reason to conduct an investigation because the government doesn't yet know what they might be up to.

  • James Pollock||

    "My point here is not that you are running a child prostitution ring. My point is that it would be ridiculous to investigate you for that without some kind of reasonable suspicion that you are."

    With whom are you debating this point?

    " it seems to me that you are saying that the absence of an investigation into someone's behavior is itself a sufficient reason to conduct an investigation because the government doesn't yet know what they might be up to."

    Since I have said nothing even remotely similar to this, I'll just repeat what I DID definitely say before.
    You filled in a bunch of other crap, decided without consulting me what my opinion is, and then ripped into me for an opinion I don't have.
    (Yes, it was directed at someone else the first time, but it's true for you, too.)

  • Steve-O||

    Fine. Just know that after several days and about a dozen posts in this thread, still nobody understands what your opinion actually is or what point you're trying to get across.

  • James Pollock||

    " nobody understands what your opinion actually is"

    Such a sad critique of America, really. Some can't read, and some won't. Either way, they hate it when you point out that they're being an ass.

    Or maybe it's just you, and not "everybody".

  • Steve-O||

    There are three other people above (Vernon, Everman, and BBerry) who likewise cannot understand what the hell you are trying to say. But they are obviously smarter than I am because I'm the only one still trying to engage with you.

  • James Pollock||

    3 people? damn. that's everybody, all right.

  • JonFrum||

    Pure Cover Your Ass material here. If they investigate everyone, they can't be criticized for letting a child get hurt. They are perfecty happy to destroy families to protect themselves.

  • CircuitGuy||

    "There are all these other cases where we say, 'if only someone had called us.'"
    All crimes have a starting point before which no crime had been committed. The benign behavior could be walking a dog, riding your bike, scratching your bottom, or anything. Then a crime occurs. If only someone had called to report that [insert any benign behavior here], it could have stopped a crime.

  • Wise Old Fool||

    The government wants to build a generation of fearful kids so they will turn to the government for more protection even if it means giving up all their freedom. See China.

  • Heywood Jablome||

    Let me guess. One nosey neighbor called and complained, and it became a federal case. So, what was the decision by DCFS after investigating the kids, family members, and family pediatrician? Were any charges ever filed? I seriously doubt it.

  • Tionico||

    My Dad grew up riding a horse to school, starting at about six. He did that until he was 14.... then HE, at 14, DROVE the schoolbus for all the other kids. Haying time he drove the haywagon and team, at 12 he was too skinny to buck hay with his bigger brothers, so they had him run the wagon. Had to stop the wagon under the haylift, unhitch, run the halyard to the traces, have the horses pull the hay into the loft, then back them to let the rig down, rehitch, head into the field.... it was just life. Like an eight year old walking the dog in her own neighbourhood. At eight I had to ride my bike four miles too and from school every day it wasn't raining.. and it almost never rained. After school sometimes I got to ride to a friend's house. In a CITY no less.

    Problem is, CPS get some $6,000 per month for each child they manage to snatch from the parents for some cockamamie excuse. Or one they simply make up. I know a man still in prison where he should not be, because CPS decided he was a "bad parent". Oh my goodness, he actually named some of his kids with biblical names, claimed the CPS HorrorMarm named Esther.

    CPS need to get their wings seriously clipped.

  • James Pollock||

    "Problem is, CPS get some $6,000 per month for each child they manage to snatch from the parents for some cockamamie excuse."

    Where does this money magically come from?

    Where I live, CPS, like every other government agency, submits a budget at the start of every year, and then the bureaucracy pressures everyone to stay under budget. The way to get more money is to ask for a higher budget the next year, and the legislature says "yeah, OK". If the legislature doesn't say "yeah, OK", then they don't get more money.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Um, so far as I know no child dependency agency has the power to prosecute anyone and get anyone imprisoned. So there has to be a lot more to this story than you are telling.

  • JeffreyL||

    Just an FYI. Wilmette is a very tony northern suburb of Chicago.

  • Riick||

    "The whole aim of practical politics
    is to keep the populace alarmed
    (and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
    by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins,
    all of them imaginary. "
    --- H. L. Mencken

  • R. K. Phillips||

    Geez, at age eight I was walking half a mile to the Lawson's store to buy mom cigarettes.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    When my grandson was 4 and I was barely mobile from arthritis in my hip he liked to play "you can't catch me". One night he did it in a little strip mall and sure enough, I couldn't catch him. He disappeared in the dark. I called the sheriffs (we live in a small town). By the time they got there (not long) he had turned up in one of the stores. I went there just as the sheriffs arrived. He came out and came over to me for a hug. The sheriffs asked if they could talk to him, I said "sure", and 5 minutes later everyone went home. They didn't bother reporting it to DCFS and we never heard another word about it. It's just nice to know that there are still some places in this country where common sense and some faith in other people still prevail.

  • Dadlobby||

    Maybe people will "woke" and start to support a parental rights bill? http://nymensactionnetwork.org/prra/

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