I’m not joking about that headline – the way that the authorities just won’t let parents raise their kids the way they want to should scare the hell out of all Americans.
One afternoon this past April, a Florida mom and dad I’ll call Cindy and Fred could not get home in time to let their 11-year-old son into the house. The boy didn’t have a key, so he played basketball in the yard. He was alone for 90 minutes. A neighbor called the cops, and when the parents arrived—having been delayed by traffic and rain—they were arrested for negligence.
They were put in handcuffs, strip searched, fingerprinted, and held overnight in jail.
It would be a month before their sons—the 11-year-old and his 4-year-old brother—were allowed home again. Only after the eldest spoke up and begged a judge to give him back to his parents did the situation improve.
The children were placed in foster care for two days while the state ran a background check on a relative who was willing to take them in. “Our first choice was my mother,” said Cindy. “But she lives in another state and so the kids would have been in foster care even longer until they cleared her.” The parents decided to have them placed with a slightly problematic in-state relative instead.
This is just ridiculous. And it’s pathetic that the state is enforcing the idea that children are so helpless they can’t survive without parental supervision every second of their lives. And it continues:
“He went back there and spoke to the judge for about ten minutes,” said Cindy. “And then the judge came out and called the two lawyers to the bench and talked to them for about 10 or 15 minutes. And with that, our lawyer came to us and said that if we admitted that we didn’t know that it was wrong to [let our son] stay in the backyard, but that we know now that it’s wrong and we will never let it happen again, and that we will explain this to our son, he would let the children come with us.”
Cindy and Fred promised. The judge released the kids and closed the case.
But that is not the end.
That was civil court. Next, Cindy and Fred will head to criminal court to plead “not guilty” to the neglect charge. Naturally, they hope the entire case will be dropped.
In the meantime, to comply with all of the CPS dictates, Cindy and Fred are attending parenting classes. They are also going to therapy. The kids are attending “play” therapy.
This summer, as part of the deal, the older boy must attend day camp. The younger must attend day care. The reason, Cindy thinks, is that years ago there was a girl who disappeared while in foster care and it turned out that no one had been keeping track of her whereabouts. If kids attend day camp or daycare, their whereabouts will always be accounted for.
This is really obscene, and it’s frightening that this is happening in America. Unless we speak out against this gross infringement on the rights of parents, it’s gonna get much much worse.