Interview with the Mom Whose Kids Were Taken Away After Son was Seen Playing Alone in Yard

 

I wrote about this case yesterday, and today had a chance to interview the mom by phone. She prefers to remain anonymous until the case is closed, and perhaps forever. As for why her son was not given a key: she worried that if he was in the house alone and a burglar barged in, he’d be in more danger than if he was free outside. This may not be your train of thought, but it is certainly not neglect.  – L. 

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 son, 11, 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.

“My older one was the so-called ‘victim,'” said Cindy in a phone call to me today. But since she and her husband were charged with felony neglect, the younger boy had to be removed from the home, too.

Here is the law: “A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree.”

I first heard of Cindy’s case last week when she wrote to me at Free-Range Kids. Her email explained:

The authorities claim he had no access to water or shelter.  We have an open shed in the back yard and 2 working sinks and 2 hoses.  They said he had no food.  He ate his snacks already.  He had no bathroom, but the responding officer found our yard good enough to relieve himself in while our son sat in a police car alone.  In his own yard,  in a state,  Florida, that has no minimum age for children to be alone.  

So the children were placed in foster care for two days while the state background-checked a relative who was willing to take them in. “Our first choice was my mother,” says Cindy. “But she lives in another state and so the kids would have been in foster care even longer till [the authorities] cleared her.” The parents decided to have their sons placed with a slightly problematic in-state relative instead.

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN EATING?

On the day they all appeared in children’s court to move the kids from foster care into the relative’s custody, Cindy thought her older son smelled a little strange. “What have you been eating?” she asked.

“Cereal,” he replied.

Only cereal, for the past few days. That’s not going to kill anyone, obviously. But if you’re arresting parents for not providing snack food for 90 minutes, it’s odd to place kids where they won’t have a proper meal in 48 hours.

The boys went off with the relative. As Cindy and Fred were charged with a felony, they couldn’t cross the county line to go see them and the relative refused to bring them to visit. But after a few weeks, she got tired of taking care of the kids. “Unbeknownst to us,” says Cindy, “she was putting them back in state custody.” That’s when child protective services asked the court to place the boys in foster care.

WHO GETS TO TAKE TAKE THE CHILDREN HOME? 

Last Tuesday, Cindy, Fred, their two kids, their lawyer and a lawyer for CPS appeared again in children’s court. The opposing lawyers went into the judge’s chambers and came out every so often. The family’s lawyer would explain what was going on. Says Cindy, “They were arguing on whether or not the kids should go to foster care or with us.” This went on for hours.

But then, says Cindy, “My son spoke up.” He said he wanted to talk to the judge.

Surprised, their lawyer asked the boy: Did he have the courage to go through with this? And would he tell the truth?

The boy said yes.

“He went back there and spoke to the judge for about ten minutes,” says 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 [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.

AND NOW, ANOTHER NEW BATTLE

That was civil court. Tomorrow morning Cindy and Fred go to criminal court to plead “not guilty” to the criminal charges of neglect. Naturally, they hope the whole case will be dropped.

I will let you know what happens.

But in the meantime, to comply with all of the CPS suggestions, Cindy and Fred are attending parenting classes. They are also going to therapy. The kids are getting “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. So off these kids go.

I asked Cindy how she and the kids spent last summer.

THE SUMMER WIND

“We did little projects, we would go to the beach, ” she says. Or they’d visit dad at work. She had been planning to enjoy another low key summer with them.

Instead, she’ll be at home while her kids are in a program mandated by the state, which, as far as I know, has never loved these kids or taken them to the beach.

Meantime, Cindy and Fred cannot be sure who called the cops and turned their lives upside down. (They have their suspicions.) But they do know who told them they needed to take parenting classes, get therapy, and promise never again to let their kids play in their own backyard without a guardian. They know who took their children away.

And you know, too.

Could this become the next presidential issue?

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More about the kids taken from the family because a neighbor saw boy playing by himself in yard.

More about the kids taken from the family because a neighbor saw boy playing by himself in yard.

 

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139 Responses to Interview with the Mom Whose Kids Were Taken Away After Son was Seen Playing Alone in Yard

  1. Mark Davis June 11, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Good lord, putting aside everything the parents have been through, doesn’t it occur to anyone involved that what the state has put the *kids* through is *orders of magnitude* worse than what caused all of this? Such idiocy.

  2. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 3:46 am #

    There’s really no way to win except to be absolutely perfect for CPS… they have to take kids away from bad homes every time, while never, ever taking kids away from good homes. Good luck with THAT.

    So, what you usually get is a pendulum that swings back and forth… CPS gets lax until a few cases where kids should have been removed make the news, and then CPS cracks down, to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, and gets to the point where they are intervening in homes that don’t need intervention, and a few cases of horrible bureaucratic nonsense makes the news, and so CPS lets up, until they get so lax that some cases they never should have ignored make the news…

  3. Travis June 11, 2015 at 4:01 am #

    This has to be a joke. Why should an eleven-year-old child not be able to play on his own? Why is it wrong? There IS nothing wrong with that. And now they have to have therapy? For what, what are they hoping to accomplish with that? The boys are fine.

    Day camp will be okay for the other boy, because he’ll get away from home, but maybe he will see it as punishment as well. Let them play in their own freaking backyard, geez.

  4. hineata June 11, 2015 at 4:59 am #

    Horrific for all concerned, but most especially the kids of course. I wish Cindy and Fred the very best for tomorrow! Can’t imagine what the 4 year old went through.

    Wouldn’t blame Cindy and Fred if they turned into helicopter parents permanently. …this sort of thing must scare the crap out of you.

  5. Jens W. June 11, 2015 at 5:25 am #

    Here is the law again: “A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child commits a felony of the third degree.”

    I wonder, has someone ever tried applying that law against the CPS?

    By not considering how emotionally scarring it may be for a child to be dragged out of its home for weeks just because some minor organisational screwup, they are being willfully negligent.

    They generally seem to be negligent of considering the negative consequences of their actions in such cases.

  6. BL June 11, 2015 at 5:58 am #

    “Could this become the next presidential issue?”

    I hope not. Candidates will compete to see who can demand the most onerous “protections” against parents who let children play outdoors.

  7. mdmtnwmn June 11, 2015 at 7:31 am #

    I have experience as a family services volunteer and parent aide, relative, and foster parent with state child protective services in four different states, including Florida, and I find this story really hard to believe.

    Legally, neither the police nor protective services can make an emergency removal without court order unless lthe child is in clear imminent danger. Temporary lack of shelter after school would not qualify. Police have no desire to be responsible for children for any amount of time. They very rarely remove a child from a home except under the most dire circumstances. Most departments will call for a protective services worker to come, if available, just to avoid making that call. Protective services rarely removes a child without prior investigation, intervention – services provided to the family to avoid removal – show of cause, and court order except under the most dire circumstances.

    I know of one case in which the family received services for almost two years – during which time, the abusive male partner was jailed several times for beating the mother and the mother was jailed several times for drug offenses and hospitalized several times for severe mental illness – before the child was removed following yet another domestic violence call and the court ordered foster care and another service plan.

    Even when there is an emergency removal, they will move mountains to place the child with a relative if at all possible (out of state placement can take 3 to 9 months, and most judges won’t send a child that far away from the parents – they want visitation to happen) and will ask the parents for names. Why? Because in most states, they don’t have to reimburse relatives who aren’t licensed and, in many cases, if there’s a finding and the child is in a relative’s custody, they can often persuade the family to take legal custody and shed the child, the legal case, and its costs to them. That happens all the time, because the family doesn’t understand that it’s taking on the role of the state – that’s an evil of the system I’ll grant you. Additionally, CPS have no desire to scramble for an emergency placement or waste a foster care or group home slot on children who don’t need it – there’s a critical shortage of both, leading a lot to children who are clearly in danger not being removed because there’s nowhere for them to go.

    If an emergency removal does take place, which, again, is rare, a temporary or preliminary custody hearing is held before a judge within 48 hours to determine if there is cause for removal. (Cause is not a finding of abuse or neglect, it is sufficient evidence to show that leaving the child with the parents would more likely than not endanger him or her.) The judge has to base her or his decision on the law and the laws in most states are pretty specific. The parents always have legal representation; the child often does not.

    The judge, not the police, not the protective services worker, not the social worker, decides if there is cause for removal. If there is no cause and no finding of risk (terminology depends on the state), and the standard for removal is pretty high (or the bar for keeping your child pretty low, depending on your point of view), the child goes home and you’re done. Quite frankly, except in cases of obvious severe abuse, neglect, or risk, that’s what everyone wants. If there is no cause for removal but the child is considered at risk, the child goes home and the judge will order an investigation into the needs of the family so that services to support the family staying intact can be ordered at the next hearing. And so on, going up the ladder of danger to the child.

    Again, emergency removals are rare. More often, the department receives a report, makes an initial investigation, and, if warranted, provides services to the family intended to keep the family intact. By law, keeping families intact and re-uniting families where there have been removals is their goal as that is defined in federal and virtually all state laws as the best interest of the child. As a matter of practice, it is their mission, too, because they don’t have resources to waste on kids who don’t need them. Only a guardian ad litem or CASA truly has only the child’s best interest as the only goal.

    This idea that there are massive numbers of rogue police officers, protective services workers, social workers, lawyers, and judges in some conspiratorial cahoots to steal good parents’ children is just not credible. They simply don’t have the time, budget, or human resources to waste on such nonsense. As in any system, there may be the occasional exception to that “rule,” and I would grant some systemic issues related to not removing chldren when they should be, racial bias, inadequate reimbursement to foster families, and a few other things that work against our children, but malicious, unnecessary removals on a large scale? No, I haven’t seen it and I don’t think it’s even possible.

  8. Ann June 11, 2015 at 7:36 am #

    I just don’t understand this at all. My 11 year old stays by herself frequently. She is absolutely, perfectly capable. She also likes to play outside a lot. So, now I need to worry that I could be arrested if she chooses to play outside some time when she is home by herself? If the neighbor who called the police was so worried about this child, why didn’t he/she come over and say, “Hey… looks like you’re locked out. Would you like to come hang out at my house while you wait for your parents?” The kid could call the parents from the neighbor’s house and let them know he was safe. These stories are so upsetting to me. Fortunately, most of my neighbors seem to be as free-range as I am or more so, but what if somebody new moves in and decided to call the cops on one of us? It is a scary thought!

  9. Christina June 11, 2015 at 8:03 am #

    Personally, I think CPS comes down harder on families like this one, the Chicago mom, and the Meitivs (sp?) is because the caseworkers aren’t worried about their own physical safety. If you have three times the number of cases you can reasonably be expected to manage, are you going to visit the home where you might be assaulted while removing a child, or the one where you are pretty sure the family has never interacted with CPS and at most will cry and call an attorney? It may be an unconscious bias, but it does contribute, I think, to those “slipped between the cracks” stories we see.

  10. Angela June 11, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    mdmtnwmn – you acknowledge that laws vary by state, and you acknowledge that there are occasional acceptions to the narrative you gave, yet you discount this story because… well, I don’t know. Do you have some additional knowledge not given above? Or do you just assume that anyone not working for the state is a liar?

    Further, it is obvious that you do not frequent this site. It is acknowledged regularly that these cases are rare, just as child stranger abductions are rare, and just as we don’t think we should live our lives in fear of the latter, we feel the same of the former.

    There is one big difference, though, that needs to be taken into account. When a person abducts a child off the street, they are acting of their own accord. Their actions are their own. When a state agency acts, they are representing a community; a city, county, state, nation. They are acting as an advocate for the constituents who pay their wages. Their constituents have every right – even duty – to pay attention to their actions; shine a light on them so their peers know what actions are being done in their name and are given an opportunity to voice their opinions of them. After all, they have some responsibility for the actions taken by their advocate, just as they would if they paid someone to commit a crime.

  11. Anna June 11, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    Yeah, this seems unlikely.

    This family has been through some terrible stress and is certainly in need of some empathy, but I don’t believe that the cops removed their children based on one incident of leaving one child alone in the yard for 90 minutes.

    We only have one side of the story, told anonymously, in a way that doesn’t make logical sense (fearing that a burglar will barge in during the ~20 minutes of the afternoon that the boy is normally alone is irrational).

  12. AmyO June 11, 2015 at 8:58 am #

    In response to those who are skeptical, I think a possible reason for this case, like the Metievs, is where this happens. We don’t know where in Florida this is, if it’s a rural community, or suburban, or a major city. I say this because I live in a major US city, and the police and CPS could not and would not do anything in this kind of a case, because there is serious, real crime to deal with. However, I could see authorities in some of the suburban areas, who don’t have as much to deal with, have the time and inclination to meddle more often.

  13. tdr June 11, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    I’m wondering who pays for all the therapy and the day camp?

  14. mdmtnwmn June 11, 2015 at 9:07 am #

    Angela – The wording of laws may vary, but the process doesn’t, really. The fact is that police are not protective services workers and protective services workers, although they’re employed by the same agency, are not case workers, and case workers are not guardian ad litems or CASA and GALs and CASA are not defense attorneys and prosecutors and defense attorneys and prosecutors are not judges. The people who decide on a removal, either beforehand, as is usual based on prior investigation and show of cause, or within 48 hours based on show of cause, are judges. Judges are judicial branch, not executive. Child protective services are executive branch, not judicial. The court doesn’t bow down or answer to the agency. Parents have legal representation at judicial hearings and there is due process.

    The law and the system are both rigged to NOT remove children and to RETURN children as soon as safely possible – and frankly often before – if they have been removed. To suggest that the police AND the protective services worker AND the social worker AND the prosecutor AND the judge in a case are all bent on removing children from and prosecuting responsible parents for no good reason seems like a pretty big stretch unless there is a racial or community bias at work.

    The new details in the update, I feel, throw more doubt on the mother’s story. Her son smelled strange because he ate cereal? Who smells strange from eating cereal? That one little odd, extra detail, which seems calculated to tap into people’s negative perceptions of foster parents, looks like a red flag to me.

    Parenting classes sounds right. Play therapy sounds right – it is to help the kids deal with the effects of disruption and grief. Because, yes, “they” do very much understand the damage caused by disruption and try to avoid it as much as possible and treat it when it does happen. So those things have the ring of truth. Smelling funny from only eating cereal? Not so much.

    No, I don’t frequent this site. My kids are in their teens and twenties, so “free range” isn’t really an issue. A FB friend linked to it and I was curious. I’m passionate about this stuff because so many people buy into the myth of the bogey CPS system. You see stories like this and everyone who has no knowledge or experience of CPS and family court gets all outraged after hearing one questionable side of the story. Budgets get cut because of it, people avoid being foster parents because of it, and kids literally die because of it.

  15. Amy June 11, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    I’m not saying that this couldn’t happen anywhere in the US, because it could, but it seems to me that Florida is ESPECIALLY insane. Terri Schaivo. That went all the way to the president.

    The voters of Florida need to do better.

  16. Katie June 11, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    I don’t think parents are prevented from crossing county lines to visit their children. Lenore, can you verify the facts of this case? Some of it seems fishy to me.

  17. Warren June 11, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    These mandated therapy sessions for the kids, are just as much about fishing for more ammo against the parents as they are anything. Kids slip up, say the wrong thing, and they are removed, more charges are brought, it is a joke.

  18. E June 11, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    This sounds like a terribly stressful event for the entire family.

    I’m still no understanding a lot of the details, but I understand the desire to be anonymous.

    I’m really confused about why a child who disappeared in foster car would have an impact on children with their own parents. I have a niece who is a foster parent and they didn’t have to enroll the kids in anything. I mean, it’s completely illogical to suggest that bad parents or foster parents would only neglect them during 9-5. I understand directing parents/foster parents who work to have adequate supervision for their kids, but not for non working (or off for summer) parents.

    If FL takes up court time and resources and keeps kids away from their parents for an entire month because a kid is outside for 90 minutes? This is beyond anything the Meitevs endured and would be even more front page news. It’s absurd.

  19. Michelle June 11, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    I’m amazed by people who insist that things like this just don’t happen. There was a case in my city where a grandmother called CPS because her daughter was doing drugs and she felt her grandkids were in danger. Later that day, the mother willingly gave the kids to the grandmother. CPS did nothing.

    Three months later, when the kids were safe and happy in the loving care of their grandmother, a social worker called to say that she was in danger of losing her job because of her failure to investigate this complaint, so she was removing the kids from their grandmother in order to save her own ass. The children were illegally removed WITHOUT A COURT ORDER, and placed into foster care for 11 months. When the grandmother complained, she was flat out told that by complaining she had “made a bad move,” and threatened to punish her for her resistance. Then they spent over a year trying to prevent the kids from going back to their grandmother, making up lies and trying to cover their own asses. They even tried to get the mother to sign a paper willingly putting her kids in foster care — not telling her that they’d already taken the kids illegally.

    All of this is a matter of public record, because the Texas Home School Coalition filed suit on her behalf and won. https://www.thsc.org/2012/03/cps-illegally-takes-children/

  20. ChicagoDad June 11, 2015 at 11:37 am #

    In response to mdmtnwmn, it sounds to me as though the children were placed in emergency custody because the police arrested both parents on felony charges. Even though those charges are from having their son wait outside for 90 minutes, it was probably the arrests that triggered the removal of the kids and not the waiting outside. When both parents are arrested, of course CPS is going to take emergency custody of the kids. Police don’t have the same tools as CPS to respond to issues with children.

    That said, sometimes you can only respond to this stuff with some humor. The next time some busybody says to me, “Aren’t your kids a little young to do that?” I will reply: “No, not at all. Or doctor says my family is part neanderthal, at least more than most people. Everyone knows neanderthal children mature faster than human children. Heck, my kids even started teething at 2 months! So your homo sapien conventions for child rearing don’t apply to us. They are afraid of fires, though. Fire bad.” Just imagine the dumbstruck look on their face! Priceless.

  21. Michelle June 11, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Here’s another story about a family THSC is currently helping. A CPS caseworker literally required the mom to have a psychological evaluation because “Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!” It all started when their autistic 4yo wandered off. Despite being certified by CPS for fostering and adoption, volunteering to help at-risk kids, co-operating with CPS in every way — and despite the fact that they were never even accused of abuse or neglect — seven children were suddenly removed from their home. CPS refused to place the children with friends or family, claiming, “We don’t do that anymore.”

    From the article:

    “The guardian ad litem, in the meantime, met with the Tutts in their home with their attorney and acknowledged she has no concerns about the children’s safety, the parents’ parenting ability, the ministry in which the family is involved, or how many children they have in their home, but she will not recommend to the court that the children be returned unless the Tutts agree to place their children in public school and never home school them.”

    http://www.thsc.org/2014/01/judge-removes-children-illegally/

    But, “Legally, neither the police nor protective services can make an emergency removal without court order unless lthe child is in clear imminent danger… They very rarely remove a child from a home except under the most dire circumstances… Even when there is an emergency removal, they will move mountains to place the child with a relative if at all possible… If there is no cause and no finding of risk (terminology depends on the state), and the standard for removal is pretty high (or the bar for keeping your child pretty low, depending on your point of view), the child goes home and you’re done… No, I haven’t seen it and I don’t think it’s even possible.”

  22. Andrea June 11, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    How did we get to the point in society where a month in foster care or with a “problematic” relative is considered better than 90 minutes outside alone and unharmed but otherwise in the care of loving, attentive parents. This has GOT to stop, but how do we stop it??

  23. Maggie in VA June 11, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    OK, I think I see the big picture now. The neighbor was annoyed by the boy’s basketball playing. I have seen several letters to agony columns or complaints in online forums by people who are annoyed by the thump-thump of a basketball in an adjacent driveway. When it went on longer than usual, the neighbor decided to call the police. And so the kids end up with an unreliable relative and in foster care. Insane.

  24. Andrea June 11, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

    “In response to those who are skeptical, I think a possible reason for this case, like the Metievs, is where this happens. … I say this because I live in a major US city, and the police and CPS could not and would not do anything in this kind of a case, because there is serious, real crime to deal with. However, I could see authorities in some of the suburban areas, who don’t have as much to deal with, have the time and inclination to meddle more often.”

    @AmyO – I wish this were true, and for a time I also believed it. But then I saw this case: http://www.freerangekids.com/mom-on-child-abuse-registry-for-letting-kids-11-9-and-5-play-in-park-literally-across-the-street/.

    I don’t know where in Chicago this happened, but rest assured there is some serious suffering by children in this city and DCFS is plenty busy. But that didn’t stop them from trying to nail this woman with child abuse. Perhaps it depends not just on the city, but on the neighborhood, too (I’ve seen more unaccompanied children in non-Hispanic and non-white working class neighborhoods). But either way, I don’t feel that I am immune to this because I live in a big city, though I still refuse to helicopter my kids.

  25. Christine June 11, 2015 at 12:20 pm #

    Florida is a mess. I hope this family moves to another state after this is over.

  26. Kimberly June 11, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    This case sucks on so many levels, there really is no way to express the suckage that’s happening right now. I know I railed against the hyperbole in the last blog, but I can’t help it right now. I would’ve shot that family member.

    As for the case itself, it really highlights one of the biggest problems in the family court/civil court system. In order to have their kids returned, they have to admit they were wrong. That’s emotion extortion and, I’d almost loosely call it, emotional entrapment. The suckage is even more so because the prosecutor can use their admittance against them in the felony trial. That will make the next stage even that much harder for them to overcome.

    Only because I come from a very close knit family where I would trust even my cousins with my life and well-being, I don’t know if I could do what that family did. Knowing that my kids were safely with family and cousins that they love being with anyway, I think it would make it just a little bit easier to tell the court to go stuff themselves and that I wouldn’t be admitting to any wrongdoing.

    Of course, I’m not one of the impoverished that get so easily sucked into messes like this. I love the justice system, studied it in school, and repeatedly defend it. But there are problems such as this one case illustrates, that seriously need to be fixed.

  27. Eric S June 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    @mdmtnwmn: I’m taking into consideration that people are people. Doesn’t matter what they do for a living. And some people are more sanctimonious than others. They feel that they’re way is the best way. They are susceptible to arrogance, and ignorance. Someone had mentioned that it’s a possibility that the removal of the children was because of the arrest. Which sounds very plausible. If the cop was one of those people, who, like the busy body neighbor who called 911, felt he need to impose HIS beliefs about what is and isn’t neglect of a child on this particular couple. And since the law for neglect, is very vague, and really open to interpretation, it’s not hard to believe this officer was using not only the vagueness of the law, but his own personal views and his authority as well.

    Many laws today are “vague”, and it messes up everyone involved. I still don’t understand how something that has been completely fine and acceptable for generations upon generations, is now considered a “crime” these days? Who decides this? What’s the point of being parents then. Why doesn’t the government take care of our children for us, considering they are the ones telling parents how to parent. That’s pretty arrogant if you ask me.

  28. Eric S June 11, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    @Andrea: I think it also depends on the person or people involved in the case. As I’ve mentioned before, they are people too. And susceptible to the flaws of humans. Including arrogance, ignorance and sanctimony. If you a social service worker or police officer were one of these people, I can be pretty certain regardless of how busy they are, they will do everything in their power to “punish” the parents for being parents that they don’t approve of. Take also into consideration, that if they are swamped with cases, it just adds to the frustration and and anger they already harbor for “neglectful parents”. Notice, how it really isn’t so much about the kids, but personal feelings of the adults involved.

  29. Kris June 11, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

    What saddens me in this case is the initial response. The neighbor who called could of just asked the kid if he needed help or food or even a water bottle. I’m not suggesting they invite them into their home. But just a “if you need help, I’m here.” It would’ve strengthened the neighborhood and helped the community as a whole.

    Now the fear has been increased and the neighborhood weakened. And ultimately a family in crisis all because someone worried and focussed on the wrong thing.

  30. Vicky June 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Why didn’t that nosy neighbor give the kid a drink or some food, let him watch tv inside his/her house instead of calling the authorities? In my opinion he/she really doesn’t care about the neighbor kid’s safety at all and wanted instead to lord over this family and look important.
    What the neighbor needs is a good arse kicking because the trouble maker obviously didn’t get enough of them in life.

  31. Havva June 11, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

    mdmtnwmn,

    Good to know where you are coming from, that you want to protect the system for the sake of children who are being abused. Rest assured I want those kids protected too. Which is why I want the system cleaned up. Unfortunately I don’t share your belief that because the system allows the seriously abused to stay with abusers, that capable kids are never temporarily removed just for being alone. My sister lives in the same jurisdiction as the Meitivs and was one of two witnesses to a toddler being whacked upside the head with his trike by an angry parent. There was already a large file on this family, and the file continued growing for years with no removals ever sought. But the Meitivs were taken off the street for 5 hours because they walked alone. And this is a family that was lawyered up and went in with eyes relatively open. That disparity raises huge questions to me.

    One of if the overworked system, means the system is cutting corners, or relying on procedure rather than judgement. If problems lie in the laws, or the guidlines. Where the guidlines come from and to what extent are they treated as law. Is anyone actually evaluating the needs and capabilities of the children, or just running on process and prejudice and trying to bend family to fit the process. And most especially how much influence the initial contact has.

    I’m not proposing a grand conspiracy at all. But simply one view going unchallenged. Is the system susceptible to a single person’s view of things going without a robust challenge for a month?

    —–
    For instance what happens if the police call CPS / a judge asking for an emergency removal and saying:
    “I was called to a child left out in the rain, when I arrived I found a child below the minimum age in the state guidelines had indeed been left unattended. The child had no access to food, water, shelter, or a bathroom. And had been ordered to stay out in the yard. The child didn’t know where his parents were and was upset. The child told me that his daily plan involves walking home alone, and he is frequently locked out without knowledge of his parents’ whereabouts. The child was alone for an hour and a half before the parents arrived. The parents confirmed same, including the orders to stay in the yard. The parents indicated that they had no intention to change the plan in any way and that they intentionally did not provide the child with a key to the house. The parents saw no issue with the child lacking access to a bathroom. The child is expected to urinate and defecate in the yard. The parents were combative and denied that the child lacked access to food, water, or shelter. In reference to shelter the parents pointed to sheds in the yard where the children play. I inspected the sheds and found them to be unlocked and containing dangerous tools and multiple poisonous chemicals. The parents indicated these sheds are never locked and are left accessible at all times. They also have a 4 year old who plays in the yard. The parents expect the child to use the shed for shelter during their absences of in-determinant length. I am arresting the parents for felony child neglect, and there is no one for the children to go to.”

    So what happens in that instance? Does CPS come out and do a separate fact finding, and say oh get a grip he’s 11, the 4 year old isn’t left alone near these unlocked sheds (or knows not to play in them, or not to drink the chemicals), an hour and a half is the worst that ever happened with both parents delayed, routine is 20 minutes and with a snack in his bag and FYI there is water. Don’t jail the parents, we will set up a schedule for welfare checks between now and the parent’s trial.

    Or do the CPS worker just go. Holly cow that is awful, I’ll call judge X and come fetch the kids. Glad someone called before the weather got any hotter!

    Now about the hearing… you say the parents always have legal representation. Is this the same lawyer or a different lawyer than the one they may have needed to get themselves out of jail? And this lawyer for the hearing about the kids meets with the family for how long? The lawyer has how much time to work on this? Does the lawyer have time to gather and present conflicting evidence? Or does that lawyer take the police report more-or-less unchallenged, and like you, view placement with family as a way out. Perhaps advises the parents to use their limited time to work on getting their children placed with family rather than in foster care?

    So inside of 48hrs the parents have to get out of jail meet with one or two lawyers. Find and get the cooperation of a relative and their first choice wont work, so they get desperate and pick a flake who then dumps the kids back onto CPS in this case so placement with family the thing you said was the way out, fails. So… what happens then?

    Now on to the prosecutor. Technically, independent but making the decision to prosecute or not based on what? The same original police report that led to an on the spot arrest. A preliminary custody hearing where initial removal of the children was minimally if at all contested, and thus presumably with cause. Children assigned to a family member of the parents choosing, and this family member turns out to be so much of a flake (s)he dumps the kids back on CPS and refuses to care for them, which makes the parents look like they have poor judgement, and shows the family “lacks a support system.” And a CPS report saying all of the above, plus whatever emotional trauma the kids picked up being shuffled from place to place and not seeing their parents. And depending on when the charges were filed and court date set, possible one judge returning the kids and looking like a total outlier in an otherwise unified front.

    So mdmtnwmn, is that a fair description of the system? Is that a possibility for how a situation could go spinning out of control?

  32. Havva June 11, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    mdmtnwmn,
    Since you are keying on the cereal as your red flag, outside of your trust of the system. “Who smells strange from eating cereal? ”

    Well… my kid does, at least when she eats Captain Crunch. At least she does to me. My husband can’t smell it, but he knows I can tell when he has given it to our daughter. It has a sticky, chemical, powdery, smell that turns my stomach and lingers for hours. It first arises when the milk hits the cereal, mostly sticky and powdery. And the chemical smell comes when it goes in my daughter’s mouth. That sticky, chemical, powdery smell clearly emanates from my daughter’s mouth like a form of bad breath. So there is no question it is from something she ate. The more she eats of that, the worse she smells. I never used to be able to smell that cereal, or smell it on someone’s breath. I once enjoyed eating it too. But something changed during my pregnancy and never got back to normal. That first trimester hypersensitive sense of smell has faded a bit in 5 years. But I am still substantially more sensitive then I was before. And Captain Crunch breath really stands out from other smells.

  33. Puzzled June 11, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    >Parenting classes sounds right.

    Why? I don’t mean “please give me more generalities about how hard it is to remove children from homes.” I mean, why does it sound right to you that the state mandate parenting classes in response to an 11 year old playing basketball in his yard? What would you teach this parent, were you teaching the class? What did they do wrong that you think warrants state-mandated education?

    For that matter, why would I ever trust government functionaries to teach people how to parent? But that’s another story.

  34. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    ” I mean, why does it sound right to you that the state mandate parenting classes in response to an 11 year old playing basketball in his yard?”

    The “not allowed to go inside the house to wait” part. The “we were late getting home by an hour-and-a-half because of the rain our child was locked outside in” part. The “no plan for what to do if both parents are delayed and/or unable to come home” part.

  35. John June 11, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    The way we treat families who give their kids a bit of independence is going to stifle these kids when they become adults. An 11-year-old boy along with his 4-year-old brother were playing outside for 90 minutes so for that their parents are being treated like felons? The courts are also in a tizzy because the kids didn’t have access to food and water for…gasp…..90 minutes? So basically, the parents were supposed to keep their kids inside and feed them on a regular basis (at least every 30 minutes). Is it a wonder why the childhood obesity epidemic is at record levels here in the U.S.? Because we treat our children like a bunch of fragile creampuffs! So CPS basically blackmailed them into admitting they were wrong in letting their son play in the backyard alone and that they would never do that again.

    This kind of crap needs to stop. We need to stop assuming our kids are soft little snowflakes but this kind of mentality seems to be getting worse each year. There are movements to ban youth football and there are movements to ban youth wrestling. Because those activities are just toooo dangerous for our little darlings even though kids have been engaging in those kind of sports for the past 100 years. I can see a day when the United States crashes and burns in both the summer and winter Olympics and it will be China and the undeveloped countries that win all the metals. Because those countries understand that their children will one day become adults and so they prepare them accordingly.

  36. mikki June 11, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    This story looks really fake. There are no normal details a professional reporter would include: names, city, court of jurisdiction, etc. It just looks like a bunch of garbage somebody made up.

  37. bibbi June 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    unfortunately, the presentation, being anonymous, and edited, lacks credibility.

  38. JJ June 11, 2015 at 2:57 pm #

    There are so many things wrong with this starting with why a kid playing outside would raise an eyebrow in the first place and ending with why an unreliable relative would be a better parent than a parent who was late getting home on one occasion. This family, and others we’ve hear about here, are living a dystopian novel.

    I’ve recognized Lenore’s work in elevating this issue, but until now I’ve been approaching this site and FRK mainly in terms of thinking about how I want my family to live. But what I am realizing now is that we need to take action.

    Besides promoting a free range lifestyle for our own kids, what do we do about this? What actions do we take? How do we ride on the wave of other important civil rights issues that even in the past 2 years society has demanded we no longer ignore?

  39. Warren June 11, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    James,

    Yet another judgemental idiot.

    They had a plan. Dad meets boy. Backup plan boy waits twenty minutes for mom. That is usually enough. Unfortunately the stars lined up and both parents were delayed. That is not bad parenting worthy of state education. Had the mom got home late and realized what had happened, I am sure they would have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.

    Don’t ever make a mistake James, I will be the first one to jump down your throat to make sure you are enrolled in programs to address your failure.

  40. Jessica June 11, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    @mikki, identifying info was likely withheld to maintain anonymity. Also, all this talk about no access to food or water makes me wonder if I could be accused of bad parenting when I take my kids to the park without snacks. In fact, some days I make them go without snacks between any of their meals and no treats before bed. Strangely enough, my kids have survived the horrors of going without food for a few hours and a pleasant side effect is that they will eat whatever we put in front of them at mealtimes. My husband has recently adopted the saying that everyone’s got opinions. Smart people keep them to themselves.

  41. Tiny Tim June 11, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

    If 11 is too young, how about 12? 13? 14? 47?

  42. Todd Schriver June 11, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    This is really bad journalism. All identifying details are left vague and impossible to verify. I mean, “a Florida mom and dad I’ll call Cindy and Fred” is the only source and there isn’t a municipality or date listed. Plus, it sounds fishy: Why would neighbors call about something going on in the backyard? Why is the photo so generic and stock-image-y? Are the police ever permitted to act in this fashion?

    Can you please get a few facts out there to verify whether this actually happened? Does your website utilize a fact-checker?

  43. BL June 11, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

    “This is really bad journalism. All identifying details are left vague and impossible to verify.”

    Have you ever seen a story like this that identified the CPS agents? it’s rare enough to have the accuser identified.

    Why is it so important, then, that the accused be identified?

  44. shdd June 11, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

    Food every two seconds for kids don’t know when it started but it has gotten out of hand. It is one of the reasons I am not continuing Sunday School who needs snacks for 13-15 year olds. My daughter is doing the teen segment where it is social and you bring food that you want to eat.

    Today my daughter’s classmates gave their math teacher a baby shower. Because they liked her and respected her no. So they could eat chocolate before lunch and get away with it. This group is done with exams but some of their peers were testing in the building. Thanks to Montgomery County she has all day Friday and half a day Monday with nothing to do but show up and sign yearbooks and t-shirts.

  45. mdmtnwmn June 11, 2015 at 3:45 pm #

    The point of this thread seems to be that these children were removed only because the older one couldn’t get in the house for 90 minutes and for that reason only, the parents were arrested, signifying a threat to the free range movement. The mother may honestly believe her version of the story, but I truly don’t. It just doesn’t hang together. And the part about the cereal smell shouts fabrication or delusion. She has my sympathy, empathy, and compassion, but not my belief. One thing I’d hoped to get across is that, within 48 hours, an elected family court judge, not the police or CPS, hears both legally represented sides and decides if an emergency removal was justified, whether the case should be held over for adjudication, and whether or not the family can be reunited safely in the meantime. This judge apparently not only decided the removal was justified, the case should be held for adjudication, and the family should not be reunified immediately, 30 days later at the adjudication – again, at which the parents had legal representation – he made a finding of abuse or neglect based on evidence and the law and ordered a service plan. Despite not closing the case, however, he then reunified the family before completion of the plan, which goes to show that really is the goal.

    If I were to speculate, I would guess that there is something up with the mother that makes the judge feel the kids aren’t safe alone with her. I’ve been involved in a couple of cases in which children were not allowed to be left in the care of or alone with a parent but could be in the home as long as the other parent or another approved adult was present.

    The point is, if you’re looking for a poster child case for anti-free range harassment, I don’t think this one is it. Rallying behind a case like this with less than half the relevant information to go on only perpetuates family services myths and stereotypes that hurt the children they’re trying to help.

  46. E June 11, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    “One thing I’d hoped to get across is that, within 48 hours, an elected family court judge, not the police or CPS, hears both legally represented sides and decides if an emergency removal was justified, whether the case should be held over for adjudication, and whether or not the family can be reunited safely in the meantime.”

    That was the part that was confusing to me. At that 1st hearing about the relatives, did they just skip over the process/evaluation to see if they could go right back to the parents? If they did, then doesn’t that mean that the police (essentially) decided they’d lose their kids for a month by arresting them?

  47. Steve June 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    With no minimum age and no definition of what ‘neglects a child’ means. Enforcement can be subjective, arbitrary, and abusive.

    So 90 minutes away from your child is neglect. What about 5 minutes, or 2 minutes?? What if a child walks out of the house to get the mail? That could be neglecting a child if it’s all subjective.

  48. mdmtnwmn June 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    Good grief. I’m saying that I don’t believe the kids were removed because the parents were arrested because, just once, the older one accidentally got locked outside in his yard for 90 minutes when his parents were delayed getting home. I’m saying I don’t believe her story adds up for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with whether or not police, cps, and the courts do or don’t make mistakes. I do believe there is more to the story than told here and the mother is still no doubt worthy of compassion, sympathy, and empathy.

    I’m saying painting CPS as some kind of all-powerful bogeyman of decent parents everywhere ignores the fact that judges, not police, not protective service workers, not case workers or agencies, order removals following due process. It also adds fuel to the budget-cutting fire that gets kids killed and traumatized every day in this country.

    Please do not twist anything I’ve said to infer that I think the child should have been removed if the mother’s story is 100% true. Phrases such as “like you, view placement with family as a way out”? What does that mean? Like me, how? As for the service plan – Of course parenting classes in a service plan for parents against which a finding of abuse or neglect has been made sounds like a true piece of information. Why in the world wouldn’t it? It would be terribly unfair to not provide parents such classes or assistance to rectify the situation that led to removal. In most states, it would be considered a violation of their rights. That’s the whole point of a service plan – to enable the parents to make the home safe for reunification. Of course, play therapy for children who have been removed in a case where there’s a finding of true for abuse and neglect also sounds like a true piece of information. Why wouldn’t the case plan provide therapy for the grief and trauma caused by disruption? The whole case is about the kids’ well being. Children’s therapy is not usually used against parents in court. Therapy is therapy and confidential to the child unless he or she reveals an actual crime, then the therapist is usually a mandated reporter. Still, many won’t. My foster child’s therapist wouldn’t tell me or the court anything that happened in her sessions. Case workers don’t usually ask them to, either; they get an order for an evaluation of the child, which is often performed by a forensic psychologist or similar professional, not the child’s therapist. As for how long their lawyer has to prepare for that first hearing, in my experience they stall as long as possible for every hearing, I’ve never really understood why. In any case, the 48 hours is in the interest of the child. Children cannot be left in limbo or emergency placement indefinitely. Remember, too, that first hearing is not a trial. No finding is made. It is, essentially, an after-the-fact probable cause kind of hearing.

    I could be wrong, I know. The mom could be on the up and up. But she doesn’t sound like it. Her assertions, explanations, and complaints sound like other parents I’ve worked with who weren’t telling the truth (although some on some level thought they were). These are my beliefs, they don’t have to be yours. I don’t really want to argue.

  49. Anon for obvious reasons June 11, 2015 at 5:59 pm #

    @mdmtnwmn

    You may truly believe that CPS will not try to remove the kids without justification, but my family was the target of an investigation and the social worker pretty much treated us like crap and threatened to remove the kids because my spouse asked her to wait for me before answering questions. Pretty much the only thing that stopped the harassment was lawyering up (for a significant cost) and refusing to communicate with her other than through our lawyer and only in writing (it’s amazing how polite people are when there’s a permanent record of their words).

    My research later found training materials where holding libertarian beliefs is considered a red flag for the safety of children. Go figure… So yes, there are good reasons to believe CPS workers were being petty, and until we see the leadership taking a stand in favor of law and justice it will be rational to treat them with suspicion and to believe the families’ version.

  50. PAMELA June 11, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    I stumbled upon this article on yahoo and was disgusted by what has happened to this family. CPS is supposed to be the voice of reason and for the children……all they did was cause emotional stress and pain for everyone involved. shame on CPS and BIG TIME SHAME on the nosey neighbor who called.

  51. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

    “Yet another judgemental idiot.”

    Thank you for identifying yourself. (FWIW, there’s only one “e” in “judgmental”.)

    “They had a plan. Dad meets boy. Backup plan boy waits twenty minutes for mom. That is usually enough. Unfortunately the stars lined up and both parents were delayed. That is not bad parenting worthy of state education. Had the mom got home late and realized what had happened, I am sure they would have taken steps to prevent it from happening again.”

    That’s a long-winded way of saying “they had no plan for what to do if both parents were unable to come home on time. If the kid had a key, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with the plan being “stay inside and wait.” But he didn’t have a key.

    “Don’t ever make a mistake James, I will be the first one to jump down your throat to make sure you are enrolled in programs to address your failure.”

    Thanks, but I already had a bitter, prolonged custody fight. In our jurisdiction, you take parenting classes if you file for divorce and have kids..

  52. Barry Lederman June 11, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    One of the many things that kills me with this incident is that the parents were forced to promise that they now know that what they did was wrong – when what they did was not wrong. Not wrong in any way.

  53. Papilio June 11, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    @James: Actually the spelling without e is the odd one out, as the g normally requires a following e or i in order to be pronounced like a j instead of g as in goat. If the e in judg(e)mental isn’t needed to still get the j sound, then why does judge still need an e? Or: Why is judgment okay without e, but not arrangment or managment? It just doesn’t make sense to leave that e out.
    At least native English speakers outside the USA understand that…

  54. Greg June 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

    In response to mdmtnwmn

    There ARE cases where nefarious actions are taking place. i had watched some video lectures of people that had formerly worked in the system and they told of what was going on. One of the premises behind taking children from worthy parents was for adoption. Apparently there are government programs whereby states can collect a good deal of money doing this. It was found that nearly the entire CPS system was corrupt. There were those who pleaded the same, how laws and procedures are duly followed. The evidence showed otherwise.

    I, for one, am suspicious of anyone who wants to dismiss a report such as this because they automatically assume government, whether CPS, Police, Judges, etc inherently want to do what is right and the person on the receiving end simply MUST be doing something wrong. Well, there are countless examples where this is NOT the case. There have been a number of cases regarding medical issues and with those we find there were ulterior motives, and its generally money. Recently there was a case whereby a man declined an optional test for his newborn. It had nothing to do with any medical need whatsoever. Lo and behold CPS came on the scene and wanted to check him out and his house. He flatly refused stating they needed a warrant and subsequently the police were called. In THIS case when the officer arrived the man explained the entire situation and he considered all the particulars and said the man was within his legal right. It is my contention the officer here should have responded in the same way. The law is vague and any interpretation is obviously left to the officer on site.

  55. Diana Green June 11, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    “Worst first” gets worser and worser and worser.

  56. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    “It is my contention the officer here should have responded in the same way. The law is vague and any interpretation is obviously left to the officer on site.”

    Keeping in mind that we have only one side of the story, which may be biased:

    A cop responded to a complaint, and found a child, locked out of his home, who didn’t know where his parents were or when they would be home. (Presumably) the child had no way to contact the parents. That’s a little different from “well, he was just outside playing basketball by himself”. The officer has two possible witnesses… the child himself (probably at least a little bit upset that his parents weren’t home yet) and the complainant, who probably said something along the lines of “… and this happens pretty much every day”. Throw in the fact that it’s raining hard enough to cause traffic problems.

    Yeah, that could look like neglect. A child with a key who is outside playing basketball is a kid who has made a choice. A child with no key who is outside playing basketball (in the rain) is one whose parents need talking to. If one or both parents was confrontational in talking to the cop(s), and/or there was (undisclosed) history… you could get an arrest.

    All for want of a key, which costs about $2.29.

  57. Kimberly June 11, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Everything that mdmtnwmn has said is true in regards to the family court / CPS / foster system. I spent two years working with children who were in the system as their advocate in the court, making recommendations to the judge as to whether the children should be reunified with their parents or have parental rights severed. Are there bad apples working as social workers? Of course there are. Just like there bad apples working as cops, firefighters, teachers…The list could go on forever. Every profession has those people who are just not suited for that type of work. But a belief that there is a wide-spread effort to remove children from their homes for little to no reasons is, just like mdmtnwmn said, highly improbable.

    The truth is, social workers just don’t make enough money to make it worth their time. They are already overworked and their case loads grow every day as more and more social workers burn out. They just don’t have the time or energy to go out and remove children because they can. But, like I said above, there are those who I’m sure use their position to exert power and control over others just because they can.

    What makes this particular case even harder to pin down is that there so few facts to go on. For whatever reason, the school or district that the mother was working for seems to have had her sign a non-disclosure agreement of sorts. By reaching out to Lenore, it seems like the family is technically obeying the agreement by keeping their identities anonymous. Same thing for why their location isn’t being reported by Lenore (at least, that’s my guess).

  58. Jan June 11, 2015 at 9:48 pm #

    The busy body neighbor, if found, should be put in jail.

  59. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 9:55 pm #

    “The busy body neighbor, if found, should be put in jail.”

    On what charge, exactly?

    Filing a true police report?
    Gossip in the first degree?

  60. Havva June 11, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    Kimberly,
    You and mdmtnwmn both indicate the system being too busy and overworked for a, lot of things. Based on your knowledge of the system, how likely do you think it is that an incident could get this far based off of a damming police report, combative attitudes from the parents, (and those two go hand in hand) and everyone else being a bit too overworked to look too much deeper that the initial officer’s report?

  61. Beth June 11, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

    “A cop responded to a complaint, and found a child, locked out of his home, who didn’t know where his parents were or when they would be home.” And then this kind, concerned cop peed on their lawn.

    That part trips me up every time.

  62. Marty Glynn June 11, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

    I was glad to see lots of good discussion in the comments. Some commenters think the story is outrageous, some think it’s implausible, but most everyone made good points and conducted themselves professionally.

    Here’s my input, because I didn’t see this element addressed in detail. I think a factor that has not been examined enough is exactly what the neighbor who complained told the police. I think it’s entirely possible that the neighbor embellished the details of the situation. “90 minutes” may have been reported as a much longer period of time. The neighbor could have even alleged truancy.

    So I’d like to know why the neighbor’s identity is being protected. Since these parents were charged with a felony, I don’t see why the provisions of the Sixth Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States, are not being applied:

    “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

    The Supreme Court has applied the protections of the Sixth Amendment to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. So again, why is the identity of the accuser being kept confidential?

    Throughout my adult life, I have served in the US Army. I first enlisted in 1986; I was commissioned as an officer in 1989; and I will likely be required to retire from service on 01 October 2017. When I enlisted, when I was commissioned, and every time I was fortunate enough to be promoted, I again swore the same oath:

    “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    So perhaps you can see why it angers me to see any American official apparently ignoring the provisions, protections, and requirements of the Constitution.

  63. Warren June 11, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    James,

    I have no problem with how the parents did things. It is what worked for them. Aside from some bad luck, a pissy neighbour and aholes like you, it apparently worked for this family for quite awhile.

    So because you were forced to take parenting classes, which obviously didn’t work or help your personality, but because you had to, you are willing to make other too. Confirms the idiot, as does your lack of knowledge as to what spellings are accepted by oxford.

    Now go learn things, or shut up.

  64. Puzzled June 11, 2015 at 11:40 pm #

    >The “not allowed to go inside the house to wait” part. The “we were late getting home by an hour-and-a-half >because of the rain our child was locked outside in” part. The “no plan for what to do if both parents are delayed >and/or unable to come home” part.

    So your curriculum would cover:
    1. Kids must never wait outside.
    2. Never be late or stuck in traffic.
    3. Have a back-up plan to your back-up plan.

    The only issue I see with that curriculum is, first, there’s nothing wrong with a kid being outside, being late happens, and they did have a back-up plan to their back-up plan – the kid hangs out in the yard and plays basketball, which, so far as I know, has never done anyone any harm, in history.

  65. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 11:46 pm #

    Warren sez:
    “I have no problem with how the parents did things.”
    Which matters to anyone else because…

    “aholes like you”
    Does calling people names make you feel better about yourself?

    “So because you were forced to take parenting classes, which obviously didn’t work or help your personality, but because you had to, you are willing to make other too.”
    Amateur psychoanalysis? You’re not very good at it.

    “Confirms the idiot”
    Previously confirmed.

    “Now go learn things, or shut up.”
    Aren’t we feeling bossy today.

    (P.S. Oxford says this about how to spell “judgment”: “the spelling judgment is conventional in legal contexts, and standard in North American English.”)

    Have a nice day. Or don’t. None of my business, really.

  66. James Pollock June 11, 2015 at 11:48 pm #

    “So your curriculum would cover:
    1. Kids must never wait outside.
    2. Never be late or stuck in traffic.
    3. Have a back-up plan to your back-up plan.”

    It sure is easier to defeat a straw-man argument than the ones other people actually make, isn’t it?

  67. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    I asked what this parenting class should consist of, if its appropriate. You responded with a list of items. I deduced that those were the items you thought should be included in this parenting class. If not, feel free to tell me exactly what the parenting class they are forced to attend – because their son was spotted playing basketball in his yard – should consist of.

  68. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 12:20 am #

    “the parenting class they are forced to attend – because their son was spotted playing basketball in his yard – should consist of.”

    The parenting class they are forced to attend — because their son was spotted playing basketball in his yard — is not at issue.

    The parenting class they are forced to attend — because their son was locked outside while the parents were not present and unreachable? That’s a different story.

    I’d say they need to start with an assessment of what their child is actually capable of. Is he capable of handling the responsibility of a key? If so, why didn’t he have one? If not, why not? The rest kind of depends on how that part shakes itself out.

  69. Reader June 12, 2015 at 12:33 am #

    This is absolutely insane! When I was in high school, 11-year-olds were travelling across the city to go to my school, some catching two trains and a bus on a 90-minute one-way journey. Since when can an 11-year-old not play in their own yard?

  70. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 12:44 am #

    “I asked what this parenting class should consist of, if its appropriate. You responded with a list of items.”
    This is not factually accurate. You asked WHY a parenting class would be be appropriate, then mischaracterized the reason why they would be required. I responded with a list of reasons WHY this particular parenting team might need some parenting class. (You keep insisting that parenting class was required of them “because their son was spotted playing basketball outside. No. Because he was LOCKED outside. If the cops had rolled up, saw the kid playing basketball in the rain outside, and asked him why he was playing basketball outside in the rain, and the kid said something about wanting to make a school team, or wanting to get better, or just really, really liking basketball… the inquiry ends there. But… the kid says he’s playing basketball outside in the rain because his parents aren’t home yet to let him in the house, and the cop asks “how long you been out here?” and the answer seemed like kind of a long time, so the cop asks something like “when will your parents be home to let you in?” to which the kid says something like “dunno”. A kid who CHOOSES to play basketball outside in the rain when he could be inside watching TV? Not a problem. A kid who is outside in the rain because his parents won’t let him go inside? That’s a problem. One that needs to be addressed.)

    I deduced that those were the items you thought should be included in this parenting class. If not, feel free to tell me exactly what the parenting class they are forced to attend – because their son was spotted playing basketball in his yard – should consist of.

  71. Stasia June 12, 2015 at 3:07 am #

    I would be more upset that a relative gave the kids to CPS, than the neighborhood spies.

  72. sexhysteria June 12, 2015 at 3:19 am #

    The state is the worst child abuser.

  73. Kay June 12, 2015 at 4:49 am #

    Wait………she was allowed to explain her side of the issue? I’m shocked!

  74. Warren June 12, 2015 at 8:50 am #

    James,

    Do you really buy the crap you spout? Because all this tow the state line stuff I have seen before in a documentary. How the state should run, teach and regulate lives. It was from the forties, and a little hard to follow as the narration was in German.

  75. mdmtnwmn June 12, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    I think we seem to go round and round because people target arguments at me against things I didn’t actually say. Part of that seems to be ignorance of “the system” some people want to rail so hard against. Yes, of course “the system” makes mistakes. Yes, of course, sometimes cps has too much influence in court. I’ve had to deal with departments that refused to follow federal law – that child dumping on relatives I mentioned earlier? Built into some state laws and supported by courts even though it violates federal laws regulating funding. There are abuses. I don’t believe, however, that there is a systemic or chronic issue with “going after” non-offending families that needs to be addressed in law or by cutting services for children and families. I do believe perpetuation of that myth endangers, traumatizes, and kills many children in this country.

    I doubt the blogger here wants this to turn into a tutorial on child protective and foster care law. However, the vacuum left by that lack of information seems to create a void easily filled with a negative narrative based on stereotypes and anecdotes. Some people also seem to conflate social services’s mission with removal and removal with termination and have other misconceptions. The depts exist primarily to provide services to families and children so that removal can be avoided; once removed, resources focus on reunification, and when RU can’t happen within the federal time limit, the focus turns to termination and adoption – extremely expensive propositions for the state.

    Example – the poster whose husband wanted to be interviewed together. That’s understandable. However, workers interview parents separately for obvious reasons. If he argued about that, she would have to tell him that failing to comply may result in a petition for removal – not because they’re being particularly heavy-handed, but because of the direction the investigation might have to take as a result. If he argued angrily or threateningly, she would have met that resistance with equal firmness. You have no idea the courage it takes for a worker to enter a home alone. Cops go in with guns, tasers, batons, badges, and uniforms, usually in pairs. Social workers show up alone in skirts and sensible shoes carrying folders.

    For example, much is made of the so-called “adoption bounty” a poster brought up. First, the amount received nowhere near compensates a dept for termination trial costs, let alone foster care and adoption assistance. It would make no sense to spend $$$$ to receive $. I doubt the knowledge or veracity of a caseworker who claims their dept. goes after non-offending families to get “adoption bounty.” It just wouldn’t pay to do that. They don’t have to gin up business, anyway, there are plenty of offending families to deal with.

    Second, the reason the funding exists has to do with federal law regarding dispositional priorities. To receive block grant funding for children in need, states are supposed to comply with federal laws that make permanency the highest priority in a case. The first goal is reunification, followed by adoption (by a relative or non-relative), “permanent” guardianship (really no such a thing, but specifically defined to be as permanent as possible, again by a relative or non-relative, not the state), and “another planned permanent living arrangement.”

    Finally, we don’t hear all these accusations of unjustified removals and terminations from the kids involved when they become adults. There is no movement there to disempower cps; on the contrary, most adult products of “the system” want more money to go in to provide better services and enhance the professionalism of social services depts, foster care homes, placements, and benefits for children. Complaints regarding systemic issues focus on the lack of adequate training, provision, and oversight – things that require more funding, not less, to fix.

    Aside from all that, I believe this lady’s children were removed and returned a month later, I believe the police officer made the decision based on things the son told him, I suspect the removal has more to do with something about mom than a kid playing in his backyard waiting on delayed parents, I feel her story and the way she framed it sounds more like the kind of fabrications and delusions I’ve heard from other offending parents, and I wish her and her family well and hope they can stick to the safety plan the court put in place.

  76. Bud June 12, 2015 at 9:40 am #

    If that happened to me that neighbor would go to the refrigerator one morning to get milk for their cereal and see their picture on the milk carton. When are people going to learn to mind their own business? Don’t expect the gov’t. to do this until we get rid of the liberals.

  77. Mike in Sweden June 12, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Lenore,

    I,like many others here, have some serious doubts about this case. Is your source willing to show you her court documents so that you can at least verify for us that the facts she’s given you are true? Otherwise, I think this story needs to be dropped.

  78. Heidi June 12, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    Check out the key words in mdmtnwmn’s defense of the “system”–that is, salaries of everyone involved and number of salaried people involved::

    “cutting services,” former foster children “want more money to go into the system,” “more funding”

    and the key words for normal parents where normal kid was playing while waiting in their own yard:

    “fabrications and delusions,” “offending parents”

    The rest is bureaucratic public relations / gobbledegook.

  79. Warren June 12, 2015 at 10:12 am #

    mdmtnwmn,

    Basically you are in support of a system that will save kids even if the occasional innocent family is torn apart? These mistakes you call them are not simply mistakes. They are people’s lives.

    CPS and such agencies have become too big and too powerful for the public good. They need to be torn down to their foundations, and rebuilt. CPS operates under the assumption that all parents are guilty until they prove themselves compliant with state ideals. That is wrong on every level.

  80. E June 12, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    @Warren, I think mdmtnwmn has been clear that they are just trying to present a more accurate picture of hwo the system is designed to work, while acknowledging that no profession is immune from mistakes or bad employees.

    I’m not sure how “torn down and rebuilt” works in a practical sense, even if I agreed with you, because kids in need won’t stop during that process.

    Anyway — I think the information about the first hearing is what has most people confused. Why did the court decide to seek supervision with a family member that was out of town? What was the court’s explanation or findings that made separating the family the choice? Because if they removed the children for this 1 situation, it is outrageous. The people who left the toddlers in the car in freezing weather go their kids back. The Meitevs got their kids back the same night.

    I understand the desire to stay private completely. And I’m completely willing to believe that they are getting shafted. But I also think we don’t have all the information. If the first hearing truly resulted in a “the only concern was him being outside for 90 minutes and for that reason they cannot live with their parents”, then their next stop should have been with their lawyer to speak to a journalist who has covered these issues. It would be headlines.

  81. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    I would deny two of your claims. First, there have been plenty of stories here that suggest that kids playing outside because they choose to do, in fact, get trouble – see the Meitivs. At the same time, why is it a problem that a kid is locked outside after school, for a short time, playing basketball? More to the point, why is it a problem that must be addressed by the state?

    It seems to me (and usually I’m getting hit here on the other side, by the way) that parents have a rebuttable presumption of being the correct authorities, and that the state should only intervene when this responsibility is being clearly abused or abridged. Even in the scenario you paint, I see no compelling state interest in intervention.

    To put a sharp point on it, the entire case presented for intervention rests on “for want of a key.” Why is it the states’ business if the parents give their kids a key or not? (Heck, if parents respond to this by giving more kids keys, we’ll start seeing interventions for letting kids be inside the house alone.) Sure, I’d give my kids a key. (Most likely, I’d end up needing them to let me in – there are probably 10 people who have my key right now since I tend to lock myself out…actually, come to think of it, my apartment building has a basketball hoop in the parking lot…maybe someone should intervene if I pick up a ball and play a little while waiting for a neighbor to get home next time I’m locked out.) But I really couldn’t care less if other people do, and certainly don’t think that failing to do so should be the difference between intervention and none.

    Beating? A problem. Chaining a kid in the yard? A problem. But here, I see no problem. Heck, if there routine plan was for the kid to wait outside for 90 minutes a day, I’d see no problem. 11 year olds take showers, they can get wet. They aren’t made of sugar, and they don’t melt. They don’t need to be fed on the hour, or put down for their nap.

  82. Alex Jones June 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

    This is a false story, unfortunately we and many other were suckered into it.

  83. Christophe June 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    Alex Jones:

    If you say stuff like this can you at least link to a rebuttal/retraction?

    Because http://www.freerangekids.com/more-about-the-florida-kids-taken-away-because-the-boy-11-was-playing-alone-in-his-yard seems to support that the story did indeed happen.

    Lenore, you might want to edit this post to link to the update you made, as many people landing directly on this page and not seeing your followup.

  84. E June 12, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    @Puzzled, I’m not sure if I’m the one you are responding to or not.

    In any event, I’m not saying children haven’t been “picked up” and held with CPS/foster when there is no reason, I’m saying that the kids in those cases (the DC parents drinking wine and the Meitevs) the children were returned quickly. My confusion is about the justification for NOT returning them in that first hearing and knowing that it could be weeks+ before they were back in their own home. What justification were they given that they needed to identify a relative to care for them?

    I can understand that their initial findings STILL did not justify their not being returned to the parents, but I’m just not understanding if their ONLY finding was the 90 minute SNAFU. If that is the case, this seems like complete insanity.

  85. E June 12, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    Using the other FL case featured here, Ms Gainey was released from jail (which OF COURSE was bogus) the same day and was able to be reunited with her son (who was being cared for by her boyfriend and older daughter). They didn’t keep them apart while she moved forward with her legal situation.

  86. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 3:20 pm #

    “Do you really buy the crap you spout? Because all this tow the state line stuff I have seen before in a documentary. How the state should run, teach and regulate lives. It was from the forties, and a little hard to follow as the narration was in German.”

    Warren, I have come to the reluctant conclusion that you are a twit, here defined as a person who has nothing, absolutely nothing, of value to contribute, and therefore is not worth responding to further.

    Have a nice day, anyway.

  87. Todd June 12, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    Terrorists! This is legitimate terrorism by our own govt against a “free” people. CPS, cops, and the justice system are guilty. It should be noted that this only seems to happen with “white” (anglo) kids. I see “minority” kids (black, mexican, et al) playing unsupervised all the time, walking home from school, at the park, fishing in the nearby pond and CPS never takes them away. Is CPS only obsessed with controlling white kids?

  88. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    “I would deny two of your claims. First, there have been plenty of stories here that suggest that kids playing outside because they choose to do, in fact, get trouble – see the Meitivs.”
    This just illustrates the point that sometimes the system causes trouble when there is no problem. No system devised and operated by human beings, works perfectly every time.

    “At the same time, why is it a problem that a kid is locked outside after school”
    This is the problem, and the rest is extraneous detail. The requirements of parenthood are, at the most basic, to provide food, clothing, and shelter.

    “More to the point, why is it a problem that must be addressed by the state?”
    It falls to the state if the levels closer to the problem… family, friends, neighbors… have failed.

    “To put a sharp point on it, the entire case presented for intervention rests on “for want of a key.” Why is it the states’ business if the parents give their kids a key or not?”
    Giving the kid access to a key is only one of the possible solutions… the easiest, and in most cases, the best. It isn’t the state’s business whether or not the parents provide a key. The state’s interests require that the parents provide shelter… whether by giving the kid a key to the house, by always being home when the kid arrives from school, or by arranging for him to be sheltered elsewhere, or some combination of these.

  89. Anon for a reason June 12, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    @mdmtnwmn

    >Example – the poster whose husband wanted to be interviewed together. That’s understandable. However, workers interview parents separately for obvious reasons.
    Funny, after the lawyer was called she did not want to interview us separately, or together, or the other members of our family present at the time of the incident. Everything was done in writing from that point on. Either what she tried to do was not necessary (in which case trying to do it at first was a waste of time for someone in an agency that is heavily overloaded per your own argument) or she thought it “necessary” but knew it was a violation of our rights (at which point I can only have contempt for someone taking that attitude who’s supposed to represent the state).

    >If he argued about that, she would have to tell him that failing to comply may result in a petition for removal – not because they’re being particularly heavy-handed, but because of the direction the investigation might have to take as a result. If he argued angrily or threateningly, she would have met that resistance with equal firmness.
    Funny you assume it was my husband, but I guess thinking it is my wife (skinny 5’4″) would destroy the “she felt threatened” argument. Now guess who’s the one felt threatened and was in tears after the encounter, but I’m sure she was just doing what’s best for the family.

    >You have no idea the courage it takes for a worker to enter a home alone.
    Don’t I? If I were petty I would reply that you have no idea the fear a visit from CPS causes in a parent. I honestly hope you’re never in that position.

    >Cops go in with guns, tasers, batons, badges, and uniforms, usually in pairs. Social workers show up alone in skirts and sensible shoes carrying folders.
    And the power to take your kids away – or if not, they use that as a threat to intimidate parents into compliance. We were lucky to have previously discussed that the right response to any government representative asking questions is to shut up and lawyer up.

    Unfortunately if social workers (and prosecutors, and cops – although I believe this group falls into this trap to a lesser degree) go into their jobs with these assumptions abuses will continue to happen.

  90. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    >Giving the kid access to a key is only one of the possible solutions… the easiest, and in most cases, the best. It >isn’t the state’s business whether or not the parents provide a key. The state’s interests require that the parents >provide shelter… whether by giving the kid a key to the house, by always being home when the kid arrives from >school, or by arranging for him to be sheltered elsewhere, or some combination of these.

    Yes, this is the heart of it. Do you seriously not see it as absurd to interpret the responsibility to ‘provide shelter’ as meaning, literally, access to the indoors at all times?

    When I was in elementary school, we were sent out for recess and couldn’t come to our classroom until we were called back at the fixed time. Was the school denying me shelter?

  91. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    E – no, sorry, I was responding to James’ defense of parent education classes being mandated.

  92. Beth June 12, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    James Pollack, I don’t know what horse you have in this race, but you’re sounding a little ridiculous. Under your scenario, every parent who ever said “go outside and play and I don’t want to see you til lunchtime” would be in jail and their kids in foster care.

  93. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    “Yes, this is the heart of it. Do you seriously not see it as absurd to interpret the responsibility to ‘provide shelter’ as meaning, literally, access to the indoors at all times?”

    Do you seriously not see that leaving the kid outside for 20 minutes (what the parents intended) and leaving the kid outside for much longer, with the child not knowing when the parents will return, and the child having no way to contact the parents, is something different?

    “When I was in elementary school, we were sent out for recess and couldn’t come to our classroom until we were called back at the fixed time. Was the school denying me shelter?”

    When I was in elementary school, if it was raining, we had recess indoors and in covered play areas, recess was supervised by a teacher on “recess duty”, indoor plumbing was available, and we knew exactly how long recess would be and where an adult responsible for us could be found. This is not the same thing as turning us out, locking all the doors behind us, leaving, and giving no indication of when someone would return to re-admit us.

  94. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 7:21 pm #

    ” Under your scenario, every parent who ever said “go outside and play and I don’t want to see you til lunchtime” would be in jail and their kids in foster care.”

    So many things wrong is such a short place.

    For about the sixth time, the problem is NOT allowing (or even sending) the kid(s) outside to play. It’s locking them out, and then being entirely not present, with the child not knowing when an adult will return.

    Look at it this way… a big part of raising self-sufficient children is teaching them to correctly determine which decisions they should be making on their own, which ones they should be making after conferring with an adult, and which ones should be made by an adult. (I hope this is incontroversial) Well… how do you promote this if you just dump the child outside with no way to access parental authority? Parents don’t have to be involved in every decision a child makes… they shouldn’t be, in fact… but it is just as wrong at the other extreme.

    Moving on. I defended intervention, in the form of a parenting class. These parents don’t seem to have accurately assessed the child’s needs, and it appears quite likely they haven’t assessed the child’s capabilities accurately, either… thus, a little help with these seems appropriate. This “the parents in jail and the kids in foster care” you’re attributing to me is just something that’s coming from your own imagination rather than anything I’ve written on this subject. No wonder it seems ridiculous to you… you aren’t following what I’ve actually said.

  95. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 7:28 pm #

    >For about the sixth time, the problem is NOT allowing (or even sending) the kid(s) outside to play. It’s locking >them out, and then being entirely not present, with the child not knowing when an adult will return.

    >Look at it this way… a big part of raising self-sufficient children is teaching them to correctly determine which >decisions they should be making on their own, which ones they should be making after conferring with an adult, >and which ones should be made by an adult. (I hope this is incontroversial) Well… how do you promote this if >you just dump the child outside with no way to access parental authority? Parents don’t have to be involved in >every decision a child makes… they shouldn’t be, in fact… but it is just as wrong at the other extreme.

    Perhaps you’ve misread, and we can clear this up by explaining that he’s 11, not 1. I agree that locking a 1 year old out, with no access to an adult, would be problematic. But certainly by 11 some of the lessons you mention have been learned – enough that an 11 year old can be outside a (yes) locked door for 90 minutes.

    >Do you seriously not see that leaving the kid outside for 20 minutes (what the parents intended) and leaving the >kid outside for much longer, with the child not knowing when the parents will return, and the child having no way >to contact the parents, is something different?

    You’ve previously defended strict liability laws, so there’s no point in looking at the differences between what they intended and what actually happened. The question, then, is whether or not what actually happened is something that a. requires intervention, and b. can be successfully resolved with a parenting class. I asked before – what would you include in the curriculum for this class? You can’t say “don’t lock them out longer than 20 minutes” because they didn’t try to do that. What can you say? Don’t get stuck in traffic?

    Now, it would be pretty unreasonable if they had created a situation where the kid is outside, say, overnight. But it seems that the worst-case scenario for their plan was him being outside for 90 minutes. The difference between that and 20 minutes is…let me think…70 minutes. Nope – still not enough to warrant intervention, in my view. The general requirement to care for children does not preclude 90 minutes of unsupervised time outside.

  96. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

    >Moving on. I defended intervention, in the form of a parenting class. These parents don’t seem to have >accurately assessed the child’s needs, and it appears quite likely they haven’t assessed the child’s capabilities >accurately, either… thus, a little help with these seems appropriate

    Basis for those claims? I agree with their assessment of his needs and capabilities. (Actually, you wrote previously that they intended to leave him outside for 20 minutes, so they could agree entirely with you about his needs and capabilities.) In any event, though, what makes you think that you, the outside observer, know more about these things than they do? What leads you to think that they, rather than, say, you, inaccurately assessed his needs and capabilities?

    What bothers me more, though, is the leap you are making from “a little help” to “a little forced help at the hands of the state.” There is a wide gap between thinking it might be helpful for someone to have something, and giving it to them at gunpoint, while threatening to take away their children if they do not comply.

    Suppose they refused, in absolute terms, to attend this class. Will you then believe that the boy is better off in the foster system than with them? In other words, do you believe that this education, which you approve of forcing on them, is so vital that without it, they are a greater threat to their child than removal and placement in foster care would be?

  97. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

    “Perhaps you’ve misread, and we can clear this up by explaining that he’s 11, not 1.”
    Perhaps it would be hasty to read this a thinly-veiled insult. But I’ve been unable to find a meaningful alternative reading.

    “You’ve previously defended strict liability laws”
    Actually, I haven’t. Perhaps the problem with misreading is at your end?

    “I asked before – what would you include in the curriculum for this class?”
    I answered before. It’s really looking like a problem at your end.

    “Now, it would be pretty unreasonable if they had created a situation where the kid is outside, say, overnight. But it seems that the worst-case scenario for their plan was him being outside for 90 minutes.”

    You’re not very good at the “worst case scenario” game. Worst-case scenario would be something like “both parents killed in an automobile accident”, which is going to leave this poor kid outside for more than 90 minutes.

    The general requirement to care for children does not preclude 90 minutes of unsupervised time outside.”
    And, again, unsupervised is not, to me, the right word here. “Unsupervised” means that the child is not monitored constantly. There is no argument that an 11-year-old should be capable, in most cases, of being unsupervised in that sense of the word. But the present case has something else… no way for the child to seek out parental advice. It’s the difference between “you CAN make your own decisions” and “You MUST make your own decisions”.

  98. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    “Basis for those claims?”
    The reason offered for an 11-year-old child not being trusted with a key sounded spurious to me.

    “I agree with their assessment of his needs and capabilities.”
    And the reason why your assessment of somebody you’ve never met is better than my assessment of somebody I’ve never met is?

    “(Actually, you wrote previously that they intended to leave him outside for 20 minutes, so they could agree entirely with you about his needs and capabilities.)”
    Clearly, he needed a plan for “what do you do if mom and dad don’t come home when you expect them”, because the one he had didn’t work out very well.

    “In any event, though, what makes you think that you, the outside observer, know more about these things than they do?”
    Well, there’s emotional distance (nobody’s taking away my kids, despite my ex-wife’s best efforts over a period that lasted almost a decade)

    “What leads you to think that they, rather than, say, you, inaccurately assessed his needs and capabilities?”
    Res Ipsa Loquitur

    “What bothers me more, though, is the leap you are making from “a little help” to “a little forced help at the hands of the state.””
    As noted previously, the “little help” should have come from someone closer to the situation… friends, family, neighbors. If that happens, the state’s intercession isn’t needed. But it didn’t, so it was.

    “Suppose they refused, in absolute terms, to attend this class. Will you then believe that the boy is better off in the foster system than with them?”
    I’d consider it a possibility.

    “In other words, do you believe that this education, which you approve of forcing on them, is so vital that without it, they are a greater threat to their child than removal and placement in foster care would be?”
    In other words, you’re soliciting my opinion despite claiming it’s entirely unqualified just a paragraph or so ago? This is why we have investigators, to find out the answers to questions like these. Determining outcome before learning what the investigators found is poor practice, don’t you think?

  99. Puzzled June 12, 2015 at 8:45 pm #

    >In other words, you’re soliciting my opinion despite claiming it’s entirely unqualified just a paragraph or so ago? >This is why we have investigators, to find out the answers to questions like these. Determining outcome before >learning what the investigators found is poor practice, don’t you think?

    I’m not soliciting your opinion, I’m probing your position. To be consistent with your statement, you shouldn’t be arguing that parental education is warranted. But let’s suppose that the investigation finds exactly what the original article reports. So far, we know that in that case, you’d say that the parents need ‘education.’

    Responding to your other points:

    I don’t think my judgment about their judgment of the child’s needs and capabilities is better than yours; I think the better position for us both is to defer to the parents in the absence of convincing evidence that we shouldn’t, and I don’t think there is convincing evidence.

    You can’t possibly believe that a plan for coming home from school should include planning for what to do if both parents die in car accidents that day, can you?

    Okay, so unsupervised isn’t the right word. Since I don’t know a better word to use, how about this: I do not agree that being outside, for 90 minutes, without access to an adult, is unreasonable for an 11 year old.

    You’ve never met this 11 year old, you don’t know his capabilities (or needs) yet you’ve told us that his parents got both wrong – but when questioned on that, said you couldn’t give an answer prior to investigation. That strikes me as an odd sequence of claims. To me, it is not the least bit clear that the parents got his capabilities wrong and therefore need education – in fact, I see no evidence to even suggest that such is the case. But, again, it’s not about substituting my judgment for the parents’ (which you seem to be doing in claiming they need to be educated) – it’s about deferring to their judgment absent evidence that they’ve done something wrong.

    So you’d like the parental education to be done by a neighbor, but if no neighbor is forthcoming, it should be done by the state? I don’t see how this is significantly different from my summary – that the parents should be required to be educated against their will. Nothing can be voluntary if done under threat – if the parents were told “either your neighbors will educate you or we will” (which neighbors? the ones who called the police?) then being educated by their neighbors, presumably about how to overreact to things and meddle in other people’s affairs, would not be voluntary.

  100. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 9:24 pm #

    I’m not soliciting your opinion, I’m probing your position.”
    Since these are two ways of saying the same thing, I don’t know what you’re trying to do here.

    “To be consistent with your statement, you shouldn’t be arguing that parental education is warranted.”
    Huh?

    But let’s suppose that the investigation finds exactly what the original article reports. So far, we know that in that case, you’d say that the parents need ‘education.’

    “I think the better position for us both is to defer to the parents in the absence of convincing evidence that we shouldn’t, and I don’t think there is convincing evidence.”

    I think we have only one side of the argument, and that one side can be expected to be biased in the favor of the parents, if any bias exists. I also strongly suspect that there is more information that has not been made known to us. Working just the information we have, that the parents didn’t trust the child with a key, but expected him to fend for himself outdoors, with no plan for what to do if the parents aren’t home when expected other than “hey, there’s a shed in the backyard”. That’s inadequate preparation.

    “You can’t possibly believe that a plan for coming home from school should include planning for what to do if both parents die in car accidents that day, can you?”
    Yes, I can. Oh, not for this SPECIFIC case, but it would be covered under the “what to do if neither parent shows up when they’re expected to” planning.
    I didn’t EXPECT my house to burn down. But my offspring knew that if was on fire, where to look for me afterwards.
    I didn’t EXPECT my young daughter to become separated from me at the shopping mall. But if she did, she knew where to look for me, who to ask for help.
    My daughter had a key. Sometimes she forgot to take it with her when she left for school. So, there was another key on the property. Sometimes she used it, forgot to put it back, and THEN forgot to take her regular key. Yep. She knew what to do if that happened, too.
    Seeing all these “what to do” plans helped her to learn what was a good thing to do if something unexpected happened… how I would react, and how I wanted her to react. It’s a good way of learning how to make good decisions… which is the goal.

    “Okay, so unsupervised isn’t the right word. Since I don’t know a better word to use, how about this: I do not agree that being outside, for 90 minutes, without access to an adult, is unreasonable for an 11 year old.”
    Which is fine… until they do actually need an adult, panic because of it, and make bad decisions.

    “You’ve never met this 11 year old, you don’t know his capabilities (or needs) yet you’ve told us that his parents got both wrong – but when questioned on that, said you couldn’t give an answer prior to investigation.”

    Er.
    http://www.freerangekids.com/interview-with-the-mom-whose-kids-were-taken-away-after-son-was-seen-playing-alone-in-yard/#comment-371688..

    To me, it is not the least bit clear that the parents got his capabilities wrong and therefore need education – in fact, I see no evidence to even suggest that such is the case.”
    The boy didn’t follow the instructions he was given for what to do if the parents didn’t return on time.

    “So you’d like the parental education to be done by a neighbor, but if no neighbor is forthcoming, it should be done by the state?”
    That’s what I said, yes. It’s nice to see that you CAN accurately relay my opinions. Although you left out two closer circles… family and friends… who should have been contibuting, as well.

    “I don’t see how this is significantly different from my summary – that the parents should be required to be educated against their will.”

    The horror.

    “Nothing can be voluntary if done under threat”
    True enough, though somewhat irrelevant. Well, more than somewhat.

    “if the parents were told “either your neighbors will educate you or we will”
    If. If elephants could fly, everybody would carry an umbrella. They weren’t told any such thing. Nobody has even suggested, but less advocated, that they be told this. It seems rather a spurious thing, almost like… a distraction.

  101. Greg Penn June 12, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    I want proof this actually happened. So far all I can find is re-posts of this blog and no proof it ever happened. I have looked for at least an arrest reported down here in Florida and there is none to be found.

  102. James Pollock June 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm #

    “I want proof this actually happened. So far all I can find is re-posts of this blog and no proof it ever happened. I have looked for at least an arrest reported down here in Florida and there is none to be found.”

    Ms. Skenazy has apparently seen the entire legal document (whether it’s the criminal charges against the parents or the state’s removal of the children I didn’t check) and posted a highly-redacted version in a later article. Either you trust her, or you don’t.

  103. Puzzled June 13, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Sorry, but when your responses become 50% claims that I can’t read or that my points are irrelevant, I can only conclude that we’re talking past each other and the conversation is not worth carrying on, at least not without a reboot.

  104. Warren June 13, 2015 at 1:38 am #

    Puzzled,

    Have James figured out. Wife kicked him out, then divorced him, and to get any custody he had to take parenting classes. Thus he is the parenting site version of a jailhouse attorney. Thinks he is an expert, with no actual training or knowledge.

    He cannot commit to being for or against anything. All he can do is supply thin definitions of words found in other people’s comments.

    I honestly don’t think he can form an opinion or thought of his own.

  105. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 1:43 am #

    “when your responses become 50% claims that I can’t read”
    How many times did I have to correct you, because you were mischaracterizing what I wrote?

    I think you just got mad that I started putting links that showed this, and so you switched to “declare victory and get the hell out”.

    Ultimately, it came down to the fact that you don’t consider abandoning kids outside in the rain to be any kind of neglect, and I do.

  106. Warren June 13, 2015 at 2:05 am #

    There it is James,

    You are all over people about basing opinions and comments on things not in evidence, yet you are the worst offender.

    How do you know he was left in the rain? How do you know it was still raining? Have you ever tried to play basketball in the rain? Does not work and is not something one does, unless they have to. Slippery footing, slick ball, and constantly looking up into the falling rain.

    Not sure how much driving you have done in your life, or if you are just ignorant. But I have seen harsh weather pass through and gone, yet the traffic problems it caused last for hours afterwards.

    You should also pick your words more carefully or at least know their definition. The kid was not abandoned.

    You need to deal with your childhood issues, they are showing.

  107. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 2:31 am #

    “Have James figured out.”
    Oh. My. God. You’re. Bad. At. This.

    “Wife kicked him out”
    Nope. i kept the house, in my divorce, too.

    “then divorced him”
    I filed, not her.

    “to get any custody he had to take parenting classes.”
    As I’ve noted previously, EVERYBODY takes parenting classes if they file for divorce and have kids. I had sole custody of my daughter.

    “Thus he is the parenting site version of a jailhouse attorney. Thinks he is an expert, with no actual training or knowledge.”
    Well, for training, I went to law school, earned a JD, and took and passed the bar exam for the state I happen to live in.
    https://www.osbar.org/admissions/examresults_feb2011.htm
    (scroll down to the names starting with P)

    “I honestly don’t think he can form an opinion or thought of his own.”
    I promise to give your opinion of me all the consideration it is due.

    Boy, you sure got me figured out (snicker).

  108. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    Seriously, Warren, you should stop when you’re way behind.

    “How do you know he was left in the rain?”
    Because Ms. Skenazy quoted the mother as saying there was rain.

    “Have you ever tried to play basketball in the rain? Does not work”
    Seriously? That’s your smoking gun that proves I’m wrong? You can’t play basketball in the rain, therefore nobody can?

    Tell you what. After you’ve been cooped up in a shed for a while, waiting for your parents to come home, you might just decide that shooting baskets out in the rain is better than sitting in a shed. Even if your parents told you to stay in the backyard.

  109. Warren June 13, 2015 at 3:10 am #

    James,

    Everybody takes parenting classes when they file for divorce and have kids? Where is this? Funny, I know divorced couples with kids, and none of them had to take any parenting classes. Maybe the courts just were not sure of your mental and emotional state.

    Your smoking gun is that it was raining. You have no proof that it was still raining. None. You have a quote that traffic was a mess because of rain. You know for someone that claims to be educated in the law, actual facts and proof escape you.

    You failed to address your personal definition of abandoned. Again your weakness at original thought is showing. Or you just skirt the points that you have no answer for.

  110. Donna Knudson June 13, 2015 at 3:59 am #

    I don’t get this. I have seen other articles like this.
    I was a child in the 70s and this would have been considered completely NORMAL. There never even had to be a term “free range children”. My brother and I and all the kids in my neighborhood were always walking around the neighborhood, riding our bikes into the country miles away or to a friend’s house, going to the school yard after school hours to hang out with friends or play. All kinds of things. When I think back, I see that that was part of what made life rich. I can not imagine having to grow up the way kids do now. How much they are missing out on. This was normal and not bad in any way. I am just stunned. And sad…..

  111. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 5:20 am #

    “Everybody takes parenting classes when they file for divorce and have kids? Where is this? Funny, I know divorced couples with kids, and none of them had to take any parenting classes. Maybe the courts just were not sure of your mental and emotional state.”

    Will you EVER get tired of being wrong?
    http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OSCA/cpsd/courtimprovement/familylaw/Pages/FL_Education.aspx

  112. Warren June 13, 2015 at 6:42 am #

    James,

    You really are a moron. You said everybody filing for divorce that have kids have to take parenting classes. You are the one that is wrong. Does your employer know how stupid you are. According to your link, not everybody, not even everybody in Oregon. Many counties but not all. Give it up, James, you cannot even take the time to be accurate about your own material. Thanks for playing. Want to go for double jeopardy where the score can really change?

  113. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    “You really are a moron.”
    Given your 180-degree orientation to accuracy, thank you for this compliment, Warren.

    “You said everybody filing for divorce that have kids have to take parenting classes.”
    I said:
    my jurisdiction requires parenting classes for anyone who files for divorce if they have kids.

    http://www.freerangekids.com/more-about-the-florida-kids-taken-away-because-the-boy-11-was-playing-alone-in-his-yard/#comment-371903

    Then, when you didn’t believe it, I posted a link showing it was true.
    http://courts.oregon.gov/OJD/OSCA/cpsd/courtimprovement/familylaw/Pages/FL_Education.aspx

    And from this information, you deduced that:

    “You are the one that is wrong.”

    So, I guess that that’s a big “no” on you ever getting tired of being wrong, then?

    “Does your employer know how stupid you are.”
    Yes, my employer knows how smart I am.

    “According to your link, not everybody, not even everybody in Oregon.”
    Nope. But the ones in my jurisdiction do. Which ones did I say do? The ones in my jurisdiction? Oh.

    “Give it up, James, you cannot even take the time to be accurate about your own material.”
    I see your ability to judge accuracy is as good as your other skills.

    I’m sorry Warren. You’re a twit, you’ve probably always been a twit, and you show no interest in learning not to be a twit. All you’ve got is egregious errors, poor reading comprehension, and weak insults. I gave you plenty of chances, and you just dug the hole deeper each time. i hope you’re independently wealthy, because you’re going to need to buy a LOT of clues.

    Have a nice day.

  114. Warren June 13, 2015 at 7:51 am #

    James,

    You don’t care about the cause, you just like to argue. Can see why the wife dumped you. I have dealt with many like you. Ego Maniacs that when confronted, twist and back peddle over their own lies and errors. You always end up tripping up, and losing out. I hope you are not this way at work, or at least have a backup career.

  115. Christina June 13, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    @ Bud – It’s not the “liberals” doing the fear mongering. Pro tip: Fox is not part of the “librul media”.

  116. Steve June 13, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Hmmm, maybe if more would take the famous Quiz (at the link) and then vote Libertarian, we might be able to bring the authoritarians under control, stop the incessant intrusions into our private and financial lives.
    Think people, we are losing our freedoms and the country.
    Otherwise, we will eventually have blood in the streets. . .

  117. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    “maybe if more would take the famous Quiz (at the link) and then vote Libertarian”

    The main problem Libertarians have is that no two libertarians agree on much of anything, including what it means to be libertarian. Building a cohesive political party out of such people is daunting at best.

  118. guest June 13, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    First of all – the lawyer who represented these parents is worthless. They need someone with experience going against CPS and these type false allegations. The family should not be participating in anything CPS or the state has mandated for them to “comply” with and should be a ongoing case against it. Once they signed the papers promising to comply with these they signed away their rights and that of their children to the state to make any mandate they want for as long as they want for any reason they want – without the parents even being guilty of an crime or abuse/neglect. That is why they get the parents to sign those documents before any court process finds them innocent or guilty first.
    This should go all the way to the Supreme Court if this families treatment is not stopped in current court proceedings.
    These kids are no doubt being coerced into certain roll playing and other actives developed to make them believe their parents did them wrong and broke the law and hurt them – and how to turn their parents in.
    This family needs the support and testimony of everyone – teachers, neighbors, kids friends and their parents, pediatrician, pastor ….. who can vouch for them, their character, their caring of the children and home, etc..
    ALL parents should stand united against this and fight for upholding Parental Rights and sanctity of family.
    This is growing rampant in our country everywhere. It includes children taken from parents for simply wanting a second opinion about a medical procedure, surgery or drug a doctor or psychiatrist wants to do with your child. It is in fact in hospitals “Protocol For Wards Of State” that a child in “state custody” or docotr/hosptial custody has the legal right to do experimental surgery, treatment, drug on a child without the parents even knowing much less consulted.

  119. Beth June 13, 2015 at 1:55 pm #

    Also, it would be nice if her co-workers and superiors at work (allegedly a school) would stand up for her in public instead of pseudo-firing her and making her sign a gag order.

  120. Colonialgirl June 13, 2015 at 4:09 pm #

    “mdmtnwmn” strikes me as a complete moron and government minion trying to justify all sorts of illegal activities and behaviors by its OWN agency. There was NO WARRANT involved and it is a total load of BULLSHYTE to claim the CPS “needs” one for this activity.
    As I sid, ALL the rest is nothing more than total BULLSHYTE, and agiant manure pile of lies and ignorance.
    Good thig you DONT “frequent this sie” because you do nothing more than spread nonsense and try to protect the evil activities of a left winger government agency that is out of control.

  121. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 10:41 pm #

    “you do nothing more than spread nonsense and try to protect the evil activities of a left winger government agency that is out of control.”

    Are Republicans “left winger” types these days? It seems that both halves of the Florida legislature are controlled by Republicans and the governor of Florida is another Republican.

    “There was NO WARRANT involved and it is a total load of BULLSHYTE to claim the CPS “needs” one for this activity.”
    I’m not sure what kind of WARRANT you think should have been involved. No search warrant is required, as the officer did not enter the house; to the extent he invaded the curtilage of the property it seems the “exigent circumstances” exception to the warrant requirement was applicable, and it’s possible consent was obtained by the officer from the resident present. No arrest warrant is necessary when an officer personally sees a crime in progress. No warrant is required to initially take possession of the kids because both parents were under arrest and in jail overnight. I AM assuming that the state obtained a court order to continue to hold the children and place them as it did. (I’ll concede that this assumption may be incorrect, but I’d need actual evidence to convince me otherwise.)

  122. James Pollock June 13, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

    “Also, it would be nice if her co-workers and superiors at work (allegedly a school) would stand up for her in public instead of pseudo-firing her and making her sign a gag order”

    A possibility… they may know more of the story than we do.

    Criminal charges, loss of custody, and possible loss of a job seem really harsh, based on what we know now, having heard from one side of the dispute.

  123. Beth June 14, 2015 at 8:38 am #

    @James Pollock, that was sort of my point but on re-read I didn’t make it well, at all. The secrecy and subterfuge in this one bothers me quite a bit, regardless of the reasons behind it.

  124. Bill sherman June 14, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    I would press charges against the officer that relieved himself in the yard. Either for going in the bathroom in public or for exposing himself to an 11 year old boy. Depends on how the mother found out about it. But this whole thing is just stupid.

  125. James Pollock June 14, 2015 at 9:12 pm #

    “I would press charges against the officer that relieved himself in the yard. Either for going in the bathroom in public or for exposing himself to an 11 year old boy.”

    As a general rule, neither of these are something you can “press charges” on. You an report it, but charging decisions are not yours to make. A prosecutor either charges, or doesn’t.

  126. JB June 15, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    Can you state the name of the Police Department that made the arrest ?

  127. Mom of Two June 15, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    Just out of curiosity, none of you parents find it at least a little dangerous that the child was playing outside while home alone? I’m NOT judging, I know every situation is different and no parent of perfect, I am just second guessing my own level of strict parenting now. Lol. I didn’t realize so many parents allowed their children outside while they werent home. I was never allowed outside when I was home alone back in the ’90’s. Doors were locked and I wasn’t allowed to go near the door if someone knocked. I set the same rules in place for my kids. If my husband and I are not home with them, being outside, unless it’s an emergency is strictly forbidden. They aren’t even allowed to open the door to let our dogs out to the bathroom until we get home. Maybe I’m just over protective but I feel like the less weirdos that see my children playing outside alone the less of a chance they’ll get abducted. However, I still don’t think this case deserved the kids being taken away. That’s a little excessive.

  128. Buffy June 15, 2015 at 10:02 am #

    Where do you live, Mom of Two, that there are so many “weirdos” hanging around waiting to see if kids are outside playing?

  129. Warren June 15, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    Mom of Two,

    Yeah way over the top. Won’t even let them let the dogs out? Sorry, that is paranoid in my books.

  130. Paul June 15, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    “Just out of curiosity, none of you parents find it at least a little dangerous that the child was playing outside while home alone?”

    No.

    ” I was never allowed outside when I was home alone back in the ’90’s.”

    Yeesh. I grew up in the 90s as well, and my mother could be painfully over-cautious and over-bearing at times, and even she wouldn’t have locked me up like a young calf being prepared to become veal.

  131. Tammy Shoemaker June 15, 2015 at 4:04 pm #

    Horrible thing to happen. First…the 911 call is recorded and The Fredom of Information Act should allow them to, eventually, get a copy of it. Secondly, If the nosey neighbor was so concerned about the child they should have left a note for the parents and took him to their house or took him a drink nd snack and sat with him until they got home. Instead of paying for

  132. James Pollock June 15, 2015 at 7:27 pm #

    “the 911 call is recorded and The Fredom of Information Act should allow them to, eventually, get a copy of it.”

    Sure, and?

    It’s of no value to the legal case, so the only purpose of obtaining it would be to find out who called. They already think they know who it was.

  133. Scott June 16, 2015 at 8:28 pm #

    Interesting. My 11 yr old can start a cooking fire with one match, cook meat, purify water, drive a tractor, ride a bike, hunt with a long bow.

    I consider all this to be very restricted.

    When I was his age I’d already sailed around the world, travelled internationally unaccompanied, taken week long solo trips with my pony, and gone off on my own and lived with sea gypsies who informally adopted me without my parent’s consent or knowledge.

    A woman who lives a mile from me was arrested and had her kids taken away a few years ago because they went for a walk in the neighborhood while she was cooking dinner.

    Since then I’ve felt like I have to constrain what my kids do to things in the immediate area since parents are under constant police state threat of arrest.

    My kids could all do fine living on their own for a month in the wilderness.

    If I let them do that I’ll certainly be arrested and lose custody because we live in a dystopian police state.

    So we study various topics. They’ve mastered classes in Neurology at Duke, Roman History at Yale, and in Engineering at Technische Universität München.

    Hopefully this will allow them to migrate to a free country where they will be allowed to raise their own children without constant threat of kidnapping by the state.

  134. Alex June 17, 2015 at 1:43 am #

    Just hearing about this story now through TYT. I used to have to come to your site myself to hear these stories, but now I can just turn on whatever news I watch and you seem to be on there. 😛

    Anyway, I’d say this story is insane and the boy was fine – the lack of a restroom being the biggest concern but not a jailable concern.

    But it’s incredibly obvious that the story is insane and the boy was fine (or would’ve been had all this cop and legal drama not happened), so I don’t need to say it.

  135. Kate June 18, 2015 at 6:02 am #

    People: This is a hoax. You can all stop getting angry with the government, overprotective parents, and each other, and you can stop commenting. This did not happen.

  136. Warren June 18, 2015 at 7:30 am #

    Kate,
    Your source?

  137. Beth June 18, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    Yes Kate, I’d like to know your source too, mostly because I have been a little suspicious all along…however, Lenore has spoken to the parents, and seen the unredacted court paperwork so in those respects it does seem legit.

  138. Beth June 18, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    Kate? Kate?

    Why am I only hearing crickets?

  139. Michael Rocharde June 22, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    This is facism at its absolute worst. Everybody involved, excluding the parents, should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.