As Let Grow works with five states on Free-Range Kids bills this session, some lawmakers remain skeptical that their state’s definition of neglect needs narrowing.
But they do. Here is Let Grow’s map of all 50 states’ neglect laws. Unfortunately, 47 of them are so open-ended that too much is left to the discretion of everyone but the parent. That is undermining the independence of parents AND kids. Unless there is obvious danger that parents are consciously or recklessly ignoring, they should be the ones to decide when their kids are ready for some unsupervised time.
Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma (today!), South Carolina and Texas are the states introducing Reasonable Childhood Independence bills. Please use the form at the bottom of this page to write to me and Let Grow, if you live in any of those states and have been involved with Child Protective Services OR if you found yourself second-guessing a rational parenting decision because you worried it could be misinterpreted as neglect.