Two parents from Maryland are being investigated by authorities for alleged neglect after they let their children walk home from a nearby park about a mile away. The two children, aged 10 and aged 6, were walking by themselves from the park when they were stopped by a police officer. Someone had seen the children and called authorities.
The couple claims to be responsible parents and merely want to teach their children to be self-reliant and give them a sense of responsibility. They say that police investigations are invading their privacy and infringing on their parental rights.
The father of the children said that he and his wife would not have allowed their children to walk home alone unless he and his wife believed them to be ready and mature enough. He said that his children had already gone together to a nearby convenience store, library and around the block. The mother said that the children had proven they were responsible.
World Is Not That Dangerous: Couple Says
The children's mother went on to point out that when she grew up in New York City in the 1970s, parents never worried about letting their children walk around the city neighborhoods. She said that only one thing had changed since then: our fear. The mother believes that the world is not more dangerous now than it was then -- the only difference is that parents were more relaxed back then.
The father said that his conversation with police was tense that day. When authorities brought his children home on Dec. 20, they told him about various dangers in the world and asked for his identification. Later, Child Protective Services paid the couple a visit and required the father to sign a document where he promised not to let his children be unsupervised for a specific period of time, until a follow-up meeting would take place.
Protective Services Threatened to Remove Kids
At first, the father refused to sign the document, saying that he wanted to consult with a family law attorney. However, the agency threatened to take away his children if he refused to sign, so he eventually executed the document. Next, the couple's children were subjected to interviews at their school without their parents' knowledge or permission. The mother said that the representatives who spoke with her children painted a scary picture of the world, telling them that creeps were on the streets just waiting to grab hold of children who were by themselves. The parents said they feel like they are being bullied into a parenting perspective they completely disagree with.
Child protective services has thus far refused to confirm if the parents are actually under investigation. However, the agency did point out that child neglect is defined as a failure to give proper care and supervision to a child.
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