Cops and CPS both dramatically overstepping their authority and violating the rights of these parents. Both cops and CPS should be avoided like the fucking plague. Makes me wonder if I dare bring children into this dystopian now.
~dad opens door~
Dad: Can I help you, Officer?
Officer: You need to show me proof of your identity.
~dad opens door~
Dad: Can I help you, Officer?
Officer: I’m sorry to trouble you, sir, but a concerned citizen reported that two un-escorted children entered this house a little while ago. From an abundance of caution, it is department policy that we investigate these reports, even though 99% of them turn out to be misunderstandings, or just neighborhood busybodies with too much time on their hands. Can you spare a few minutes to help me ensure the kids who entered this house are your own children?[/quote]
There are a lot Russians in Montgomery County and Baltimore, mostly (?) Jewish immigrants.
BOOOOOOOO. These guys know better.
Because nobody wants to be accused of being the creepy child abductor who approaches the child. It’s easier to just call the cops instead of take any actual, active concern for a child or to pretend like the child is a human being who can speak and answer questions. So basically, if you think kids can’t walk by themselves, you probably don’t think they can answer questions either.
There has been a long slow slide over the years from children allowed a certain amount of autonomy that today’s society finds frightening. I grew up in a rural area S of Cleveland, and no one in my family thought anything of my wandering off for hours at a time on weekends, looking for plants, rocks, birds, anything interesting, as long as I made it home for dinner. I also walked a mile to the school bus stop, unattended, in all kinds of weather, then home again after school. Few parents would let their children have that much freedom now.
Just the notion of calling police because you see children walking unaccompanied is utterly insane. It´s Bizzarro World.
A little while back, my youngest threw a temper tantrum while we were away from home and ran off down the sidewalk “to walk home.” This was too far out for him to actually do it, but he was headed in the right direction. I drove after him, pulled up next to him and got him to get in the car.
As we drove home, I realized that we were being followed–I presume by someone who was concerned about seeing a child get into a car that just pulled up next to them. When we got home and my youngest got out and ran to his mother, the other car drove off.
It seemed like a nice compromise–they kept an eye on us without immediately calling the cops–but I do wonder what would have happened if I’d just pulled into the garage and shut the door.
While I often agree with your observations your comments about social work is ignorant and offensive. To be correctly called a social worker requires a Masters degree from an accredited university and then a series of licensure exams in order to practice. There may be a lot of bachelors degrees people hired by underfunded agencies to do case management but they aren’t social workers.
I’m a social worker who advocates for free range kids. I’m a single father who has adopted and raised seven sons, three different groups of siblings who were voluntarily put up for adoption. All three groups of kids maintained contact with their birth families. My kids were raised in the country and came home from school on their own and took care of themselves until I got home from work. They knew how to drive cars, trucks and tractors well before they were “legally” able to. They spent a lot of time wandering the hills and woods on their own. They worked for local farmers and were known as good hard working boys. After forty plus years in the profession I’ve come to know many other social workers with good healthy kids, many of whom joined peace corps or did similar work in diverse communities. I’m now a grandfather and great-grandfather. All of my kids are healthy and self sufficient.
I have no idea what kind of negative experience you have had with real social workers but they must have been pretty fucked up. Given that there all manner of people in any profession I’m sure there may be some like you so glibly condemned. Rest assured we aren’t all codependent nanny’s out to enforce a vendetta against good people.
We live in probably one of the safest times in human history. Lets see at 10 I’d be in what, 5th grade? I’d leave and go to friends houses and we would roam where ever. As long as we were back by supper. This was the 80s for gods sake.
Seriously - why have parents gotten more and more clingy with their kids? Where is the building of independence? We all did it and were fine. Yes on a VERY rare occasion something bad would happen. That’s life. It doesn’t mean we should all stay indoors for safety.
I’d be fine with my kid riding bikes in her neighborhood. Her mom would have a fit if that happened.
The police there are doing a dreadful job if it is unsafe for a 10 year old out in public.
And then everyone rings their hands about how people in their 20s don’t know how to live independently any more. If you don’t let children do things independently, they’ll never learn how to be adults who do things independently. We’ve just moved the age of exploring your neighborhood from age 6 to age 16. You can get into a lot more trouble at 16, and you are less likely to get assistance from a kind neighbor at 16 when you do something stupid than you are at 6.
Yes, we need to learn how to trust each other again. We need to get to know our neighbors again. We need to send our kids to play outside again.
Brings up a tough conundrum. There are two positions here and people seem to take very strong view sometimes that one is right or wrong:
- Unless it’s a life/death situation, don’t argue with cops and deal with abuse of authority after the fact. Granting that dealing with the abuse of authority to any satisfaction after the fact can be difficult or impossible.
- Calmly and rationally stand up for your rights then and there. If people don’t, then we implicitly condone this bullshit.
I lean more towards 1 because I’m extremely risk-averse. Also, it’s easier for me because I’m white and affluent. That’ sucks. But I very much also respect people who follow 2.
Who knows what the dad did during the interaction. Without knowing that it’s really hard to judge in any way.
I’m guessing you retired before Zero Tolerance. CPS has a legal duty to follow up on every last call that comes their way, no matter how irrational. This leads to an overworked/understaffed CPS and shoddy outcomes for anyone who has the misfortune of coming into contact with them. At least that’s how it’s working here in Michigan. YMMV.
I remember when I was a kid and a classmate of mine who had lived in America (Dallas, to be exact) for something like 4 months told us about how they (I think she meant all under-aged kids) weren’t allowed to be outside after something like 6 o’clock. It made us gasp in awe at the dangerous world that is America.
But really, just walking to school? Or walking anywhere alone - how can that be bad for a kid? If anything, the kid learns some independence.
Back in the day (and and I am only in my early 20s, so this wasn’t a long ago) here in Finland, kids were allowed to walk free to whenever. Walking or biking to school was and still is the norm, except in big cities where they take the bus. I regularly went around our town on foot with my friends starting from around age 6, exploring it, and sometimes biking 10s of kilometers at a time to get to the countryside. This is still the case, mind you - Finland hasn’t succumbed to the overbearing “think about the children” crap.
The times have not changed (except for the better, in terms of safety). It’s the people’s mindsets that have.
Citing their right to privacy and their rights as parents is probably not the right tack, as those are defenses any actually neglectful or abusive parents could/would fall back on. What they should be going with is the fact that no laws were being broken, except quite possibly by the cops and the CPS worker.
The problem with that conditional is that if it is a life/death situation, arguing with the cops will more than likely get you beaten/maimed/killed.
If there is any truth to the report that the officer said “if you come back down with anything else, shots will be fired.” then the officer was already so far from reality on her power trip that the dad’s conduct is almost immaterial.
I remember cycling to a different town with a friend on a whim when I was about 8 or 9. We did ring our parents when we got there, but they weren’t worried about us or anything. I probably had a range of about 2.5 - 3 km in any direction from my house by that time. I always thought I had a very sheltered childhood, but compared to kids nowadays I must have seemed practically feral.
Of course we didn’t have terrorists threatening my family like that when I was a kid, otherwise I would probably have been more cautious.
Wow. Montgomery County MD. I grew up there, and (of course) walked everywhere and ventured far and wide from earliest memories. As a father of two kids who have been walking to school alone (~1 mile, 'burbs) since kindergarten, I can only echo all the comments here vis a vis: what have we become??!?
The palm does not exist to cover the shame and frustrated disbelief in my old face.
Wonder what they would have thought of my kids walking a mile through Alaska wilderness, packing deer rifles to get to school, sometimes being late because they had to drag a deer with them. At the same time keeping a sharp look out for the bears that wanted the deer. I’m a bad dad, I know.