First State Enacts
“Free-Range Parenting” Law
UT leads — TX & NY may be next.
Here’s what “free-range parenting” means and why some say it fosters self-reliance & independence, while others say it is dangerous, and possibly illegal.
Flip Here For More
Those who practice “free-range parenting” allow their kids to do things like, go to the park, walk to school, or take public transportation, alone or with other children, but without any adult supervision.
Legal issues arise when child protective authorities view those “freedoms” as parental neglect & initiate legal proceedings against the parents to “protect” the kids.
Although child abuse & neglect laws vary by state, the U.S Constitution protects theA “fundamental right ofA parentsA to makeA decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.”
Parents may parent as they see fit UNLESS they do something, or fail to do something, that places a child in imminent risk of danger of physical or emotional harm.
The Utah Law carves out exceptions to the state’s child neglect laws by providing parents may permit their kids to engage in activities w/o adult supervision, like
- “traveling to and from school”
- “engaging in outdoor play”
- “remaining at home unattended”
(so long as they are ofA “sufficient age and maturity” & theirA “basic needs are met.”)
Did a particular event start this “free-range parenting” law in Utah? Not really…It’s part of a lobbying effort that began several years ago. Here’s the background:
- Free to roam: Utah”s first-of-its-kind “free-range parenting” law takes effect: https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/05/08/free-to-roam-utahs-first-of-its-kind-free-range-parenting-law-takes-effect/
- Utah’s ‘free-range parenting’ law is now officially in effect: https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Family/utahs-free-range-parenting-law-now-officially-effect/story?id=55021088
- How the Constitution protects free range parents: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/04/16/how-the-constitution-protects-free-range-parents/
- GOOD BACKGROUND:A Utah’s “free-range parenting” law gives kids more freedom to roamA https://www.cbsnews.com/news/utahs-free-range-parenting-law-gives-kids-more-freedom/
(FROM CBS) What is free-range parenting?The idea can be traced back to something former New York Daily News columnistA Lenore Skenazy wrote a decade ago. She let her then 9-year-old son ride the New York City subway, and got labeled as “America’s worst mom.” “If you’re neglecting a child, that’s awful. You will be prosecuted. If you’re trusting your child and you taught them to cross the street and look both ways and not go off with strangers, you’re an old-fashioned parent, and that’s not against the law,” Skenazy says now.In 2015, a Maryland couple was investigated by child welfare authorities when they allowed their then 10- and 6-year-old kids to walk home alone from a park. Cases like that prompted the Utah law. “I don’t think that it’s healthy for them to always have mom, you know, right there watching them, making sure that they’re doing everything the way I want them to,” Butler said. “It’s healthy for them to explore play on their own.”Arkansas tried to pass a similar law but failed, and New Jersey is now considering one too. Parents who support letting their children roam point to crime statistics that show violent crime has actually gone down by half since 1991.
by Jenna Lee,