Free range parents have recently been found guilty of unsubstantiated child neglect. Free range parenting is when parents allow their children to explore the world for extended periods unsupervised. Even if you do not engage in free-range parenting, you may find CPS accusing you of child neglect simply for your child playing outside. You will need to understand your state laws, document your correspondence with a CPS agent and be ready for a showdown with help from a lawyer if you are accused of child neglect.
Understand Your State Laws
Before allowing your child to play unattended outside, you must know the law. There is usually a maximum age under which a child is not allowed to play outside unattended. Also, many states require that older children have support systems in place, such as phone numbers they can call in case of an emergency, when they do play outside by themselves.
Parents can also get in trouble if their children are left alone overnight or in a situation that they would not be able to handle. While it varies from state to state, typically, parents are often not safe from neglect accusations until their children are 18 or older.
Hire a Lawyer
If your children are caught playing unsupervised, CPS may respond by threatening to take your children away. Under these circumstances, you should contact an attorney for legal advice and representation. The process of fighting with CPS can be very long and confusing, so you will need an experienced lawyer who can assist you in untangling the mess. You will want to hire a lawyer that understands that the CPS is often wrong and recognizes the importance of children remaining with their parents.
You will need to document everything that the CPS said and video tape if possible. CPS workers can sometimes incorrectly represent the facts of the case or misquote you. The more hard evidence you have, the less likely that a CPS case will be considered substantiated. Then, based on the documented evidence you have gathered, write your own version of the events in a sworn affidavit and file this with the court.
Try to avoid talking with CPS and instead consider having your attorney communicate with them. If you make a mistake when communicating with the CPS, they can later use this against you. For example, if you meant to say your child was alone for ten minutes, but accidentally said ten hours, "ten hours" might end up in the report.Share