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When school-aged children play alone in a city park, is it neglect?

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In this rather odd dispute the Illinois Department Of Children and Family Services cited a mother for child neglect when she allowed her school-aged children to play in the park adjacent to their home where she could see and was watching them. The opening line of the mother’s brief says it all.

The appeal raises a question of great importance to parents and children of this State: may a parent who allows her school-aged children to play in a nearby park for thirty to forty minutes, without remaining in her line of sight at all times, avoid being registered in a State-run database as a child neglector? [Brief signed by Kathleen B. Barry for Winston & Strawn]

Which raises the question of whether government has gotten so large that government workers have to create controversy in order to justify their job? Follow this link to read the brief filed on behalf of the mother and written by Kathleen B. Barry of the law firm of Winston & Strawn in Chicago.

An August news release by the FDC says vague and unreasonable standards allow DCFS to “second-guess reasonable decisions by parents.” It points readers to its own report on When Can Parents Let Children Be Alone? (PDF) for suggested improvements.

Mom did not neglect sons by letting them play outside, state agrees after legal battle

Category: General

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