6-Year-Old Testifies: “If I couldn’t play outside alone, I’d be mad”

And other compelling arguments for South Carolina's "Reasonable Childhood Independence" bill

Click one or click ’em all — great videos below!

Last week, the old and the surprisingly young came to the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Committee to testify in favor of the “Reasonable Childhood Independence” bill.

First up was the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Wes Climer:


A bill like this would have saved the family of Ashley Smith, below, a world of heartache. Ashley and his wife — foster parents — found themselves being investigated for child neglect and abuse for a truly crazy reason. Their son, alert to the goings on, worried he could be taken away:

What opened the case against the Smiths? Someone saw their daughter doing her homework in the front yard and assumed she was neglected. They called 911. That was enough to trigger a child abuse investigation, says Smith:

As a foster dad, Smith knows about REAL child abuse — because that is what his son JJ had endured before joining the Smith family. How dare we waste the authorities’ time on, “Child doing homework in yard,” when somewhere, kids like JJ are literally being tortured?

Sen. Wes Climer was also visited by the cops for the “crime” of his child playing…guess where:

Caroline Lanz is the bill’s biggest — and littlest — fan. She’s 6:

Caroline has some thoughts about anyone who thinks she’s not ready to play outside by herself or with her sisters:

University of South Carolina Law Prof. Josh Gupta-Kagan says the current neglect laws are so vague, no one knows when they’re allowed to NOT call 911, or NOT open an investigation:

Prof. Gupta-Kagan nods to Let Grow as the national authority on childhood independence. He agrees with us (and Caroline!) that there should not be specific age limits on when kids can start doing some things on their own:

Believe it or not, Attorney Jay Elliott WROTE South Carolina’s Child Protection Act about 40 years ago. He knows what it was MEANT to do. He says the Reasonable Childhood Independence bill will set things right again:

Amen! And thank you to everyone else who testified.

On Tuesday — tomorrow! — the South Carolina Senate will vote on the bill.

If it passes there and then the House, everyone wins:

  • Kids who are fine out and about on their own
  • Kids who are in true danger and need immediate attention
  • Decent parents who — by choice or economic necessity — give their kids some independence.
  • The agency employees with real work to do, who shouldn’t have to waste their time on nonsense.

Good luck, South Carolina!