It was almost exactly 10 years ago that I wrote the column, “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone,” that caused such a media firestorm that I started my blog, Free-Range Kids, which then became a book and a movement. Let Grow continues the fight against over-protection. And now Utah has become the first state to pass — unanimously — the Free-Range Kids bill that specifically allows parents to let their kids run errands, play outside and even wait briefly in the car without fear of this being labeled abuse or neglect!
Here is a short, simple, non-legalese version we now call the Let Grow Proclamation that you can bring to your state legislators or city council. Imagine not having to worry about a knock on the door for letting your kid walk to the park!
As the Deseret News explains:
Utah governor signs law legalizing ‘free-range parenting’
SALT LAKE CITY — So-called free-range parenting will soon be the law of the land in Utah after the governor signed what appears to be the country’s first measure to formally legalize allowing kids to do things on their own to foster self-sufficiency.
The bill, which Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday that he’d signed, specifies that it isn’t neglectful to let kids do things alone like travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car. The law takes effect May 8.
Utah’s law is the first in the country, said Lenore Skenazy, who coined the term free-range parent. A records search by the National Conference of State Legislatures didn’t turn up any similar legislation in other states.
Utah lawmakers said they were prompted to pass the law after seeing other states where parents had been investigated and in some cases had their children temporarily removed when people reported seeing kids playing basketball in their yards or walking to school alone.
Headline-grabbing cases have included a Maryland couple investigated after allowing their 10- and-6-year-old children to walk home alone from a park in 2015.
Republican Sen. Lincoln Fillmore of South Jordan has said allowing kids to try things alone helps prepare them for the future, though some have raised concerns the law could be used as defenses in child-abuse cases if not carefully deployed.
The law states the child must be mature enough to handle those things but leaves the age purposely open-ended so police and prosecutors can work on a case-by-case basis, Fillmore has said.
Skenazy, who wrote the book “Free Range Kids” after writing about letting her 9-year-old ride the New York City subway alone, has said the law is a good way to reassure parents who might be nervous about their parenting decisions.
I did indeed — and it is!
Read the rest of the story here. And send it to your state reps! Your state could be next! Here is a template of the Let Grow Proclamation you can take to any elected representative, even a local city councilperson.
Freedom for parents and kids awaits! – L