Legislative Resources

Playing Outside Should Not Be Against the Law

At Let Grow, we believe kids have the right to some independence, and parents have the right to give it to them—without getting arrested or investigated for neglect.

And lately, we are on a roll! In May of last year, Oklahoma and Texas both passed “Reasonable Childhood Independence” bills that narrow the neglect laws, protecting parents who — by choice or necessity — give their kids some unsupervised time. These states followed the lead of Utah which passed the first such bill in 2018.

And THIS year, in March, the Colorado Legislature passed the bill UNANIMOUSLY. Gov. Jared Polis then signed it into law — you can watch that happen right here!

We are hopeful that as time goes by, more and more states will follow suit. This year we are also working in South Carolina, Nebraska and sowing seeds beyond! Please click the button below to get involved in your state. And if you have a story to share with us, please do. We will keep it private unless you wish otherwise.

Legislative Resources Let Grow

Legislative Resources FAQ

What is Let Grow working to do?

In many states, the neglect laws are so broad and open to interpretation that some parents have been investigated simply for letting their kids play outside on their own. We believe most parents know best when their kids are ready to do things. So we are trying to get states to narrow their child neglect laws.

Why narrow the child neglect laws?

Vague and broad laws can create a chilling effect. Parents ready to give their kids some responsibilities and independence shouldn’t have to worry that they could be second-guessed by cops or caseworkers with very different ideas of what is reasonably safe. 

Where can I find out about laws in my state?

Every state has two sets of neglect laws—criminal and child protective. The police enforce criminal law, while child protective law is the purview of the child protective authorities. Let Grow created a set of maps that show both sets of laws in all 50 states (and DC). See the maps here.

Is there model legislation?

In 2018, Utah passed the nation’s first “Free-Range Kids” bill stating it is not neglect to let your kids play outside, walk to school, etc. Let Grow has drafted three different versions of Reasonable Childhood Independence laws like Utah’s. Legislators can choose the one that works best for their state. The model laws are here.

Do you have any additional resources?

Yes, we’ve gathered all our legislative resources in one spot. This online toolkit has sample testimony, real-life stories, printable flyers, and additional reading. You can access it all right here.

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Legislative Toolkit

Let Grow’s legislative resources include model laws, sample testimony, posters, and stories, to make a case in your state.