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.
We are currently working in Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas on “Reasonable Childhood Independence” bills that narrow the neglect laws, protecting parents who — by choice or necessity — give their kids some unsupervised time.
Utah passed the first such bill in 2018. We are hopeful that as the years go by, more and more states will follow suit!
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.
Let Grow’s legislative resources include model laws, sample testimony, posters, and stories, to make a case in your state.