Let Grow works to make it normal, safe and LEGAL to give children reasonable independence.
After getting the first “Free-Range Parenting” law passed in Utah in 2018, we have been working in six new states this year.
In the spring, South Carolina’s Senate passed a Free-Range Parenting bill. The House will take it up in 2020. Arkansas enacted a Let Grow preamble to its juvenile court law, reminding the state that simply giving kids some independence is not negligence. And efforts will continue in states where legislative proposals got committee hearings in 2019 (Connecticut and Texas).
Now we’re starting to work on prospective legislation in two new states – Colorado and Georgia. We are also doing preliminary outreach in another half dozen states.
Let Grow’s own model law has its roots in both Illinois and Utah statutes. The Illinois law passed in 2013 narrowed the previously over-broad neglect law that allowed moms like Natasha Felix to be targeted by child protective services. Natasha let her kids, 11, 9, and 5, play in the park next door to her apartment for 30-40 minutes. A passerby called 911 and it took two years for Natasha to get her name off the Child Abuse Registry. (Every state has one.)
The Utah law gives express permission for kids to walk to school, play outside and be home alone when their parents determine it is safe and they are sufficiently mature. Our current proposed wording doesn't specify each and every independence decision parents are allowed to make. It defines neglect as only "blatant disregard" for a child's safety and welfare.
Let Grow’s work on legislation relies on local advocates like you, and legislative leaders. We provide strategic advice, expert testimony, legal research, and stories of families impacted.
Our legal consultant, Diane Redleaf, is a lawyer with a long history of working on and leading policy reform advocacy for children and families at the state and national levels. She coordinates Let Grow’s legislative agenda by working with local leaders to examine both the neglect laws and the criminal laws under which parents are too often wrongly targeted for considering their kids sufficiently mature to engage in normal childhood activities.
Let Grow’s legislative work is thoroughly and explicitly bi-partisan, meaning that Let Grow seeks to secure sponsors on both sides of the political aisle – and in the aisle itself!
The right to give children reasonable independence is not a partisan issue.
All families deserve the freedom to let their kids grow. No parents should experience an arrest, criminal charges, hotline calls or placement on the child abuse registry when they make a decision that their children have sufficient maturity to be alone, unless there is truly some obvious danger that they are blatantly disregarding. We want kids to be safe too! That’s why our proposal recognizes that governments can and should protect children from real dangers if their parents cause serious risk of actual harm.
As Let Grow works to expand the number of states adopting protections for children given reasonable independence, we need the help of friends and supporters. Click here to go to our Get Involved page!
NOTE: If you have questions about local laws, please check out our State Laws page here. If you seek legal advice, please write to Info@LetGrow.org. We wish we could answer every legal question, but our resources don't allow it.