People everywhere have been debating over the efficacy of “free range parenting” since the
The Washington Post reports about the new protocol Montgomery County police are being asked to adhere to when coming across unattended children in the neighborhood. A new memo asks police to basically use their better judgment and decide whether or not neglect is at play. If they deem that the children are not victims of parental neglect they shouldn’t report them to CPS but instead drive them home and notify parents.
Though the new guidelines seem like a win for “free range” parents, the protocol described in the memo was left very much up to the police officer’s discretion. The memo reads, “If the officer does not believe the circumstances constitute neglect, the officer can notify a parent or guardian about the situation. Again, the facts and circumstances of each case would drive the decision-making process and, simply, age is a consideration. A police officer may drive unattended children home or wait for a parent or caretaker to pick the child up.”
The language in the memo remains vague as to when officers should report a possible neglect. Officers are advised to report any neglect calls to CPS, but it is unclear whether a call from a passerby reporting a child walking alone would be enough to constitute a “neglect call”.
What do you think of the new guidelines in Montgomery County when officers interact with unattended children in public?
Do you think young children should be allowed to walk short distances alone in their own neighborhood?