One would hope that the officials who have the power to make these decisions would be extremely cautious in exercising this power, especially since we know that once the state takes over custody, those kids cannot be assured that they are going to receive stellar care. In fact, while obviously there are some fabulous, dedicated fostering families out there, many kids in foster care end up in another neglectful or even abusive situation.
There are many gray areas, and I don’t envy those trusted with making those decisions. They may recognize how grave a decision it is to remove a child from her parents’ home, but likely also lay awake worrying that some child will end up seriously injured or even dead, when they could have intervened.
Yet some decisions don’t seem gray at all, such as the case in Maryland with a set of parents who believe in giving their kids freedom to walk around the neighborhood on their own. As has been widely reported, they have been cited by Maryland government officials, had their kids picked up and taken into custody without their parents’ knowledge, and threatened with the loss of their children.
This is completely crazy, and seems an obvious overreach by government. One may disagree with the Maryland couples’ decisions and believe that it’s a mistake to give a ten and six-year-old such freedom. One can think they are bad parents. But surely this parenting philosophy (which is known as “free-range”) does not cross the line into being so neglectful that it should be illegal and cause for the state to cease people’s kids.