Tales of the Nanny State
Stories like this absolutely inflame me.
The Maryland parents investigated for letting their young children walk home by themselves from a park were found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect in a decision that has not fully resolved their clash with authorities over questions of parenting and children’s safety.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv hoped the nationally debated case — which has lit up social media and brought a dozen television film crews to their Silver Spring home — would be dismissed after a two-month investigation by Montgomery County Child Protective Services.
But the finding of unsubstantiated child neglect means CPS will keep a file on the family for at least five years and leaves open the question of what would happen if the Meitiv children get reported again for walking without adult supervision.
First, what in the hell is “unsubstantiated child neglect?!” How can it be anything if it is “unsubstantiated?” Does the state of Maryland even know what that word means?
Secondly, who gets to determine whether or not children are responsible enough to do what they were allowed to do? Good parents, that’s who, and that doesn’t include the state or some busybody.
What we get from the state, however, is a “one-size-fits-all” approach and a nonsensical charge of “unsubstantiated child neglect?”
We, as a culture, whine and complain that the young are irresponsible, and then when parents actually try to teach responsibility, we charge them with a doublespeak charge?
In reality, the charge is there to give “Child Protective Services” a legal reason to intervene in the future should they so decide.
But there’s no crime here. Nor did CPS or the police prevent one. This should be a non-issue.
However, it’s not, because the state has decided it knows best and has passed a law – with the best of intentions, of course:
CPS officials have said they are guided in part by a state law that says children younger than 8 must be left with a reliable person who is at least 13. The law addresses children locked or confined in a building, dwelling, motor vehicle or other enclosed space, but does not mention children outdoors on a walk.
And that law overrules any parent’s right to actually teach a child younger than 13 responsibility. Because, you know, all children are the same. That explains why when I was 10 I was allowed to walk anywhere I pretty well pleased as long as I was home by supper. And you know what, I always was. How in the world did I survive “unsupervised” activities like that?