This past Saturday, while I was out of town, my husband dropped my kids off at a park about 1 mile from our house and said they could walk home together. They got 1/2 way when someone called the police.I have watched a lot of TV, and it is usually quite safe to let 10 and 6 year-old kids walk home from a park a mile away.
"Shots Will Be Fired"
The kids were picked up in a patrol car and brought home. The policewoman asked to see my husband's ID. When he refused, she said she was going to call for back-up. He said he would get his ID and went to go upstairs. She said - in front of the kids - that if he came down with anything else, "shots would be fired."
At this point 10 yr old. called me crying, saying that the police were there and that Daddy was going to be arrested. My husband stepped outside to continue the conversation away from the kids. When he disagreed with one of the officers about the dangers that walking alone posed to the kids, she actually asked him: "Don't you watch TV?" (The answer was no). They took notes and left.
"Sign This or We Take Your Kids"
Two hours later someone from Child Welfare showed up with a temporary plan, which they wanted my husband to sign, stating that he would not leave the children unsupervised until Monday when someone from their office could contact him.
She called the police, saying that if he didn't sign they would take the kids away right then.
The trouble is that if people commonly think that it is unsafe, then someone will call 911. The operator calls the cops, and the cops call CPS. No one has enuf common sense to conclude that this is not a problem, so they are obligated to do something.
Next time CPS will not have to prove that the parents did something unsafe. It will just have to show that they violate the plan that they voluntarily signed.
In case you think that we have a more dangerous world today, Harvard professor and famous intellectual Steven Pinker writes in Slate:
Violence Against Children. A similar story can be told about children. The incessant media reports of school shootings, abductions, bullying, cyberbullying, sexting, date rape, and sexual and physical abuse make it seem as if children are living in increasingly perilous times. But the data say otherwise: Kids are undoubtedly safer than they were in the past. In a review of the literature on violence against children in the United States published earlier this year, the sociologist David Finkelhor and his colleagues reported, “Of 50 trends in exposure examined, there were 27 significant declines and no significant increases between 2003 and 2011. Declines were particularly large for assault victimization, bullying, and sexual victimization.”He wrote a whole book on how the world has become more peaceful, and it is full of data to back up his claims.