A Maryland couple and parents of two, who were already cited by Montgomery Country Child Welfare Service in November for allowing their 8 and 10-year-old children to play in the park by themselves, are reportedly in hot water again – for the same offense.
The parents were originally cited for letting a child under age 8 “be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent.” A CPS worker at the time interpreted “confined in a dwelling” as being “outside in a park,” but management at child services made the final decision to overrule this and threw the case out.
In an email written to Reason.com, the mom reportedly wrote:
It seemed that we had called their bluff and they were going to leave us alone. Not for long. 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.
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Police escorted the children home and asked to see their father’s ID. At first, he reportedly refused and the policewoman said she was going to call for backup. He then agreed to go upstairs and get his ID card and says the cop told him, in front of the children, that if he came down with anything else, “shots would be fired.”
After questioning the man about whether he knew the dangers of letting his children play in the park, the police left. Two hours later, however, a worker from Child Services reportedly returned to the home and asked the father to sign a paper promising he wouldn’t leave his kids alone until Monday, when someone from CPS would be contacting them.
The dad refused to sign the paper at first and was reportedly threatened by the CPS worker, who he says told him his children would be automatically removed from the home unless he signed the paper. He did.
Their story is similar to several that have made the rounds as of late. In July, a mom from South Carolina who worked at a McDonald’s was arrested for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in the park alone because she didn’t want to keep her cooped up during the summer months, reports The Atlantic. And in August, CNN reported that a Florida mom faced five years in jail for child neglect after she let her 7-year-old son walk home from the park alone.