An 11-year-old Florida boy was taken away from his parents last month while playing basketball in his back yard because authorities claimed he was being neglected.
“On this particular day, a little more than a month ago, both dad and I were both running late due [sic] bad traffic and rain,” the mother wrote in a letter to Free Range Kids. “We were about and [sic] hour and a half late. When we arrived the police had been anonymously called and we were arrested for child neglect.”
Since both parents were charged with a felony, they were taken into custody and forced to go through the courts to get their two kids back. This included their younger son, 4, who was removed due to the charges related to the 11-year-old.
“My son was in his own yard playing basketball, not in the street or at the park,” the mother’s letter explained. “The authorities claim he had no access to water or shelter. We have an open shed in the back yard and 2 working sinks and 2 hoses. They said he had no food. He ate his snacks already. He had no bathroom, but the responding officer found our yard good enough to relieve himself in while our son sat in a police car alone.”
The parents arranged to have the kids stay with a relative after they spent two days in foster care.
A short time later, the relative became unwilling to care for the boys, leading Child Protective Services to request that they be placed back in foster care.
A children’s court hearing was held last week, according to Reason, and the 11-year-old asked to speak to the judge.
“He went back there and spoke to the judge for about ten minutes,” the mother recalled. “And then the judge came out and called the two lawyers to the bench and talked to them for about 10 or 15 minutes. And with that, our lawyer came to us and said that if we admitted that we didn't know that it was wrong to [let our son] stay in the backyard, but that we know now that it's wrong and we will never let it happen again, and that we will explain this to our son, he would let the children come with us.”
The parents agreed, and were able to take the kids home.
The parents, however, still faces further court proceedings.
“(T)he criminal prosecutor is not dropping the charges as of today,” a second letter sent to Free Range Kids last Friday stated. “We have to appear in the criminal court on June 11th to put in our plea.”