Obligatory "When I grew up...": When I grew up (I'm 32), there were still murderers, kidnappers, drug dealers, gangs, etc. My parents and the parents of all my friends let us roam free from the minute we finished our chores until dark. They often let us decide for ourselves how we wanted to get our lunch, dinner, snacks, etc. We could choose our own transportation, our own paths. I treasured that freedom.
What's crazy is that it's my same generation of parents that now seem to be doing the policing. I had "heard" of this happening around me, but I was still dumbfounded when it first happened to me. One Summer, my 6 year old was playing in the front yard. My wife was sitting inside on the couch in front of the window so she could keep an eye on her when suddenly the neighbor walks up to my daughter, grabs her hand and brings her to the front door. "Did you know your daughter was playing outside alone?" in a very accusatory tone. This isn't a call to CPS, but it still made us feel both angry and ashamed.
As a Utah resident, one thing I'm happy to see is the new "Free Range Parenting" law . I still think it's crazy that it was needed, but I think in today's parenting culture it really, really is.
In fairness to the current generation of parents in their late 30s to early 50s, violent crime spiked dramatically in the 1990s and has only recently returned to 1960s levels, and people cement their worldviews in their teenage / early 20s and rarely change their minds afterwards. So as faulty of a process as their reasoning is, they did grow up in a generation of the most violent crime our nation has dealt with in recent history; add that to the media frenzy (and that weird obsession / fear of satanism in the late 90s too) and you get a generation of overprotective parents.
CPS's only reason for existence, and only reason for their funding is "investigating" child abuse. Now you might say, but there's many more serious ones they'll also investigate. Well, yes, but there's serious incentives against doing actual serious cases:
1) they'll fail very often (a sad truth is that nearly all psychiatric treatments fail, and on children, well read on ...)
2) there's a lot of risk (violent children and parents, sometimes families and friends, or the patients may organize against their "carers", read on ...)
3) there's often no solution (e.g. bad living arrangements because parents don't have money. Can't be fixed of course by psychiatric treatment. Bad attitude because teachers are racist. There is a dizzying array of problems that look psychological from a distance but aren't)
And keep in mind they can get out of nearly anything by either not finding a problem or declaring some case done.
So how you solve these problems, as an organisation ? FOR the organisation, of course, not for the children:
("after all if the organisation doesn't exist anymore people are no longer protected. Therefore the organisation's protection must come first" is the excuse used by the smarter bureaucrats)
1) You just don't take actual cases, and use threats to make up the numbers.
When there is no actual problem, it's very easy to treat kids, especially with the threat of incarceration or permanent "placement" to make kids and parents say whatever you want them to say.
Ironically you can recognize this easily. Real psychiatric treatments succeed in something like 10% of cases at most (sucks, but that's the truth. On children, it's even less and the most important factor that determines success is whether the mother is administering or at least assisting treatment). Any organisation that reports 20% effectiveness or more is abusing it's position this way, and making patients lie to escape them.
Any director that demands realistic figures from his organisation would be fired on the spot because of that unfortunate truth, that most people can't be helped.
2) Again you just don't take these cases. How do you do that ? Well, when kids or parents are violent, they are immediately declared cured (as happened in Arnhem just yesterday ). Because the organisation can't expect its employees to deal with violence and it never has the means to secure their employees either (besides you can't really protect against violence 24/7. Think about that for a bit, because you'll see it's obviously true and it'll raise many questions you really should be asking). So they pretty much have to.
3) They actually don't want these cases, because nothing will work. So they try to keep these people out. There's the additional problem that too many of these people have nothing to lose, so they will come out and try to expose the problems of CPS.
This has one BIG exception. The other side of CPS is of course people who want children. Foster parents. They can't, or won't, get them the regular way, and of course group 3) is a good source of children, because they're unable to defend themselves legally, and there's DAMN many of them. Problem is, this will go badly wrong with children that are above a certain very young age (because they'll understand what is being done to them and when that happens, of course a significant portion uses violence against foster parents, and anyone and anything around them. Can you blame them ?). Hence the constant effort by CPS organisations to change the laws so they can interfere sooner and sooner in the life of a child. Right into the womb 
The truly terrible part of foster parents is that becoming foster parents ... they may do that for criminal reasons (worst case because they're paedophiles that want access to and power over children). CPS of course, is heavily incentivized to cover this up. Unless you think it is good for a government department, whose only useful currency is making politicians look good, to admit they handed children over to paedophiles, sometimes with handcuffs around the childrens' wrists. It is equally obvious to see that this will, inevitably, happen to these services.
And of course there is a group where CPS actually help: parents are human. They may die. They may get ill to the point they can't take care of children. They may run away, for whatever reason. They may be taken away by other parts of the state, like the criminal justice system or adult psychiatry. This of course, can never be a reason to use the violence of CPS institutions against these children (which is done anyway, of course), but this is presumably a good use for foster parents. But this is a tiny minority of children in "protection" everywhere.
In most places CPS is also used as a correctional facility for criminal youth. This may or may not be separate from regular CPS, although it mostly isn't. Also, in many places, for children, acting against CPS decisions is pretty much the only possible crime a child can commit. This, of course, was instituted at the request of CPS in most cases (coincidence ? Hah !).
Obviously at a high level the CPS organisation will maximize incoming money and size of the organisation, while minimizing having it's employees in contact with the disincentives.
So anybody at the top of this organisation has only one option available to them. "Treat" as many innocent kids as possible, and stay as far away as possible from actual problems, with the exception of forms of abandonment, and provide people who want them with a source of children.
Now there's a slight issue with that. Treating those kids (past a certain level) ... means kidnapping them and locking them up against their will. Which, of course, is very traumatic, which is why the threats work. An issue is that this does of course cause long term psychological damage to those children, but ...
If there is a very public case of child abuse, they'll send someone out to "deal" with that one specifically, of course.
Last big problem for any form of CPS is of course that they lock up and take power away from children and parents. Remind you of anyone ? Right: CPS attracts, of course, child abusers and paedophiles, for reasons that are entirely obvious to anyone (they usually pay dismally, so people working there are doing it for other reasons). This goes from their own employees being more than a little bit prone to psychological or outright sexual abuse of interned children, but doesn't stop there: pimps have always found CPS institutions to be a very rich recruiting ground. And as pointed out above, foster parents don't always have good motives, or to put it another way: some portion of them are paedophiles that want to rape kids.
CPS is of course dependent on their public image, and therefore heavily disincentivized to police this, and heavily incentivized to choose the side of the paedophiles and abusers when they do get caught. The alternative is admitting that a LOT of child abuse happens within CPS itself, which of course leads to the question if they're making things better or worse in the total.
Because of the incentives for CPS, there can however be no doubt: child services makes things a LOT worse for kids. It is a necessity for a tiny, tiny minority of kids, which is the excuse used.
That's why you see this, a case combining half the problems: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/norways_hidden_s....
a) important child services director turns out to be ... a paedophile. Has been for decades "enjoying child porn" (his words)
b) has been assigned kids into his care
c) those kids are kept with him, youth services sees no reason to change that despite child porn conviction (needless to say, they have placed kids for far less)
d) child services actually defends the person in court and doesn't extract punishment. He is politely asked to leave the child services council, nothing more
e) child services tries to buy parents' silence by offering them their kids back (a bit of conjecture, of course, but ... does anyone really believe anything else happened there ?)
And this is in Norway. I don't know for sure, but it seems to me the situation in the US is very likely to be worse.
If you look for it but a little bit, you will find that child services organisations everywhere have gotten caught in incredible scandals.
These incentives mean, of course, that you just cannot morally risk having these organisations at all. You just cannot allow non-voluntary psychological aid.
 http://rotherhamscb.proceduresonline.com/chapters/p_sg_babie.... (they're having an international conference about what people should call "stealing babies right from the womb")
 https://nos.nl/artikel/2265037-arnhemse-vader-die-zoon-ombra.... (in dutch, but ...) TLDR: parent turns violent against youth care and adult psychiatric care, is immediately declared "cured" ("uitbehandeld") and three months later grabs a sword and attempts to murder his family. Son is dead, 2 others escaped.
[2 bis] one of the stories of a kid that has some wrong friends. Mom alerts youth care, eventually the kids gets placed after getting caught stealing more than a few times. Kid organises her "group" and the group attacks the staff with makeshift knives. Declared cured within a week (without, of course, any CPS employee seeing this kid to make such a diagnosis), dumped back with mother.
I'm sorry, I didn't read the rest of your wall. However, I certainly blame TV. Specifically John Walsh in the 1980's. He scared the crap out of a lot of people in the 80's. Every neighbor was a potential pedophile, murderer, rapist and so you saw a shift in the way people parented.
 The guy's kid was abducted and murdered, so I get he did what he felt he needed to do.
The mass media and entertainment may play a role. Everyone can probably name several scenes or news events where a parent takes their eyes off a kid for 5 seconds and the kid is missing and it becomes a disaster. Those have major emotional impact and may influence real-life parent and neighbor behavior.
The paranoia has extended so far that Amber Alerts, which are almost always people known to the kid or the kid's family taking the kid (not really forcefully abducting, and not intending harm, many times just custody disputes or relatives who think they know better), are broadcast region-wide. I remember some idiotic website over a decade ago actually emailing their entire national customer list to notify them about an Amber Alert. And this was a long time ago. This paranoia has been creeping up for a long, long time, and it's not doing any favors for today's youth.
For every kid this level of vigilance saves from serious harm, I suspect it emotionally and psychologically cripples many more.
Here's my hypothesis
1. Paradoxically, because life is safer. You're less likely to die of a disease, starvation, birth condition, injury, etc. which makes your safety and health more controllable. So it gets controlled.
2. Fewer people have kids. After having kids, most people get more lax because they realize that children are remarkabley robust and also impossible to control 100% of the time.
3. People that do have kids have fewer of them. There's the cynical "we've got backups" angle, but also the "we can't monitor every single minute for every single kid". My wife is the oldest of 10 children. The dynamics of that family are very different than a 1 or 2 child family. There's a lot more compromise, by necessity.
4. Media exposure has increased the sense of danger. Each seat belt lapse, kidnapping, SIDS incident, etc. has 100 times the reach it used to, while the unexpectional cases are obviously not reported on.
We used to build spears from old broomsticks and shields from rusty trash can lids and ride our bikes down hills at one another jousting each other off the bikes. I remember one hot summer day we actually figured out how to make our own fires by rubbing sticks, sparking rocks and using a lot of very dry pine needles. We then cooked ourselves some random veggies we stole from a neighbors garden. It tasted absolutely disgusting but of course everyone said it was delicious.
I don't get why so many people in our generation turned into complete snowflakes with their kids (don't forget our generation is also responsible for "gender neutral parenting").
You’re ranting about the wrong target. The parent in this story trusted their children with an appropriate amount of independence. An unknown adult was the one who complained.
Also, these days, a parent "watching" their kid(s) means proximity, not awareness. The parent may be within view, but that's useless when they're glued to their phone a good percentage of the time and only glance up now and then.
Article is about a 3 year old. I don’t think any issue would arise if a 7-10 year old did the same today.
I think CPS has too much power here, to intervene in a case where there was no obvious harm.
Where you grew up, when you grew up, what was the population size and density vs. today?
I'm a bit older, and had a similarly free-range childhood. The town I grew up in was on the fringes of farmland, on the edge of suburban sprawl. There wasn't even enough people yet for rush hour traffic to be congested.
Nowadays that same town is overwhelmed with people. The streets I used to bicycle down carelessly are parking lots at rush hour. I still have family in the area, but it's a very different situation. There's more crime in absolute terms, there always will be with a larger population.
Sure the media skews the population's perception of risks, making them even less able to think rationally about the probabilities. But it's not entirely to blame. There's very real change that happens when populations grow, the context becomes entirely different.
Even if you keep crime rates constant during population growth, the absolute amount of crime happening has increased, it's visible.
By the time I moved out in my early 20s, what used to be farms we'd bicycle to and eat raw ears of sweet corn from, had all become dense suburban housing developments interrupted only by busy streets and strip malls.
I believe it's still possible to find suburban/rural fringes to raise a family, in the classical free-range fashion. But it seems like these days much of those opportunities are so economically depressed that it's prone to drugs/crime of a different sort. We don't seem to have many functioning healthy small town economies anymore, not from what I've seen anyways. It's usually a dying town with meth problems and a wal-mart somewhere on the horizon.
Here's a short talk from the same author about how overparenting backfired: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aMAJYtRPPM
"In the mid-'90s there was a sharp shift to overprotective parenting. In previous generations, kids were allowed to out of the house unsupervised from age 5-8, which has now become age 12-16. As a result, their independence, resilience, and problem-solving skills suffer."
(Not surprising this is Canada t.b.h. this is the country where it seems people can't follow common sense in place of procedures and where people are too worried about anything that "might be dangerous")
And of course kids die because of such stupidity https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-mom-urges-scho...
The political and media landscape in the US is blatantly, openly toxic and corrupted so severely by just a few powerful people that it feels second maybe only to the Soviet Union and despotic dictatorships. Race (and religious difference) has always been, since the foundation of the country, the thing that the ruling classes of the US blame while pillaging the commonwealth. While you may idolize ethno-nationalism, it will solve no real social problems.
Racial minorities in the US have been systemically mistreated for centuries. To look at a Native American reservation today and blame its residents for their own misfortune is equivalent to ripping out 350 years worth of pages from a US History book. It's deluded. Racial minorities in the US don't choose a harder life of fewer opportunities and a tougher path to success -- they have it imposed on them by hundreds of years of force.
Hey I drive my car for 30 years without a seatbelt and was never injured, it surely means that seatbelts are useless and you can’t really get injured in a car, so why even bother with protection?
In my region and places I travel I see children walking around everywhere and there don’t seem to be armies of CPS workers stalking them.
I guess I’m just wondering if this is an actual trend or just more outrage_porn attempting to get people riled up about how the millennials are killing childhood or whatever.
It's actually nice to see, as my hometown is not like that at all. Parents often won't even let their kids go to the park playground while watching an older (and sometimes younger!) sibling play ball. That's despite the fact there's other parents over there, and it's fairly small so everyone really does seem to know everyone. A family friend has gotten criticized for letting their kids walk from their house to their grandparents, which wasn't even a mile on back roads. They also let their son ride his bike to the park often (2 miles, perhaps), and got criticized for that. It's really weird to see the contrast in the two places.
Sounds like this social worker stepped out of bounds. If Canadian government is by and large okay with kids walking to school themselves at 9, surely walking a block with a 9 year old is reasonable enough. It's clear the parent was still aware of where they were so I'd say it's an arguable case, but IANAL.
Tbh I don't know if this is just one isolated case, but it kinda sounds like it.
Edit: here is the law and I linked the subsection that is relevant. It more clearly states what I paraphrased above. https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/statutes/ccsm/c080e.php#17(2)
It also depends a lot on the local environment, time of day, day of year. And it doesn't sound like the kids even needed to cross a street. This parent didn't let their child run free: they stood out on the street and watched the kids on the "dangerous" part of their journey.
The biggest risk these days is that a busybody will call CPS, break up your family and traumatize your kids in foster care. Stop the fear-mongering.
My dad started teaching me C/C++ and basic electronics when I was 7-8, and I got my ham radio license when I was 9.
The idea that you need to be 12 to understand that you should run away from creepy strangers is hilarious and scary as fuck. These helicopter parents are dangerously kneecapping their kids right from the start :\
That said, I definitely have met some three year olds that would run directly into oncoming traffic without restraint, so I think this depends a lot on the specific kid.
In some countries, you need to drive you kid to school until they are 14.
I think a lot of people would argue that watching the kids until they’re practically in the door of the bakery constitutes a reasonable provision of safety and supervision.
As in you aren't even allowed to walk with them to school, you have to drive them in a car? Why's that?
I know that in most of the US, CPS will not come out for a single complaint, not ever. It has to be multiple, repeated complaints, and the vast majority of the time, it needs to be more than a kid walking down the street- generally, CPS has more than enough real child abuse cases to deal with that they don't have time to pick up the odd stuff.
Not saying this didn't happen, but that a localized context matters to these things.
We really need a law like Utah's in every state.
That's a phrase I thought I'd never read. Utah has some of the most outrageous nanny state laws, worse than stuff I could even dream up.
That may be so, but it's irrelevant to the fact that this particular law is both wise and greatly needed.
i) The term reasonable, I wishfully think, covers this particular incident. I don't think the average family in Canada worries about kidnappings, robberies etc.
ii) How are you expecting kids to grow, and what is the lesson, if you are the watchful un-trusting guardian for even simple tasks for a big fraction of their non-adult life?
(P.S. I remember everyone walked back from elementary school, we ran errands for our parents, ... Any different experience?)
i was actually thinking about letting my 3yo go to kindergarten by himself as teaching him independence since it's like 100m walk, but there is one road to cross and most importantly he is too weak to open door on both buildings, will see if he will be stronger by age 5-6 :)
The definition of "Neglect" it uses:
>285 (35) (a) "Neglect" means action or inaction causing:
>286 (i) abandonment of a child, except as provided in Title 62A, Chapter 4a, Part 8, Safe
>287 Relinquishment of a Newborn Child;
>288 (ii) lack of proper parental care of a child by reason of the fault or habits of the parent,
>289 guardian, or custodian;
>290 (iii) failure or refusal of a parent, guardian, or custodian to provide proper or necessary
>291 subsistence, education, or medical care, or any other care necessary for the child's health,
>292 safety, morals, or well-being;
>293 (iv) a child to be at risk of being neglected or abused because another child in the same
>294 home is neglected or abused; or
>295 (v) abandonment of a child through an unregulated custody transfer.
>296 (b) The aspect of neglect relating to education, described in Subsection (35)(a)(iii),
>297 means that, after receiving a notice of compulsory education violation under Section
>298 53A-11-101.5, the parent or guardian fails to make a good faith effort to ensure that the child
>299 receives an appropriate education.
>309 (c) "Neglect" does not include:
>310 (i) a parent or guardian legitimately practicing religious beliefs and who, for that
>311 reason, does not provide specified medical treatment for a child;
>312 (ii) a health care decision made for a child by the child's parent or guardian, unless the
>313 state or other party to a proceeding shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that the health
>314 care decision is not reasonable and informed;
>315 (iii) a parent or guardian exercising the right described in Section 78A-6-301.5; or
>316 (iv) permitting a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and
>317 maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities,
>319 (A) traveling to and from school, including by walking, running, or bicycling;
>320 (B) traveling to and from nearby commercial or recreational facilities;
>321 (C) engaging in outdoor play;
>322 (D) remaining in a vehicle unattended, except under the conditions described in
>323 Subsection 76-10-2202(2);
>324 (E) remaining at home unattended; or
>325 (F) engaging in a similar independent activity.