Utah passes first “Free Range Parenting” bill in United States

Two young children ride bicycles in park
April 5, 2018 | by: aaronarmstrong

In March, Utah governor Gary R. Hebert passed a bill that is believed to be the United States’ first “Free Range Parenting” law in the country.

The Washington Post reports “The measure, sponsored by Utah state Sen. Lincoln Fillmore (R), exempts from the definition of child neglect various activities children can do without supervision, permitting “a child, whose basic needs are met and who is of sufficient age and maturity to avoid harm or unreasonable risk of harm, to engage in independent activities …”

Those activities include letting children “walk, run or bike to and from school, travel to commercial or recreational facilities, play outside and remain at home unattended.” The law does not say what the “sufficient age” is.

Under the law, state child-welfare authorities can no longer take children away from their parents if their kids are caught doing those various activities alone, as long as their kids are adequately fed, clothed and cared for.”

The idea isn’t to eliminate “helicopter parenting” that may be happening — but rather allow kids some additional freedom “to be able to learn how to navigate the world so when they’re adults they’re fully prepared to handle things on their own.”

The law was looked into after the state heard stories of other states arresting parents after allowing their young kids to stay home alone, or roam the streets by themselves.

Most parents today experienced free-range roaming while growing up — but times have changed, and in North America it isn’t so much the norm anymore.

Utah is trying to change current “parenting guidelines” around to the way they were.

What do you feel about free-range parenting? Do you feel age & maturity should be a major factor in allowing kids to be more unsupervised? Share your thoughts with us on our K945 Facebook page!

Jenna Morton with Pickle Planet Moncton also has a great write-up on the topic!

*Photo source: Thinkstock

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