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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Utah legalizes ‘free-range parenting’

Maryland parents Alexander and Danielle Meitiv were investigated for child neglect for letting their children, aged 10 and 6, walk home from a nearby park.

Utah parents will be able to let their kids walk to school or play at a playground without supervision, under a new law legalizing free-range parenting, reports Lindsay Whitehurst for AP.

Utah lawmakers said they were prompted to pass the law after seeing other states where parents had been investigated and in some cases had their children temporarily removed when people reported seeing kids playing basketball in their yards or walking to school alone. Headline-grabbing cases have included a Maryland couple investigated after allowing their 10- and-6-year-old children to walk home alone from a park in 2015.

In theory, Utah parents won’t have to worry about being investigated for child endangerment or neglect, but only if the child is “mature enough” to handle the situation and conditions are “safe.”

“We have become so over-the-top when ‘protecting’ children that we are refusing to let them learn the lessons of self-reliance and problem-solving that they will need to be successful as adults,” Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, who sponsored the bill, told Yahoo Lifestyle.

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