Mom Investigated by Police, Child Services for Letting 8-Year-Old Walk the Dog Alone
'This is a case of overreach,' parenting expert says.
An Illinois mother says she was investigated by police and child services after a neighbor reported her for allowing her eight-year-old daughter to walk the family dog around the block alone.
Corey Widen told the Chicago Tribune that her daughter loves walking the family's new puppy, Marshmallow, in Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago.
But a recent walk led to a visit from the police.
“I said, 'Did I do something wrong?' And she said, 'Well, how old is she?' I said, 'She's eight.' And she said, 'Well, okay, we got a call that she's five or under,'” Widen explained.
The cops decided no charges were needed, which apparently led the neighbor to call the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).
“They found it unfounded, but it took a lot to get to that point,” Widen said.
“We did something that was perfectly normal on the North Shore and in parenting and I still got investigated by DCFS."
A DCFS spokesperson said in a statement, "We don't control the calls that come into our hotline. Something made someone think there was a concern and we don't know without checking it out."
On "Fox & Friends First," Dr. Kimberly Thornbury said there are certainly times to adhere to the motto "see something, say something," but this was a step too far.
"To have the mother confronted by the police, confronted by child services? Quite an overreach," Thornbury said, pointing out that chores like walking the dog can teach children responsibility and independence.
Thornbury, who has worked in higher education for 25 years, said she has seen the negative effects of "helicopter parenting" in college students.
"The children need that responsibility, they need to learn initiative and execution and independence. And this is how they're going to learn it," Thornbury said. "It doesn't magically happen in college at 18 -- or whatever the child chooses to do."
Watch the "Fox & Friends First" segment above, and see the Fox 32 report below.