nydailynews.com nydailynews.com 20 Dec, 2020 10:45 am

When is a child truly free? State laws are all over the place

When is a child truly free? State laws are all over the place
“I’m thinking of letting my 8-year-old walk to her friend’s apartment. It’s literally one block. But I’m not sure if she’ll get stopped, or if she’s too young, or…” My neighbor’s voice trailed off as he worried about someone mistaking his parenting decision for neglect in Jackson Heights, Queens, where we live.

That’s a very hard question to answer in New York.New York’s criminal law says child endangerment is the “lack of reasonable diligence as to a child under 18.Meantime, New York’s child protection law says that neglect occurs when a child’s “physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as a result of the failure of his parent…to exercise a minimum degree of care,” But again, who decides what is “minimum”?New York’s guidelines underestimate kids and undermine their independence.

” And here I must confess that, having heard from too many parents stopped for everyday decisions, like letting their kids walk home from the park, or walk the dog, ye olde leading proponent had to pause: Can parents legally allow their 8-year-old to walk down the street when they think she’s ready?’ ” Most Read Of course, most parents will never be arrested or investigated for letting their kids walk to the store, or stay home alone for a little bit.

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