The reports of negligent or plain lazy parents are mounting. Every day, we hear about someone leaving their infant or infants behind, mostly in a car, for some self-gratification. However, is it right when a mother leaves her kids alone for merely 20 minutes and is then hounded by Child Protection Services (CPS) for the alleged unforgivable negligence?
As reported by Mashable, Lilia Gonzalez is currently embroiled in a legal spat with CPS, whose personnel have been hounding her for leaving her kids alone during a work day. They are penalizing her because she left two of her three kids alone at home for 20 minutes while she drove her son to school.
Her misfortune began on a June morning when Gonzalez, then 36, awoke at 7:30 a.m. She had overslept because her 16-month-old son was sick. Her husband had left earlier to start the first of his two jobs. Like any ordinary parent, her mind started whirring about the day’s chores, and she quickly realized that her four-year-old’s school bus may have left without him.
She usually takes all her kids along to the boy’s school, but on that fateful day, she left her eight-year-old daughter alone with the infant while she dropped her elder son off at school. When she returned home after a 20-minute absence, Gonzalez found her toddler son watching television in bed and her daughter ready to attend school. She regretted impulsively leaving them alone, but felt grateful nothing tragic had happened.
The next day, Gonzalez narrated the incident to her therapist, a clinic student who helped treat her for depression. “I did something probably stupid,” Gonzalez recalls saying. Although her therapist initially remained silent, a few hours later Gonzalez received a call.
“I talked to my supervisor and I explained to her what you just told me, and we have to call [Department of Children and Family Services].”
Though Gonzalez was hereto unaware of CPS, she realized something had gone terribly wrong. Recalling the conversation, Gonzalez said, “She started telling me that they were probably going to come and interview and probably they would take the children away.”
Needless to say, a mom’s 20-minute absence from home has become an obsession of a Child Protective Services officer. Now, legally speaking, she should have taken all the kids with her, but aren’t they at far greater risk in a moving vehicle than they are at home? The number one way children die in the U.S. is as car passengers, not as kids at home getting ready for the day, reported Reason.
Was Gonzalez right in leaving her kids at home?
[Image Credit | Tyler Anderson/National Post, David Pollack / Corbis]