An Illinois mom is “shocked” and “outraged” after she had the cops called on her for letting her 8-year-old daughter go for a walk around the block, Yahoo News is reporting.
It’s a story that seems to hit the news with alarming regularity: a parent gives their child a little bit of freedom – perhaps more than you or I might be comfortable with – and then a “concerned neighbor” calls the cops or publicly shames the parent (or both). And the latest such case comes out of the well-to-do Chicago suburb of Wilmette.
Mom Corey Widen says that she allows her 8-year-old daughter, whose name has been revealed as Dorothy, to take the family’s dog for walks every day. It gives the home-schooled lass a bit of freedom and responsibility – both things that her mother says she needs at that age. The walks are brief, just around the block, and it’s the only time the little girl is ever out of her mom’s sight.
“This was something we did to start giving her more independence because I didn’t feel she had enough, so I wanted to make that happen.”
However, a concerned neighbor apparently didn’t see things that way. He or she called the cops, telling them that there was a child under five walking around unattended.
Corey Widen, 48, a mother of two from Wilmette, Illinois, said she allowed her daughter, Dorothy, to walk their dog, Marshmallow, around the block when a neighbor called police. https://t.co/UTv7Gg4ZcK pic.twitter.com/7XavfvLjGW
— WOWT 6 News (@WOWT6News) August 24, 2018
Soon, the police were at her door, asking questions. She said that she explained to the cops that her daughter was eight, not five, that she was only walking her dog around the block, and so on.
That apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy the “concerned neighbor,” who had apparently called the cops on Cory once before, this time over Dorothy “playing in a parking lot,” according to reports. Not getting satisfaction from the police, the neighbor called Illinois’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). They came knocking as well.
DCFS spokesperson Alissandra Calderon says that the complaint was determined to be “unfounded,” meaning that Widen won’t face any criminal charges nor have a case on file with the agency. Calderon also makes it clear that DCFS must investigate all credible reports, and that they cannot control what calls come into their hotline.
As for the actions of the “concerned neighbor,” Widen says that she would like whoever made the phone call to remember that every kid is different, every neighborhood is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover. You don’t know every situation. You don’t know every child and when you do things like this, you overwhelm an already overwhelmed system with nuisance calls like this. And kids and families who need help don’t get it then.”