Utah 'free-range kids' bill changes legal definition of child neglect
(KUTV) - Let kids be kids is the message behind a new so-called “free-range kids” bill that’s trying to change Utah’s legal definition of child neglect.
Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-SJ, is sponsoring the S.B. 65 and says he’s trying to prevent police and the Division of Child and Family Service (DCFS) from going after parents for allowing their kids to walk on their own to school, the park or the store.
"It’s not neglect if you let your child experience childhood,” said Fillmore to 2News. "The message is you need to protect your kids but we are not doing kids any favors if we shelter them to the point where they are not learning how to function."
Fillmore says for him the idea to make the change started when he became a parent and saw the headlines across the country of parents getting into legal trouble by police or child services for allowing their kids to be on their own.
"Those kinds of things shouldn’t happen kids should be free to learn and explore and really experience childhood,” said Sen. Fillmore.
The bill does not define what the appropriate age is to allow children to be on their own. Fillmore says that’s because every child is different.
“The bill calls for sufficient age and maturity,” he said.
The bill passed the Senate floor and is now being departed in a House Committee meeting. If it passes it will go to the House Floor.