Natasha F. did not expect that allowing her kids to enjoy a summer afternoon would lead to years of strife and an unfair child neglect label against her. On July 29, 2013, Natasha’s three boys were playing outside with their cousin. Natasha’s children were 11, 9, and 5 years old, respectively, and their cousin was 9. The nine-year-old child’s mother is a close friend of Natasha’s, and the women were inside with a third friend, regularly checking on their children through the window. The four children were playing in a park, located in the lot adjacent to the apartment, and Natasha had left her oldest child in charge.
Natasha checked from her window that the children were fine every 10 minutes. And the children were doing fine and were only outside for about half an hour. Natasha and her friends all approved of their children’s using their energy in playing in the park, and believed this form of play helped them. But when a preschool teacher visited the park with her class that teacher assumed the children were completely unsupervised. Instead of simply asking the children to be careful, or asking them where their parents were, the preschool teacher left the park with her class and placed a hotline call to DCFS, apparently unaware that caring adults were a moment away. Click to read the rest of Natasha’s story.