Nanny state nightmare: Parents lose custody of kids — for being held up in traffic

A Florida mom and dad payed one helluva a price for not getting home in time to let their 11-year-old son into the house.

A delay that became every parent’s worst nightmare.

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The parents, identified by Reason.com blogger Lenore Skenazy as Cindy and Fred, were delayed about 90 minutes by traffic and rain. Not having a key, the boy kept himself busy playing basketball.

When Cindy and Fred finally arrived home, law enforcement was waiting for them, Skenazy said — a neighbor had called the police.

The parents were arrested on a negligence charge and held overnight in jail.

“It would be a month before their sons — the 11-year-old and his 4-year-old brother — were allowed home again,” the blogger wrote.

“My older one was the so-called ‘victim,'” Cindy told Skenazy in a phone interview, saying the younger son was also removed from the home because they were charged with felony neglect.

The children were placed in foster care for two days until a nearby relative could be cleared.

“Our first choice was my mother,” Cindy said. “But she lives in another state and so the kids would have been in foster care even longer until they cleared her.”

The “slightly problematic” relative — as described by Skenazy — who took the children in decided a few weeks later to give them back to the state.

The parents say they were not aware of this.

Skenazy wrote that Cindy and Fred could not visit their kids, who were in another county, because they were charged with a felony and could not cross the county line.

Teen at pool party: We didn’t have to listen to cops because ‘they called us names’

With Child Protective Services considering putting the boys back in foster care, the parents, and their attorney, found themselves back in court last Tuesday.

“They were arguing on whether or not the kids should go to foster care or with us,” Cindy said.

The back-and-forth went on and on until finally her 11-year-old son spoke up, she said, saying he wanted to talk to the judge.

“He went back there and spoke to the judge for about ten minutes,” said Cindy. “And then the judge came out and called the two lawyers to the bench and talked to them for about 10 or 15 minutes.”

The attorney came back and told the parents if they admit they didn’t know their initial actions were wrong and promised it would never happen again, the court would release the children to them.

Which is what happened, but that’s not the end of their ordeal.

Cindy and Fred still must contend with the criminal neglect charge, which they’re hoping will be dropped.

And in the meantime, the parents must comply with all of the CPS requirements, which includes parenting classes, therapy and, for the kids, “play” therapy.

Maybe the 11-year-old can play basketball in his front yard, like he did before. Except now with the government’s supervision.

Tom Tillison

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