‘Free Range Parenting’ law goes into effect in Utah

Posted at 8:09 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 22:23:06-04

SALT LAKE CITY - Parents eventually must decide when is it ok to leave your child somewhere unsupervised. Some parents told Fox13 News they will never leave them unsupervised, while others said maybe when they turn 11, or 12 it would be ok.

On Tuesday, Utah’s new law called the Free Range Parenting law went into effect.  The Utah legislature redefined what “neglect” means in their last session.

That decision passed unanimously in both chambers. Utah parents can now let their children walk home alone from school or leave them at a park, or wherever, and not be prosecuted for child neglect.

“My mom used to drop me off by a pond and I’d fish for bluegills for three hours with a bunch of old guys we didn’t know, while she was shopping,” said father of two, Chance Pellum.  “I just don’t understand why people have to have an eye on our kids all the time.”

Pellum was at Liberty Park on Tuesday afternoon in Salt Lake City keeping a close eye on his three-year-old son. He said he is aware, his childhood is different than his youngest kid’s childhood but he should be the one to decide what is best for his son.

“I think the Free Range Parenting law is a good idea. you should be able to let your kids do whatever you think they’re up to,” said Pellum.  “Times are different, and I don’t want to lose my kid [to Child Protective Services], but I don’t want the government telling me what I need to do.”

“I live down the street right here and I would never let my daughter go play in any of these parks, because there is just too many weird people walking around,” said Heather Smith, a mother of an 8-year-old.

Another mother and father, Pita and Marissa Feletoa have differing opinions on the law.

“I feel like it’s good,” said Pita.  “For me, that will put more responsibility back on the parents.”

His wife did not agree with the new law.

“I would feel more comfortable if I knew there were people out there constantly watching and knowing that if my child were to run off, that he would be safe,” said Marissa.

Please vote on our Fox13 Facebook page poll to let us know what you think of the new Free Range Parenting Law, we will share the results on Wednesday in our newscasts: