Stapleton parents who say they were unfairly accused of child neglect want parent protection laws

Posted at 7:28 AM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 09:28:31-04

DENVER -- Monica and Devon Jones' parenting philosophy has always been about giving their children the freedom to grow. But teaching their now 5-year-old daughter life lessons almost cost them their custody. 

Last year, the couple allowed their then-4-and-a-half-year-old daughter to play at the park across the street while one of the parents watched from a distance.

Someone spotted the child playing alone and called Child Protective Services to investigate. 

“A few weeks later CPS came to our house and interviewed us. They wanted to find out what was going on and then proceeded to tell us they were going to find substantiated neglect,” Devon Jones said. 

The couple appealed the findings and were prepping to fight the charges in court, but inconsistencies and a missing witness led to the charges being dropped.

The couple is now calling for a change. They are in the process of gathering support and created the Facebook page Free Range Kids Colorado in hopes of bringing a "free-range" parenting law to Colorado. The law was just passed in Utah, making it the first state to let parents give their kids more freedom to be on their own without fearing they'll be charged with a crime. The child can't be in imminent danger of being harmed. 

“It gives it another level of protection to parents who just want to let their kids play outside. Since it's discretionary we have no actual guidelines as to when it's safe to allow our daughter to go out and play with other kids,” Devon Jones said.

The new law in Utah passed without a single "no" vote.