Every Parent has this Fear

Every parent has a fear nowadays of losing their child to a zealous social worker or to simply a criminal who is successful in getting a job with a social services agency. Most parents get their children back eventually, but some lose them forever and never see them again.

Here is a story with a relatively happy ending. Please write if you have a story like this one:

My name is Amy Collins. I live in Germany with my husband and two children. My husband is in the Air Force and is stationed at Ramstein AFB. I have worked at the Child Development Centre here on Ramstein for ten months. From April 19, 1999 to Feb. 2000. I have been in the process of getting my in-home day-care. We have just moved from one building in the housing area to another building that has been redone. We have a park right out back of our new building. Last Tuesday, June 13, I let my four year old daughter go out side to play at the park while I was trying to get our new apartment fixed up. I never let her go out by herself before this. The park is right outside my window and I checked on her every 10 to 15 minutes. Other neighbours in my building have let their children Lori's age and younger go out alone to play at this park, and I thought she would be okay. While she was outside, I checked on her and saw that she was gone. I went out to look for her thinking she would be around the area and I would let her know she needed to be where I could see her. Of cause I could not find her. I panicked and looked for her for about 10 to 15 minutes. A friend I had worked with at the day-care drove up and said my daughter was at the CDC. The CDC is two minutes away from my building. You can see it from my building. When we got up there my daughter was in the backseat of a SP car. I told them she was my daughter, and they said they would meet me at my building. My husbands First Sergeant was also at the CDC, he came with us. When we got into my apartment I informed them that my husband was on an errand and would be home shortly. The SP asked if I knew the regulations about children being outside alone. I told him I did not. He informed me that children must be 5 to be out alone. Out of all the training I had with the CDC, and the classes I had taken for in-home day-care, I was never informed of this. My neighbours have said they were also not informed of this either. When my husband came home he was informed about the situation and had to go with the SP's to the station to give a statement. He was charged with Child Neglect. We had an appointment the next day at Family Advocacy, where we were interviewed separately and my daughter was also talked to alone. The person we talked to said we obviously had not been neglecting our child. His findings will be given to a board that will vote on the fact of Child Neglect.

We both admit that we were wrong letting her go out alone because of her age. She is 4. And she did leave the area. But we did not know about the regulation on the age. Others around here let their children go out alone and they are not five. No one we have talked to knew about this regulation. The person at family Advocacy even said it was a fluke and we were informed now. We will not be letting her out alone even when she does turn 5. But the board could still vote for Child Neglect and that will be on my Husbands record for the rest of his life. Who could such a bad decision on my part be the worst in my life and one that could haunt us for the rest of our lives. I won't even be able to do my in-home day care. And in the future I will never be able to work with children again because of this. My children are not neglected. I quit working at the day-care to be home with my son who is ADHD and having problems in school with the school work. I love my children and would do anything for them. I would never hurt them.

Do you have any advice for how we can handle this? And let other parents know so this don't happen to them?


You should be thankful that you got your child back. You could have lost her for good.

If you want to let other parents know, I would be happy to post your story on my web site. Then, thousands of other people would read it and possibly correspond with you about their experiences.

Sam Sloan

Yes, please post it. I know it was my fault, I know I was wrong, and I am thankful she is with me and safe. I just looked outside right before I got back on line and there were three children younger than my daughter that were outside with no adults around. They were on riding toys and riding on the side walk next to the parking lot. I wish the SP`s were here to see. I let them know about the other children being out there, but nothing is being done about that. It seems that the only time the regulation is being enforced is when something happens like with my daughter, which is a little late.

To contact the author, please send e-mail to the following address: collins@topsurf.com

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