A self-described “free-range” mom who allowed her 4-year-old son to play alone on a playground 120 feet from their front door within their gated apartment complex is fighting back after she was arrested for felony child endangerment and neglect.
“We have a CPS [Child Protective Service] case now and every time he’s not in my visual site we’re in violation,” mom Sonya Hendren told KTXL.
A neighbor spotted Hendren’s son, Tomahawk, playing in a playground in the family’s gated Sacramento, California, apartment complex and reported her to Child Protective Services.
“I thought she would just get a warning and she wouldn’t let [him] be out alone again,” neighbor Sonja Horrell told KTXL, adding that she didn’t mean any harm.
Tomahawk was taken away following the incident. She has since regained custody of her son, but their situation continues to be monitored by CPS.
Her charges have since been reduced to misdemeanors and Hendren continues to fight to get them dropped. The 37-year-old feels she’s being targeted for her “free-range” parenting style.
“I breastfed for 28 months,” she explained. “I cloth diapered, and, you know, obviously avoided helicopter parenting. I’m doing everything.”
A self-proclaimed “outdoor guy,” Tomahawk loves exploring, and of course, his mom. “I love her like twenty times,” he told the news station. “Maybe a thousand.”
Hendren has been fighting to get the charges dropped for several months, and recently rejected a plea deal of 30 days in jail. Her attorney says if the prosecution is to proceed they must prove his client willfully put her son in danger.
“If this happened 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be here,” he said. “There wouldn’t be a criminal case filed.”