Let Them Grow:
How Michigan Can Encourage Free-Range Kids
Issues & Ideas Forum
Children are losing their sense of independence. Fewer kids walk to school or play outside. Teens are less likely to work and build skills.
Yet when families allow their children to be more independent, they are blocked by government policy. The news is filled with stories of parents facing punishments for letting their kids do once-common activities like babysit alone or ride their bikes into town.
Can something be done about it?
Lenore Skenazy, dubbed “America’s Worst Mom” and author of “Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry,” will talk about the “Let Grow’’ childhood independence movement. Let Grow is helping re-establish a balance between protecting our kids from true harms and encouraging them to play independently, grow up with confidence, and gain skills for adulthood. It has sparked legislative change in eight states – and Michigan could be next.
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.
Program: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
The Louie Building
Freedom Hall (6th Floor)
123 W. Allegan St.
Lansing, MI 48933
Two days after Lenore Skenazy wrote the column “Why I Let My 9-Year-Old Ride the Subway Alone” she found herself on The Today Show, MSNBC, FoxNews and NPR, defending herself and getting the nickname “America’s Worst Mom.” She went on to write Free-Range Kids, the book that became a movement. Lenore has lectured everywhere from Dreamworks to Microsoft to Harvard Medical School and the Yale Child Study Center. Now she is president of the nonprofit Let Grow, which she co-founded with New York businessman Dan Shuchman, Boston College Prof. Peter Gray (an expert on play) and NYU Prof. Jonathan Haidt (author of “The Coddling of the American Mind”). Let Grow promotes childhood independence and resilience. Lenore lives in New York City with her husband and beloved computer. Her kids are gainfully employed. (Phew!)
Called “the conscience of the child welfare system” by the former Illinois Department of Children and Family Services director Jess McDonald (who was the named defendant in several class action lawsuits she filed), Diane L. Redleaf is a passionate advocate for child protection system policies and practices that protect the rights of all families, especially families in underprivileged communities. Diane graduated from Stanford Law School where she was an Articles Editor of the Stanford Law Review, and she has been a lecturer in law at the University of Chicago Law School and Loyola Law School. Her book, “They Took the Kids Last Night: How the Child Protection System Puts Families at Risk” (ABC-Clio, 2018) recounts stories of families she has represented in her decades-long career as a family defender. Diane became Let Grow’s Legal Consultant in December 2018 and has spearheaded its legislative platform, its legislative toolkit, and its 50-state survey, among other policy-focused projects.