A Michigan family recently had their children taken away for the crime of… camping. Christopher and Antonia Hernandez and their six children had decided to camp on a 10-acre property they were purchasing, in order to get a feel for the land and figure out if the wanted to go off-grid when they built their new home on the property.
But nine days into their stay, CPS officials came and removed the children. While many states have laws against living in tents long term, nine days can hardly be considered long term. Many people take camping trips longer than that.
A CPS representative also was on the property, and had concerns about the living conditions. CPS made four allegations, according to the official court document:
- The family was not in a “stable living environment.”
- The family had no electricity or water source, and was using kerosene as a means of heat.
- The children were playing in the woods, cared for by a 15 year old.
- The youngest child had a diaper rash.
- The 17-year-old girl, who has Cerebral Palsy, was cold.
Fortunately, due to the mother and children being eligible for enrollment in the Tlingit Native American Tribe and the Indian Child Welfare Act, which makes it more difficult for state officials to separate Native American families, the children were returned to their parents. And though the case is now closed, it sets a worrying precedent . Parents should not have to worry that the state will take their children because they went camping.