A lesson in responsibility turned into a frightening ordeal for a suburban mother and her daughter recently after police were called on the little girl while she walked her dog.
According to Wilmette resident Corey Widen, she allowed her eight-year-old daughter Dorothy to walk the family’s dog Marshmallow near their home.
Widen says that a neighbor then called police, saying that the girl was walking around the neighborhood unaccompanied by an adult.
“She was gone for five minutes,” Widen said. “I was in the backyard and I could see her through the yard.”
After police investigated and found nothing wrong, according to Widen, DCFS contacted her two days later as part of an investigation into the matter.
“Apparently this (neighbor) was not happy with (police) and they called DCFS and told them my daughter was under five and had been unsupervised for over an hour and a half,” she said.
Widen then posted about her ordeal on Facebook, and says she received lots of calls from others that have gone through similar situations with DCFS.
“These are upper-middle class, stay-at-home moms who have been investigated because someone didn’t have anything better to do with their time and called police on them,” she said.
In a response to NBC 5, the agency says that the investigation concluded that the allegations of mistreatment were “unfounded.”
“The hotline narrative said the caller reported that the child was five years old or less,” the agency said in a statement. “We went out and investigated, and the investigation has already been unfounded. We don’t control the calls that come into our hotline. Something made someone think that there was a concern, and we don’t know without checking it out.”
The agency says that the caller told them that the little girl was playing in a parking lot and was unaccompanied, and now Widen says she is working with a non-profit to propose reforms to the child welfare system, and to help others better navigate the system.