A family of 10 children have been seized by Kentucky child services after they were allegedly found to be living in squalor in a tiny cabin filled with garbage.
Police discovered the makeshift property last week when a neighbor said the father, Joe Naugler, threatened him with a knife and a gun.
But Joe and his pregnant wife Nicole insist authorities were waiting for an excuse to punish them for letting their children live a ‘free range’ and ‘back to basics’ lifestyle.
So-called ‘free range’ children have absolute independence from infancy. The controversial parenting style has become a talking point in recent years as one family in Maryland refuses to change their ways despite numerous run-ins with law enforcement.
Home-schooled and at liberty to go or do what they want on their 26-acre plot in Breckenridge County, all 10 of the Nauglers children self-identify as ‘free range’.
On Wednesday, they were taken into custody and their mother arrested for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into their living standards.
Nicole, who is five months pregnant, spent a night in a cell and posted a photo on Facebook the next day showing a bruise on her arm, claiming she was hurt during her arrest. She faces magistrates on Monday. Joe, who has previously been charged with passing bad checks and driving without a license, was not arrested.
The couple has created a website slamming authorities for simply disagreeing with their approach to parenting.
However, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services report – posted on Facebook by Nicole Naugler – implies the children’s liberty was a mere fraction of the reasons they were seized.
It states: ‘The allegations were that the family was residing in a tent, mother had given birth in a tent, there is no running water or septic, none of the children were enrolled in school and the father threatened a neighbor with a weapon (asked child to hand him the gun).’
According to investigators, the family lives on a plot of land with one large shed and two tents.
The shed, they observed, housed dogs, goats and chickens. The smaller ‘makeshift tents’ appeared to be accommodation for the parents and children that ‘could provide shade but would not provide enough space for the family.’
‘Numerous piles of garbage, broken glass and nails were also scattered about the property,’ the report stated, and there was a pond ‘that had no barrier around it to prevent the children from entering or falling in.’
SOURCE: MIA DE GRAAF