Wilmette, IL – Police responded to investigate after a neighbor called the cops on a mother who allowed her eight-year-old daughter to walk their dog unsupervised.
Corey Widen, 48, became the subject of an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (CFS) investigation after her daughter, Dorothy Widen, was seen walking the family’s Maltese, Marshmallow, around the block on Aug. 2, Good Morning America reported.
An anonymous caller contacted police, and said that the child was alone and appeared to be under five years old, Widen said.
Soon, officers were at her front door.
“I said, ‘Did I do something wrong?’” Widen recounted to Good Morning America.
The officer explained that they had received a call that Dorothy was less than five years old, but quickly learned that information was false.
Widen said she was shocked, fearful, and angry when she discovered someone had called the police regarding the situation.
“We live in a beautiful neighborhood,” she told Good Morning America. “We’re very fortunate… It’s safe, it’s clean… We stretch and we sacrifice to be there, but that’s why. Because it’s safe.”
Widen said that she gave Dorothy the opportunity to walk Marshmallow on her own in order to help give her “more independence,” and that the appropriateness of giving children freedoms varies depending on the parents, the child, and the area.
Following a CFS investigation, the neglect allegations were determined to be “unfounded,” Widen said.
Although she was cleared of any wrongdoing, Widen described the investigation as “invasive” and “traumatizing” for her family.
“The initial call was for an unattended five-year-old, and once they knew didn’t even have a five-year-old, it should have stopped there,” she said.
She added that such “nuisance” calls overwhelm an already overworked CFS system, and prevent children who really need help from receiving it.
“We did what the people of Illinois ask us to do,” CFS said in a statement to Good Morning America. “We investigated, we found no wrongdoing on the part of this mother, and we closed the case last week.”