A mother faced a visit from police and an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigation after she allowed her 8-year-old daughter to walk the family's dog around the block alone on Aug. 2.
Corey Widen was cleared in that investigation, "Good Morning America" reported Friday, and she is now speaking out about her experience.
The incident happened as Widen's daughter walked the family dog, Marshmallow, around the block. A stranger saw the girl walking the dog alone and called police, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Widen told the publication that she can see most of the block from her home's windows. Walking the Maltese dog is the only time her daughter is unsupervised, she said.
The family lives in a safe area in the Chicago suburbs, she told "Good Morning America."
But a concerned neighbor contacted police, believing the girl was under the age of 5, the show reported.
Like many states, Illinois law is not clear on the subject of child supervision, the Tribune reports. The law says a child less than the age of 14 is neglected if he or she is left “without supervision for an unreasonable period of time without regard for the mental or physical health, safety or welfare of that minor.”
Widen told USA TODAY on Friday that as her story has gained national attention, she's received an outpouring of positive messages. She said through the process she's learned that other mothers have gone through similar situations with little support.
Some states, such as Utah, have passed laws that clearly allow children to do certain activities alone – such as walking to school or playing outside, Quartz reports. In part, those laws are thanks to a "free range" parenting movement that values children's independence.
For critics who say her daughter is too young to be outside unsupervised, Widen responded: "I would say every 8-year-old is different ... every neighborhood is different, every parent is different. So you can't make an overall judgment like that," Widen told "Good Morning America."