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-   -   Living off the grid and Child Protective Services (PLEASE HELP!!) (

coalgrovecrunchy 04-11-2012 02:13 PM

Hello all! I am basically wondering what kind of regulations are out there for people living off the grid. Has anyone out there been inspected by CPS? I am currently moving into a trailer that is in great shape, but is going to be set up off the grid. This will include solar power, pumped water into the house for dishes, etc., wood stove, and composting toilet. I am in the middle of a custody battle over my 6-yr. old and just wondering what, if any, regulations are set up for people living off the grid? We are living in KY, and I may have to be inspected by CPS due to allegations made by my mother that I was homeless with the children. They granted her temporary custody of my 6yrold, of course, she never tried to get the baby.

At the time we were traveling, camping out mostly and staying in our van and tent.

Thankfully, I have someone willing to  let my live in their trailer on 100 acre beautiful property in KY, but I have no way of putting a septic system or connecting to the power grid (which I don't want to anyway). But my plan is to install solar and a composting toilet. Is this going to be a problem if CPS were to become involved? Please, any help or advice would be appreciated, I am very worried and miss my boy, I've never been away from him before.

diana_of_the_dunes 04-15-2012 02:07 PM

First off, just wanted to say that I'm sorry you are separated from your DS.  That must be very difficult.  I hope everything resolves soon and you are able to be reunited.


I'm not sure what the CPS regulations are; I would call outright and ask.  I don't believe they would require you to be on-grid, so long as sanitation needs are able to be met, and you have a way to provide heat and light when necessary.  I live in an area with a lot of Amish families, and (obviously) CPS aren't taking their children away from them.  But I have heard of families who are living in homes which are *designed* to be on-grid but do not have utilities turned on being investigated.  I can understand how CPS could become involved if you are living a "transient lifestyle", though I personally believe that if the children are happy, healthy, and clean, your lifestyle choices are nobody else's business.


Good luck!

erthe_mama 04-15-2012 05:02 PM

Good suggestion, but I'd definitely make sure the call was anonymous. Never voluntarily contact CPS and give them your name unless they've requested contact. Seriously. It's just asking for trouble.

zech13_9_goforgold 04-16-2012 07:04 PM

I don't know about KY but in ID, you don't even need to have indoor plumbing or a flush toilet to be a foster parent ;)


Maybe you could get the info by contacting a foster licensing agency or calling CPS in a different county.



babyfarm 04-16-2012 10:46 PM

We just moved to our semi off-grid mobile last Nov..  Before we moved we thought we might be totally off-grid.  I worried about the same things you are talking about.  I called CPS, the health dept., a child abuse hotline, looking for the answer to the question ; what do I legally have to provide for my kids?  NO ONE could, or would, answer me.  The best I finally got was that they take each case on a case by case basis, and that they don't want to "take kids from parents" (doesn't always seem like that though).  I finally had to take a deep breath and just hope for the best.  We've been here for five months now and have had no problems.  We have power, a composting toilet, and we just got our well set-up with a spigot, before that the kids and I were hauling water from town in 1,3, & 5 gallon containers.  A few people know we don't have water and about the composting toilet, but for the most part we just keep our mouth shut about how we live....not that there is anything wrong with it, but we just want to avoid what I call the "do-gooders" who might be worried about our kids.....did I mention that we have ten kids and are living in a 600 sq ft about high profile in a little town, I was SO worried about someone finding out and reporting us, but like I said, so far we've had no problems.  I would just make sure that you are set up to be as safe and healthy as you can IF you should get a visit.  Hand sanitizer (I hate the stuff, but I keep it in the bathroom anyway), plenty of clean water, safe oil lamps, if you don't have power for a fridge I would keep a box of powdered milk......just keep the stuff that kids would need to be healthy and safe.  I feel for you, I know how scary it is.  My mil never reported us, but she made some noise about concerns she had for the kids, so I was worried about it.  Hang in there, and good luck!

sarah_bella1050 05-04-2013 03:10 PM

CPS will be looking for access to clean water, fresh food and sanity bathroom facilities. Composting toilets may not be their favorite but if they are clean it should be OK. I think clean and organized goes a long way with them really.

Adaline'sMama 05-04-2013 07:11 PM

I'm not sure what county you are in, but I live in KY and I know someone who fosters kids with a composting toilet and well water that is pumped in for drinking. They have a brita filter, but that's it. 

DHinJersey 05-04-2013 07:26 PM

Ten kids in 600 sft? Bless you!

suzyfsunshine 06-01-2013 02:52 PM

im a bit late to the discussion but i think that it was said best above that clean and organized is the way to be... its hard not to be fearful when you live differently than other people. i wish you the best of luck.. we are the new pioneer women struggling and overcoming our daily difficulties. thats corny but its what keeps me going and not throwing up my hands looking at my mr and saying thats it! i want a shower that i dont have to plan! i want heat that doesnt require so much cleaning up after!.. the cleaned and organized takes more work without a vacuum and a giant water heater of hot water..but its better than a trip to the gym!... if they only knew how much harder the work was raising a family off the grid! Rainbow.gif make sure you educate yourself about your local laws. you can call their office and get a copy of their guidelines. pick it up though dont have them mail it.. no need for them to have any record of your address in the first place...

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