The latest update on the ten Kentucky kids taken away from their parents is bringing new light to the subject of the off-the-grid lifestyle. This is an UPDATE to the original story of the CPS seizure of ten Naugler children from parents, posted on 5/10.
According to reports, the married couple, who is raising ten children “off-the-grid” in rural Breckenridge County, Kentucky, had their children taken by Child Protective Services last week when an anonymous tip was received that the Naugler family children were living in unfit conditions.
This case has become increasingly complicated, with an older son of Joe Naugler making abuse allegations in a Louisville courtroom Monday. Alex Brow is 19, and the oldest son of Joe Naugler, but of a different mother, and not among the ten children taken. He said he had been abused by his father, and removed from the home when he was just four years old. He also appeared at today’s hearing, where his father and Nicole Naugler pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges. Joe Naugler has been charged with threatening a neighbor with a gun, and is scheduled for a pre-trial conference at the end of May. Nicole Naugler is charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Her pre-trial conference will be in July. For now, therefore, the ten children will remain in four separate foster homes in four different counties.
The oldest son’s testimony may prove detrimental to the current situation. He stated that he worried the children will not be taken out of their current situation and they will get placed back in an “unlivable home for any age of children”. He stated that they are pretty much living in a “bunker”. Mrs. Naugler is five months pregnant with the family’s eleventh child.
At first glance, every one of their children look happy and well cared for. However more and more concern is being raised as to the conditions that the family is living in. The Naugler’s Facebook page (“Blessed Little Homestead”) has been said to show questionable living conditions.
Homeschoolers Anonymous has posted a writing by a previous “homesteader/home schooled” child. His name is Gary (not his real name), and he writes to this situation as follows, asking readers to share his thoughts to protect the children:
Gary has stated that he has based all of his information on the family posts and pictures from their Facebook page. He says if you look closely, you will discover that the Naugler family’s entire homestead is covered with filth, animal dung, and mud, and is a breeding ground for disease and harm. He stated that when the family first began their “homesteading experience”, they had a small, prefab cabin bought on credit. Eventually, however the cabin had to be returned. Then came the tents and makeshift walls.
Gary states that the homeschool issue is NOT the issue. He said the pressing issue is of the health and physical safety of these ten children. He quotes passages from the “Blessed Little Homestead” Facebook page where Nicole Naugler says the children must have eaten something “bad” because they were sick. Gary mentioned the unwashed and grime-encrusted cookware and plastic containers lying around the open-air “kitchen”.
He mentions picture after picture of children covered in grime, holding and handling snakes, toads, turtles, etc. [With no running water, sanitation definitely could be a problem.] He mentions the photo of goats, chickens, cats, and seven dogs running loose around and in the shacks that serve as “home” for this family. He also noted “the generator and gasoline cans located right next to the shack” which makes for “the VERY unsafe” conditions.
Gary says that he grew up in a similar environment, except his family was really homesteading. They had an insulated log home, with double-paned windows, beds for the children, and a stone fireplace to keep warm. They had a ventilated outhouse with a real toilet seat and a locking door located a sanitary distance from the house. They had real beds with real mattresses. They were kept very clean by the constant insistence of their mother. The farm animals were kept away from the house by fences. They had no electricity, and gathered water from a well and from rain barrels. “That was homesteading,” he says. “The family of 12 (soon to be 13) living on the “Blessed Little homestead” have none of those things.
One commenter on the Homeschoolers Anonymous website stated, “Children’s health and safety should come before a parents’ right to run off (the grid) and play Daniel Boone in a tree fort in the woods.”. After learning more about the ten Kentucky kids taken away from their parents, maybe the Naugler children are finally getting a decent meal, a bubble bath, a warm, cozy bed… and maybe that’s the way it should be.