Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Is It Ethical To Raise A Child In A Tiny House?

So one of the most frequent questions I get about Tiny Houses is: “what if I have a family?”  It is a good question.  To paraphrase Jay Schaffer, “it’s not the size of the house that matters, it is the size in relation to the number of people living in it.”

But this question always bring to mind a question for me

Is it ethical to raise children in such small spaces?

Now I would love to hear you all weigh in on this in the comments section, so please, share your thoughts, I love discussion!  But here is my take on it all, it might not be right, so take it with a grain of salt.  It is also important to know, as a matter of full disclosure, I don’t have kids, nor do I plan on having any.


Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs

I personally think that the raising of a child is successful when the child is loved, is socialized properly, is taught life skills and intellectual ones.   This combined with consistency, safety, room to be a kid and financial resources are also very important.  I feel that as a young child, living in a 400-500 square foot home would be excellent so long as there is a safe place to play outside.

As a child my mother almost never let us watch TV, we didn’t have video games or a computer and if it wasn’t raining outside, out we went.  Luckily we lived on a decent lot in a small town in New Hampshire.  My mother would always dress me in a bright red jacket, which happened to be my favorite color (here I was thinking she encouraged it because I loved red), and I would make forts, climb trees, jump on the trampoline.  In the winter it was snowmen, snow caves and munching on icicles.  I couldn’t imagine having anything less for a child of my own.

The reason I tell this story is that one of the big appeals to Tiny Living is that it gets you outside and reconnecting with nature.  The outside world becomes your second home.  This rare in our society and it is to our downfall, in my opinion.

There are two instances where I think that a Tiny House might not be all that ethical or good for the child.  These two, privacy/boundaries and evaluation of social services, really concern me.  As a child gets older she/he needs their own space, they need their own privacy, a dedicated space solely to them is important in my mind.  It also builds in responsibility for keeping up one’s own space, cleaning, folding, how to make a bed, personalization, and a place for solitude when needed.

The final issue that I think that is a huge issue and this has yet to be tested in the real world is how a representative of social services / child protective services would view a child living in such a small space.  It is often the case that Tiny Houses are not legal, that they in fact by definition (however  deeply flawed) is not a habitable space and would be condemned.

I fear that a child would be removed from the home and the custody of the parents.  That the Tiny House would be boarded up, the parents might be charged with neglect.  It is simply a parents worst nightmare, to have their children taken from them because they are labeled bad parents.

What do you think?

What would social services think?

Is it ethical to raise a child in a Tiny House?

43 Comments
  1. Jay Shaffer says that each person needs a private place of his own. He also recommends that each person have at least 100 square feet of “bulk storage” for books and other items that don’t fit in a tiny house.

    For families, it seems that a small house would be a better choice than a tiny one. Each person could have his privacy in a small bedroom. And, there would be space to keep your things inside rather than needing to build another shed or pay for a storage locker on the other side of town.

    Some of Jay’s “larger” homes look like they would be quite nice for a family.

  2. I can’t say whether, in the big picture, a tiny house would be right for a family with children. What I CAN say is that as a child I recall visiting my aunt, who lived in a trailer at the lake, and I absolutely loved being tucked away in the nook of a bunk bed built into a wall alcove with a curtain to close off the compartment and a tiny window to look outside! In fact, I attribute that experience as being the start of my love for tiny spaces!

  3. In my opinion, it is not only ethical, but better for happiness – if we remember, children have been (and still are being) raised in small trailers, RVs, boats, and one-room cabins for centuries (at LEAST). And it has been my own experience that living in smaller spaces brings family closer together than larger ones – you are forced to interact and learn to work together because you can’t stomp off and blare music and slam a door if you don’t have the space to do so.

    That’s not to say that kids shouldn’t have someplace private. But when you have less privacy IN the house, you make yourself a space OUTSIDE of the house.

    I would agree, however, that a small house is better than a tiny house – you don’t want to be completely on top of each other – but we’ve considered downsizing our 2BR/2BA apartment to something smaller (either in rooms or square footage) but cozy to raise our two daughters (and two daughters makes it easier to share rooms than, say, 1 girl and 1 boy would, I think). But we do like some of Jay’s “larger” homes…

    • Edited: All uppercase to Lower case.

      I belive that loving someone is more important then the size of house. If you have problems with cps, hitch up and move. Home teaching will
      Be better then pubic education. My grand-niece
      Just started collage at 16.

      My folks had a large house to the point of thinking that i was living by my self. At 13

  4. I believe that a small or tiny house would be preferable to family living than a McMansion. My reasons are thus: in a large house everyone has their own room, their own TV, their own computer (probably), their own phone, their own music system, etc. . . There is never any reason to interact, except for meals, and we all know how that goes anymore. Children (People) all need to learn to interact with others, get along with others, be respectful to others, etc. . and I think this would happen much easier and better in a small or tiny house. (End of rant)

  5. Great question and one I feel pretty strongly about. My wife and I are raising four children in 1000 square feet – maybe not a tiny house, but certainly smaller and anyway, the size of the average home in 1950 and even a bit on the large side 50 years before that.

    I am asked on almost a daily basis when we’ll be moving into something larger and I always politely blame the real estate market and change the subject.

    But the truth is:

    1) 1000 square feet can be thoroughly picked-up, laundered and vacuumed in a morning, instead of consuming your entire weekend.

    2) In a small house, you can’t go days on end without seeing your kids because they’re down in the rec room playing xbox.

    3) The kids are, or should be, outdoors anyway – home is just a place to eat, clean, read and sleep.

    4) You’re going to have to get rid of your crap sooner or later. And if you do it later, you’re less likely to properly re/freecycle it. If you can make “crap-management” a small part of your daily routine, it never gets overwhelming and you’re more likely to value what you have, or find good homes for what you no longer need.

    5) Or the best approach to “crap-management” is of course the finely-tuned crap-detector your small home will inspire in you. Everyone does this: they fill whatever space they have with crap. If you can’t spare the space in the first place, you’re forced to approach your acquisitions much more thoughtfully. This is a tremendously important life-skill I want my kids to learn.

    6) In a smaller home, your kids have more opportunities to experience the family’s ecological footprint. In larger homes, the destination of the central vacuum or the distant rumbling of HVAC are all just abstract mysteries and lend to the illusion that earth’s resources are infinite.

    7) Close quarters provide more stimulation, which makes it easier to resist the lure of television, for which there hopefully isn’t any space anyway.

    8) A smaller home reinforces the lesson that over-consumption is a more urgent problem than over-population.

    9) A smaller home in America is actually pretty average or even large by the standards of most of the rest of the world.

    10) In a smaller home, children get to witness the parents navigate all the above – they get to see for themselves how critical moderation is to sustainable living.

    • I agree, I also live in a small house with my family of four and I would like less room. Kids have learned how to unclutter with they don’t have room for stuff. stuff is just that. I do not think a tiny house is appropriate for family with kids – but a small house is good therapy for all.

    • Very well thought out arguments. And regarding Social Services…shame on Americans for letting the government tell us how big our houses should be and how we should raise our kids. I’m sure they would have a fit, so if I had children I would build my small (not tiny) house far away from a big snoopy city.

    • I completely agree on these 10 points that you made! My husband and I have 5 children, ages 6 and under, and we are currently living in a 1040 sq ft home. Our oldest 3 children are boys, and our youngest 2 are girls. I LOVE the small space, and although it does get too loud and crazy at times, we are all very comfortable and happy in this amount of space. We live in northern Wisconsin in the country on a couple acres. The kids play outside most of the year, with the exception of a few of the coldest months when temperatures reach -40 and lower. During those few winter months I begin to wonder if a larger house would keep all of us sane… ;) But ultimately the ease of keeping the house clean, being close and interacting easily with one another, and teaching the kids how to live well regardless of what other’s think, is what keeps us here.

    • I was under the impression that a “Tiny Home” is 1000 square feet or less, so you would technically live in a tiny home. I mean, we’re talking tiny homes not micro homes. We are raising two kids in 776 square feet. Both of our children are under two. We don’t have a tub, but a wet bath (which can be tough, but we make it work) and honestly, every person that meets my kids tell me that they are the happiest and brightest kids they have ever met. We’ve had so much more money to spend on cool experiences than we would if we lived in a “normal” house.

    • We have 4 kids in 880 square feet. About all I’d like more of is a master bed and bath. In fact, we’re considering spending a year in a 5th wheel travel trailer!

  6. Family with 3 kids in a Fencl variation: http://www.smallhousestyle.com/

    • that was so neat but i would want to use something like the bodega for a family but it proves that it can work

  7. I grew up in an apartment and have a relatively small home with two daughters (one off at college). Young children like to be in the same room as a parent even if they are involved in different activities. Teens tend not to retreat as much in a small home and they find privacy even in shared rooms and certainly in the virtual space of their computers. Without multiple TVs, watching is a shared experience. We read together, watch favorite shows, talk about what’s in catalogues (I know the paper is a total waste), even cook and bake together. Not sure we would share as much if we had a larger space and my daughters are much more environmentally and space aware than if they had grown up in a gas guzzler house.

  8. My in-laws raised 12 children in about 1000 sf. Bunk beds were stacked to the ceiling! I think it’s a shame the we as a society, have to worry whether or not Social Services would intervene over the size of the living quarters. To my mind, small mindful living isn’t bad parenting, just the opposite. Teaching children to be good stewards of all resources is something we should all aspire to.

  9. I think sharing space with siblings helps make you a better person in life. It helps avoid that “this is MINE” mindset that lots of people have these days.

    But I don’t think a 12-17 year old kid deserves to live in a 120 square foot house… So I say at least 500 square feet depending on how many.

  10. If the child has mom and dad and they love each other. And give that love, who needs a big house. When you have big LOVE.

  11. I have to say that as a mother, I find rearing children in a small space to not only be good but necessary. I feel that the excess space and things given to most children reinforces the mindset of materialism and entitlement that is prevalent throughout western culture, especially in the U.S.

    That being said, I don’t think a tiny house would be the route to go. I think a small house would be perfect. Sharing a bathroom should not be an issue, and the bedrooms should be small, but everyone needs a bit of privacy.

    Not only does living in a small space get children outdoors, but it also teaches them to be less attached to things and more attached to people and the world around them.

  12. I know a lot of people worry about social services, but as long as a home is sanitary, the child has food and a place to sleep, and is not being abused physically or verbally then they cannot really do anything. If you are polite and talk to the worker nicely then dealing with them is not bad at all. Many of them just want to see a child happy and well cared for because they see so many cases where a child is terribly neglected. Usually the problem is people who think they know what is better and will call CPS at the drop of a hat and unfortunately it is hard to get away from those kind of people.
    Some things that you can think about to tell someone when they make comments about children living in tiny spaces are:
    Religious reasons – for example “I believe that God wants us to take care of the earth and to do so my family has reduced their carbon footprint”
    Mental well being of children – for example “by living in a small house I am able to spend more time with my children and we get to go to lots of museums and go on hikes while other parents are working all day, so my children feel I am there for them.”
    If someone is really concerned about this kind of thing happening to them then I would suggest sitting down with your family and writing a family constitution to establish why you live the way you do and what you want out of life because of the way you live. Of course there is always room for amendments as you grow and learn, but to have something solid in writing is good if you need to defend your personal belief in living.

  13. My mother was an only child. She was born in a tent and raised in a one room log cabin on an isolated Montana ranch until she was 12 years old. She lived to be 97 and her fondest memories, about which she wrote many stories, were of the years in that cabin.

    I was one of four children raised in a small home in a tiny village. The house has 3 small bedrooms – one for my parents, one for my brother (lucky duck, only boy) and one for us three girls. We had a small living room, small kitchen, and an acre of land to run around in (and garden, yuck) plus the entire area of pastures and fields. I’m still sorry that I couldn’t raise my daughter in a similar setting.

    Single parent with single child might do OK in a tiny house — more people than that, probably a small house would be better. I don’t think that kids raised in big houses fare any better and maybe not as well when they can divorce themselves from their families and live like hermits if they want to. Small houses encourage contact and thereby, communication.

    Go small and tiny houses!

  14. I agree with everyone, but Jason Blum hit it right on the head. Perfect.

  15. When I grew up 11 of us (9 siblings + 2 parents) shared a 900 sq. ft. house. It’s not the size of the house, its what’s in it that counts.

  16. Y’all are talkin’ about one of those eight-foot-wide-on-wheels type tiny places? By choice?

    C’mon, that’s not cool. I mean really.

  17. We have our family of 3 (and dd is a young teen) living in a 2 story 16×24 similar to some of the Tumbleweed? plans I have seen. It was one of the best decisions we have made. No mortgage means I can be home w/ dd, gardens, and animals. Which also means that our house is always full of other teens because they are in a safe, supervised environment while other parents work. We live on a hobby farm so lots to do outside. We do have a 10×16 house that we lived in during the end of construction that now houses an extra teen space or guests as well. One thing I do recommend: We insulated our teens rooms walls all around (including floor) to reduce sound. Very helpful:)

  18. My wife and I live in a two bedroom, one bath house in South Florida that’s all of 1100 squ. feet with our 6 children. Its true what everyone is saying about being close, we have friend with houses that you could get lost in. It like they have separate lives from their children. I think it is a mind set, you either want to be close to your children or you don’t. Living in a small house isn’t bad but having a 5 thousand square foot garage would make things a little easier when it comes to storing all my tools, everyone’s bikes, lawn equipment, strollers, etc. LOL

  19. In his book, The New Good Life, John Robbins points out that he’s never heard anyone complain that their childhood was bad because of living in a small house or that their childhood was good because of living in a large house. That simply isn’t what’s important to children.

  20. Go see the movie “Babies” It puts a lot of things in perspective.

  21. I think it would be great to raise a family in a tiny house. I would think the family would have a sense of closeness people just don’t have now days. It would be better,also because I would think it would make the children more active, which would promote better over-all health.( I would imagine children would be more prone to play out-doors) It would cut down on obesity and also let children develop a sense of imagination they just don’t have anymore. It would also give them respect for nature, recycling, and appreciation for what they do have. So over all I think it is an excellent idea. ( I have 3 kids and once I find the land I want I plan on having a “tiny house”)

  22. >>Is it ethical to raise children in such small spaces?<<
    Asking "is it optimal?" or "is it practical?" or a host of other similar questions related to tiny houses, is fine.
    But to ask "is it ethical?" borders on silliness, and betrays an incredibly Ameri-centrist or rich-country-centrist view of the world.
    Here's why. Follow me on this.
    No. 1, merely posing the question admits of the possibility that the answer could be No.
    No. 2, a substantial portion of the world's population today raises their kids in spaces smaller than any [I'd venture to say] of your houses. Would any of you have the audacity to march into a poor village in the Central Highlands of Peru and accuse a family there of unethical behavior because they're raising their kids in an earthen hut? Would you have the temerity to stroll through the Dharavi Slum in Mumbai and question the ethics of most of the families there?
    Practicality, advisability, and the relative value of square footage vs other considerations in providing for a child, yes, by all means pose those issues, grapple with them.
    But the question "is it ethical?" is highly inappropriate.
    Lee

    • What he said.

      Would one ask if it is ethical for a family to take a camping trip in a tent?

    • Wow, I know this thread is dead, but I feel compelled to respond to this. First: of course “merely posing [a yes-no] question admits of the possibility that the answer could be No.” That is how questions work. It’s almost never inappropriate to ask questions about ethics. (Maybe, in your fantasies about the Central Highlands of Peru and the Dharavi slum, people do not ask questions; they just blindly accept their fate, or intuit the correct course of action, because they haven’t been corrupted by money or Western capitalism or feminism or whatever your bogeymen are. But I’m pretty sure that in the real world, people ask questions, they think freely, and they make decisions based on reason. Even poor people.) Second: is it “highly inappropriate” to ask whether it’s ethical for large corporations to take over farmland, flood villages, and displace millions of people into slums and refugee camps? To my mind, we don’t find it just to question the ethics of families who live in slums or other low-cost, high-density housing because they can’t easily move. It’s equally unjust to blame them for their living situations, but that wasn’t the question here: the question was about the ethics of the person who freely decides to put a family in a tiny space — whether it’s ethical to raise children in a very small space not due to economic necessity but due, to put it bluntly, to ideology. (Yes, environmentalism is ideology. It’s my ideology too, but let’s call it by its name.) This is absolutely a fair question to ask (even, please note, if the answer is “yes”!), especially because it’s not a matter of a slum or poor village with dozens of families in the same circumstances: it’s a matter of downscaling the very conventional American ideal of the well-built, well-locked single-family house on a sizeable plot of land. You still have the nuclear family as a unit, with very strong bonds between parents and children and much weaker bonds between parents and neighbors, or children and neighbor children/classmates (inherently suspect, with their mountains of toys and despicable video game systems). Is the fantasy of living like Noble Poor People from the developing world justification enough for radically restricting your children’s living space to the size of (as comment below suggests) a camping tent? And if the kid wants to know why s/he can’t have his/her own room like the neighbor kids, will you reply that it’s a “highly inappropriate” question, since a kid in a slum would never ask? I’m guessing your answer to that is no, you’d try to reason with your children. That’s what’s going on here as well. Try treating your neighbors and fellow citizens a bit more like you treat your children and the poor nonwesterners you idealize, that’s my advice.

  23. Echoing Sara L.’s Post above

    Social workers doing home visits see kids crammed into small apartments all day long. They are not going to make an issue of limited space. There are too many real problems out there that need attention.

    But if they see abuse or neglect, they will use every rule and ordinance available, including insufficient space, to get leverage on behalf of those children.

    That is their job.

  24. So glad to hear the experiences of other families in small homes. We three live in basically one room (no actual walls or privacy) that is about 450 square feet. It is wonderful most of the time, and I am glad our daughter has spent the first 5 years of her life living this way. We all crave privacy at times (father and I are more introverted than her!). I have wished at times she had her own tiny little room for her sake and ours, but it isn’t a bit deal. We are building a bigger house now, and it makes me a bit sad to leave our cozy little home. She had her first real play date (with someone other than family friend) recently and we wish we could have heard what the little girl reported to her parents!

  25. I am the oldest of 8 children, I am now 43 years old. I give this info to tell you that this is relatively recent :-). As one of 8, we often shared rooms, sometimes 6 children to a room (6 girls, 2 boys). We often had small homes, but never lacked for anything. We all had braces on our teeth, and all the food we could eat. Mom and dad took good care of us, and we enjoyed our small spaces. I do not recall ever wanting anything different! Years later, I have one child, and we have decided to raise him in a small space of 320 sq ft. We are VERY happy, every day we comment on how fortunate we are. We drive by big houses (I am careful not to say anything negative about large houses, as many of my family now have them) and he says “I bet they work a lot, and never get to spend time with their kids”. These are HIS comments! He knows there is a trade off, and is happy with what he has. We were the same growing up, my mother did not work outside the home, we spent long days with her.

    Sorry to ramble :-) Here is my home, go take a look: http://minkeebabygifts.blogspot.com/2010/08/our-tiny-home.html

    PS I have had many beautiful, LARGE homes, that our son has enjoyed as well

  26. I live in Alaska & we spent a lot of time outside when my son was younger.

    Now that he is a teenager, our 900 sqft. home seems a little cramped at times, but we still make do. I have an entire extra bedroom just for my studio.

    It is great idea to think that the outdoors can be an extension of your living area, but it is not possible in Alaska all year round. It would be really hard to spend 8 months of cold weather cramped inside a 200 sqft cabin. (remember the term “Cabin Fever”?)

    The key to our success is having an open living/dining/kitchen area. It feels big. Our bedrooms are just for sleeping & storing stuff that we don’t really need. Most of the time my son sleeps on the couch, so we really have 2 extra bedrooms.

    My sister on the other hand has a 4000+ sqft. home in the mountains. We enjoy going there on the weekends & visiting. There is no way we could do that in the winter if she lived in a tiny cabin. Because I have a smaller house, we have all events at her house, so sometimes I feel a little left out. That is the only downside I feel with having a small house & large extended family.

    When my son goes off to college in a few years, my dream is to downsize. People think I am nuts.

    I think it is great!

  27. When I grew up in a 1000sq.ft. home with 5 other siblings and both parents we had to share rooms. At one time we had three in one small room in a triple bunkbed. We enjoyed it. We didn’t have to be scared of the dark because we were there for each other. As far as private space goes, we each had two drawers in a dresser and our bed. That was what was considered “ours”. Everything else was shared. In one way or another we are all, I just realized, downsizing now that we are all past 50 years old. 1000 sq. foot would be the average for each of us as married couples. Grandkids come and visit and yes, someone has to sleep on the living room floor. In my house, it’s usually me since I get up earliest. It works.

  28. My goal is to eventually build and live in my own home, small but not tiny. Probably about 400-500 feet and add on bedrooms whenever kids happen (i’m 22, kids will be another 6-10 years probably). I really don’t see the need for us to have a home larger than 1000 sq feet even with a family of four and maybe a small office space. More space than that seems like for the years of owning the place will just eat up resources (heating costs, maintainance cost, time)and life is to short to slave for a shell of a home. I’d rather have a small efficient home with my own custom cabinetry, attention to detail the newer way of giant kitchens being deemed necessary to anyone who likes to cook, and a den, a living room and a study. It’s wasteful.

    When I was growing up I lived half the time at my fathers duplex, where there was a total of 7-8 people living in 2 bedrooms, 750 sq ft. That’s crowded, I shared a bed with my sisters for a long time and before that I slept in the living room. There was constantly people everywhere. It didn’t bother me though. All I wanted to do when the weather wasn’t raining was explore the wide open world around me, so home was for relaxing indoors with movies at night. It was lots of fun, sometimes annoying but it was never lonely.

    When I was 10 I moved into my moms new condo, just four of us, my mom and two brothers in two bedrooms and 800 square feet and it was utter hell the seven years I lived there. It was a dark, lightless cave, impossible to cool in summer (the few windows they had were perfect to capture afternoon heat in our hot Sacramento summer) and we all couldn’t stand each other. We were not an emotionally close family, and the layout wasn’t great. Having guest over made my mom claustrophobic so of course I never had friends over. My brother and I had no place of our own and were fighting constantly. When I was 17 we moved a larger house and for the first time ever my brother and I didn’t want to kill each other anymore.

    But I think it’s more about the space your living in that the size. While the house we moved into had one more bedroom and 1100 sq ft, it was set up in a better situation for our summers. large windows let in a lot of light, tall ceiling made us use the AC as little as I ever had in our climate at the time. It’d be perfect if it were smaller. We ended up moving because it was too much house but it really proved to me the importance of light and personal space.

    Kids when they are young, and when I was young, I didn’t care about my own space much until I was approaching my teen years. I think as kids get older and earn their independence their own space becomes more important. But this doesn’t mean they need 500 sq ft of privacy, just a small place of their own. But to not provide kids the luxury (really it’s all lux) of their own room or space isn’t anything remotely worthy of wasting CPS’s time over, anyone who thinks otherwise is ridiculous. Love isn’t measure in square feet.

    I want to have rural property, and when my future kids reach teenage years and want more space, they can build themselves a tiny house of their own. Either permanent or on a trailer. But I don’t think I’ll want to empty the nest the way my mom did, just let them build their own nest.

  29. Ethical?
    I have had several friends that years ago,well before the recent economic woes,sold their large homes and sailed in small sailboats from port to port around the world. Home schooling their children. No walls,no real private space,no steady group of friends other than those they met briefly on shore. They did this for several years and then decided to return,buy a big house and live in the social norm. All of them at the kids request have since sold the houses bought another boat and set sail for places unknown.
    No worries.
    Lest we forget Abe Lincoln grew up in cabins of under 300SqFt with 2 siblings and 2 parents and Jimmy Carter was the first President to be born in a hospital. Yikes what Barbarians,social services should have tossed the parents in jail.LOL Lousy kids.

  30. I grew up in Nunavut, Canada.. the natives here are inuit (myself included), we have only recently been modernized, and in the 50’s inuit were still living in igloos (if you don’t know what that is it’s a dome snow house). In igloos there were no bedrooms, families spent all their time together, eating, sleeping, and having fun. They had a close bond, and if I compare that to today’s young inuit it has made a huge impact on our family relations, kids spending all their time in their bedrooms with their ipods and gaming systems rather than with their parents and grandparents. I would say it is a lot harder to pass on traditional knowledge and values to the youth of today. I believe that small or tiny houses are the way to go for families, you will build closer relationships and gain more respect from your children. Just my honest opinion, from an arctic perspective.

  31. I know this is an old post, but maybe my story will help people thinking about tiny living with families.

    Almost a year ago exactly we lived in a fairly run down 256sq ft two behind rv trailer due to financial hardship. There was me, my husband, and our 7 yr old. I was very pregnant as well. We had a vengeful CPS call made on us. The trailer wasn’t as clean as I’d have liked due to the difficulties of Texas summer heat and pregnancy, I’ll admit. However, the cleanliness was the ONLY thing addressed by our social worker. Basically, she asked us to do the dishes from the past two days and have our eldest clean his room. Easy cheesy. I asked her about the size and this was her response: “Children are required to have their own bed and a small bit of space for themselves. The overall size doesn’t matter as long as they have their basic needs met.”

    So for all those worried about CPS taking your child because you choose to live tiny, don’t worry. At least in Texas.

  32. I know I’m commenting on this late, however, for the sake of those reading this in the future, I’d like to get this info out there.

    At the time this was written, I was working in child protective services and, in fact, was an assessment worker, meaning, that I was the first contact the family had the one that made the decision of there was abuse or neglect happening, and the general idea of what the public things of CPS. I can tell you theoretically what I would have looked at and thought as well as how I actually dealt with a similar situation.
    A tiny house itself would not be my concern, it is always about the impact to the child and sometimes about the law. Male and female children by the age puberty first starts can not share a room. So around age 8, they need to be in individual rooms. They cannot be put in the living room or something that is not actually a bed room and the home must be safe-not falling apart or dangerous. So, general common sense here. If the children are happy and healthy and the family is functional, I’d applaud them for living within their means and teaching their children valuable life lessons.
    If older, different gendered children were sharing a room, I’d discuss it with the family. What impact existed to the child, what options were there etc. I would not remove a child for that reason alone and probably would close the case of they refuse to move one and the kids weren’t impacted by the sharing. That would be it.
    If the home was dangerous, I would evaluate why. Probably money reasons, that’s something I would help. You don’t take away children from a good family doing their best because of poverty. No, the are other options. There family living in a dilapidated trailer in which a wall could be moved feet in either direction with your hand and they had fallen through the floor 3 times. I got them help and genuinely cared for that family. I think they liked me, when another person called to resort them again they were happy to see it was me who came back and I praised them for further improvements. The house wasn’t pretty and didn’t have the finer things in life but if was sage and they made a lot of further improvements. Not one did I threaten to remove their kids.
    The family I had first referred to say living in a school bus parked in the woods. They had shelled it out, insulated it, put in a bed and it even had heat, air conditioning, a television, and proper ventilation! They had an outhouse and a fire pit for cooking. I brought a thermometer with me, it was summer and a reasonable 78 degrees inside. They had an infant so they explained they didn’t want them to be too chilly. I dropped by in the winter to recheck and they happily had me in. It was a warm 78 degrees then too… Again, for the baby, and this was in a very cold region. Neither were found to be abusive or neglectful homes and we left the families alone because why would we bother them? They were doing what they had to provide for their families. Many aren’t that motivated and creative. Now I am looking at building my own soon to raise my daughter in. If I thought it was risky, I’d never even consider doing it. Small homes don’t make bad families.

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