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Trolling for children

Okay, now this is odd.

Couple of us were working in the meadow this afternoon when my youngest, loudest, and most car-chasing dog informed us of somebody coming down the road. Sure enough, along came a car, which went just past our driveway and stopped in a “where the heck am I?” sort of way.

Now, we’re in the middle of nowhere, a good 12 miles from town, six of it on dirt and through washes. And once you’ve gone past our driveway, there is simply nowhere to go. Anyhow, there’s nowhere a stranger has any business going, unless he plans to burgle the neighbor’s house. We can go weeks without seeing anybody except one regular weekender driving in or out. Well, it’s Friday afternoon, and sometimes near the weekend we do get some four-wheelers out here, or some people just roaming around sightseeing. We stand on the ridge and give them our best Deliverance stare and they go away.

This vehicle reversed direction and came up our driveway. My friend climbed up to see what they wanted & came back bemused.

“Harmless,” he said.

“But what did they want?”

“They were looking for children.”

“What?” (I don’t think there’s a child within five miles of here.)

“Yeah. Children. They were from the local Head Start program and they wanted to know if there are any children around here.”

Head Start trolls for children now? In the middle of nowhere? What, they expect to find them left under juniper bushes by the stork?

My friend told them the truth; that he didn’t know of any children in the vicinity. Later he regretted that he didn’t instead send them to the cop’s house about a mile from here. And tell them the guy has six children. Whom he’s probably hiding. And he’s a heavily armed, right-wing, anti-government wacko. And oh, by the way, I think he’s molesting them. (My friend isn’t fond of cops.)

Ah well, that’s hindsight. (Anyhow, I’ve met the cop and his wife and they seem like nice folks to me.)

But Head Start? Trolling for children? In the middle of nowhere? What the heck is that about? Ever happen to anybody else?


  1. Ellendra
    Ellendra April 23, 2010 8:15 pm

    Never heard of that happening, but that is . . . %^%$ creepy.

    Did the car at least have “Head Start” across the side? It might be someone was caught scouting the place for other reasons and the Head Start story was the best they could make up on the fly?

    I could rant here about how no child of mine is ever setting foot in one of those government-sponsored indoctrination camps, but given that I currently have no children (and none in the works) it would be rather academic.

  2. Geoff
    Geoff April 24, 2010 3:33 am

    Obviously they are a government program that is funded based on the number of children they “service” They must be short of the number of kids their particular office needs to keep it’s money flowing.

    Like any good business they need to find new customers or loose their cushy salaries, bennies, retirement, health care etc and find a real job.

    Just like the local barneys set up speed traps to increase the cash flow in their department.

  3. Claire
    Claire April 24, 2010 5:42 am


    “Did the car at least have “Head Start” across the side? It might be someone was caught scouting the place for other reasons and the Head Start story was the best they could make up on the fly?”

    Good question. The vehicle wasn’t marked in any way. I saw one of the occupants briefly when he got out of the car to talk with my friend. He was carrying a red clipboard, so my first thought was, “Census taker coming to check on why we haven’t collaborated with the feds yet.” Too early for that, though. He was a very nice-looking, neo-hippie-ish young man, exactly the sort of person you’d expect to find working for the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps or somesuch. And since AmeriCorps does specialize in aggressive efforts to drag people into government programs, that seems the most likely thing. He’s probably a real government (paid) “volunteer” assigned to Head Start.

    Indeed, he could have been here for any purpose — including casing the joint for a freelance burglary (although with all the dogs and armed people hereabouts, that wouldn’t be real bright). We also considered that he might have been casing the joint for an official, governmental burglary. But in that case, he probably would not have identified himself as being a government agency representative. (I recall that when the feds were setting up Randy Weaver, they even created a fake prospective neighbor, right down to giving him a seemingly authentic license for his dog.)

    Dunno. It’s a mystery. I’m thinking he was exactly who he said he was. But as soon as I can, I plan to hit the local Head Start office and ask WTF???

  4. Claire
    Claire April 24, 2010 5:49 am

    Geoff, yep. I think you nailed it. It’s always a surprise, though, to see government so aggressively trolling the uber-boonies. Might expect it in town. But out here? Ugh.

    Heh. If it allegedly costs $56 every time a Census worker has to pay a house call, wonder what it cost to send a Head Start lackey out to drive through washes and canyons seeking illusory children?

  5. DavidOH
    DavidOH April 24, 2010 6:18 am

    Government workers just trying to keep their job.
    Got to have more victims… er… subjects…er… children.

  6. Winston
    Winston April 24, 2010 1:03 pm

    Heh. I personally would have been real friendly and pointed him in the direction of some local familes with children. By that I mean send him off driving way into the middle of nowhere and sagebrush.

    And before you mentioned that he was a “nice, young, neo-hippie looking guy” I was about to ask if he looked kinda like this:

  7. Matt
    Matt April 24, 2010 7:37 pm

    Sounds like the modern version of the child catcher from Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang.

  8. Claire
    Claire April 24, 2010 8:29 pm

    Matt, LOL! Now that evokes some great images.

    We had a building party here today and I told several of the neighbors about the encounter. Much head-shaking ensued. But one woman said she was familiar with something similar from the city where she used to live. She said the Head Start bus drivers who picked up kids who were already in the program were instructed to be on the lookout for other children that might be “recruited.”

    I could kinda understand that in a city — though I still find it creepy and offensive. But everybody here was disgusted and mystified that the fedgov is sending agents out to the dusty, rattlesnake-ridden middle of nowhere in a desperate (and vain) effort to find out who has children. Someone mentioned that the local Head Start office has been in danger of losing its funding if it doesn’t enroll more kids.

    Well … I hope its funding dries up like the desert dust.

  9. Rural Mike
    Rural Mike April 24, 2010 9:46 pm

    Head Start can be a useful program for those “parents” who refuse, or are incapable of any parenting. This will no doubt infuriate and irritate many here, but the tough truth is there are many “parents” who are are very effective at the reproducing part, and utterly useless as parents.
    On the negative side, head start is teaching children to accept institutionalization at a very young and impressionable age.
    I have yet to discover head start being directly linked to 9/11, the banker bailout, or the illuminati.
    Honestly, a healthy dose of skepticism is useful, but dark paranoia will only erode one’s confidence in themselves and their neighbors.

  10. Suzy
    Suzy April 25, 2010 7:12 pm

    It’s all about the money….just like in the “government” (a.k.a public schools) where daily attendance is the basis for their government funds….

  11. Eric Oppen
    Eric Oppen April 25, 2010 10:38 pm

    To add insult to injury, after a few years the kids from Head Start are no better off than their compeers who weren’t in the program.

  12. Carl
    Carl April 26, 2010 11:49 am

    Could simply be “make eight.”

    One summer I worked for the YACC (Young Adult Conservation Corps), a Forest Service progam. About once per week we were given a makework job and told to “make eight (hours)” out of it. Could be they were legitimate headstart workers who were driving around putting in their eight hours knowing full well they wouldn’t have any success.

    By the way, when I left the YACC, the head of our local unit asked me if I was leaving because they worked me too hard!

  13. Bea
    Bea April 26, 2010 9:51 pm

    Yup, they are trolling for children. Children whose parents want to get rid of them as soon as possible, and can’t wait for Kindergarten or 1st grade to dump them off on someone else.

    This IS a Head Start requirement – to being in as many children as they possibly can, ‘offer free or reduced child care’ afterwards, even ‘free’ rides to and from the home to the HS center and the day care – and then they will try to sign up the parents for ‘parenting groups’ to educate them. It is a process to find out how many people can read and write (many who turn their children over to HS can’t) and who can be influenced. Like the Hitler Youth Groups or Stalin’s famous attitude, the younger they get them, the sooner they can indoctrinate them – and if they can rake in the parents, enhance their government handouts and dependence, they will. It is what the whole program is designed to do – to ‘save’ parents, especially single and underage parents, into the gubbermint’s loving arms.

  14. Fliteking
    Fliteking April 27, 2010 4:17 pm

    …and many Americans think the government has our best interest in mind, heck, not dangerous at all….

  15. George Potter
    George Potter April 27, 2010 9:41 pm

    Whew. For a second there I thought you were writing a how-to book teaching children how to troll Internet forums. I would have been angry about that.

    That’s MY idea!


  16. anita bellefeuille
    anita bellefeuille April 29, 2010 4:53 pm

    It could be that some “helpfull” person sent them out your way for the same reason you thought about sending them to the cops house.

  17. Claire
    Claire April 29, 2010 6:09 pm

    That could be, yes. But they genuinely seemed lost and relieved to see any human beings.

    And they didn’t arrive with a S.W.A.T. team. 😉

  18. Debby Rich
    Debby Rich May 4, 2010 3:48 pm

    Hey About the Head Start.First of did you call to see,if it was really
    them? Now I have really different contresting emotions.My daughter
    is in college taking Early Childhood Education And as trouble as I
    am about the “offical government” what ever that they are teaching
    her, she is home every weekend and we do talk about it. She may
    be ment for other reasons. Now to give you what she has given me.
    About 80% of the boys in Early Childhood fail.That means Head
    Start and any other progrem. I am about ready to call the college and ask them why are they still teaching it the way that they do if
    there is such a big failure rate. But on there diffence and i live in Mt.
    And I am assuming this may be all over,But within the hills off our state you have peole who don’t send there kids to school at all and
    they don’t even teach the kids themselves to read. And I am not sure what to do about. Those kids well be on welfare and we will
    have to pay taxes to support them. And that isn’t right for us,etc.
    Also if they come back adain know your state laws.Again in my state
    kids really don’t have to start school until they are 7.Now Iget the
    felling that there are no kids in your area,so I would ASK Them to
    leave and remind them that children don’t have to start school until
    a certain age. O and I did homeschool my child. So I am still tryng to
    keep her thinking out of the box.

  19. Grey76
    Grey76 June 5, 2010 10:37 pm

    I worked for head start (only sort of but close enough).
    First of all Head start is government *funded*.
    Specifically via GRANTS.
    Grants that hinge on enrollment of specific types of children, including rural ones.
    Those people werent exactly looking for children.
    They probably really _did_ work for headstart and were looking for ENROLLMENT for the MONEY so that they could keep their jobs.
    There is infact grant money for a variety of ‘outreach’ programs to pay the wages and fuel for their search.
    The government has not only its own long reaching tenacles but pupets with tenacles and reach of their own.
    And worse of all is the puppets often do the tyrranical works for the government from the best of intentions…
    For example should those visitors have seen something they could have (mis)interpeted as being in violation of the law they WOULD have reported it, and you could have gotten a follow up visit from, say, Child Protective Services, or DEA, or ….?

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