‘Free Range’ Parents Found Responsible for Child Neglect After Allowing Kids to Walk Home Alone
Mar 3, 2015, 5:05 PM ET – By CANDACE SMITH and LAUREN EFFRON
I am sure many of you have seen the story which has gained national attention. It was written by Candace Smith and Lauren Effron.
A Maryland couple who was being investigated for allowing their two children to walk home alone from a neighborhood park have been “found responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect” by the state’s Child Protective Services.
Maryland Child Protective Services began investigating Danielle and Alexander Meitiv of Silver Spring, Maryland, for practicing so-called “free-range parenting,” a philosophy that encourages children to have some independence.
In the Meitivs’ case, this means they allow their two children, Rafi and Dvora, ages 10 and 6, to play outside and walk home by themselves.
The couple told “Nightline” in an email today that they found out the results of the CPS investigation last week. ABC News reports Rafi and Dvora Meitiv were walking home from a park recently in Silver Spring, Maryland, when they were picked up by police for being unsupervised.
“We are shocked and outraged that we have been deemed negligent for granting our children the simple freedom to play outdoors. We fully intend to appeal,” Danielle Meitiv said via email. “We also have no intention of changing our parenting approach.”
The Meitivs told “Nightline” in an interview that aired in January that they trust their children and want to give them the freedom to make mistakes, away from the parental safety net.
“I’m just parenting the way I was parented and the way that almost every adult I know was parented,” Danielle told “Nightline” at the time.
But that all changed after the Montgomery County Police stopped the kids in December as they were walking home from a park without an adult and gave them a stern warning.
Maryland Child Protective Services then accused the Meitivs of neglect, saying unless they committed to a safety plan, the kids would have to go into foster homes. In Silver Spring, leaving anyone under age 18 unsupervised constitutes neglect.
Can all of you imagine anything as outrageous as this? Why is it people who may not be able to take care of their own children often want to give directions to others on how to care for theirs?
If this is the case and is to be used for future decisions, don’t you think we should have court laws determining in which part of the country these laws should apply? Shouldn’t we also determine for which size city these laws should apply? After all, isn’t a city of 1000 people in North Dakota probably safer than a park on the South side of Chicago or New York City?
How much time should these parents serve in prison for such atrocities? Don’t you think we should also add additional penalties if their children are overweight?
Maybe we should also look at what temperatures it is safe to walk home in and how thick their jackets should be.
The U.S. is the most imprisoned, incarcerated and captive country in the world. How many more laws do we need? Unless we all start to protect our rights including those of the parents above, get ready for your grandchildren to live in a police state.
On the other hand, perhaps if they are cops or wardens, you will be happy they have a job.