Third CPS Strike Against Free-Range Family Is Just As Big A Waste Of Time As The First 2

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boy-walking-home-aloneA few months ago we posted about a pair of Maryland free-range parents who got in trouble with the law twice for letting their kids play alone at the park, and now they’re in uncomfortably hot water again. According to The Washington Post, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv had another run-in with police, this time resulting in their kids being held by the county Child Protective Services office for five-and-a-half hours.

The parents’ first run-in with authorities happened in November, when they were contacted by the Montgomery County Child Welfare Service after allowing their two kids, ages six and ten, to walk alone to a park two blocks from their home. Apparently a neighbor called and reported them. It happened again in December, leading child services to launch a full investigation. The Washington Post reports they were found responsible for ‘unsubstantiated neglect’ at that time.

After a two-month investigation, CPS found the Meitivs responsible for “unsubstantiated neglect,” when insufficient or contradictory information keeps investigators from either making a report that neglect is “indicated” or finding it is “ruled out.”

The Meitivs are in the process of appealing the ruling, but were continuing with business as usual until this most recent incident. On Sunday, they dropped their kids off at the same park and expected them home by 6:00 p.m. Police picked them up after a call from a ‘concerned citizen’ but did not notify the parents until after 8:00 p.m. The family was finally reunited at 10:30 that night, after the parents signed papers agreeing not to leave the kids unattended. Danielle Meitiv said after this most recent incident, she’s not going to allow her kids to play alone at the park anymore.

“The only people who have threatened or abducted my children were the people in CPS and the police, so I do not believe random people are a threat,” she told NBC’s “But I signed the safety plan and I’m not going to violate it. I’m certainly not going to risk them taking my kids again. We’re going to have to fight this in a different way.”

I agree with Meitiv’s decision to forego park excursions for the time being, since it comes down to what’s in the best interest of the children. Provoking authorities and having the kids continually scared by police and child services is definitely not the way to go. That said, it’s ridiculous that Meitiv even had to make that choice. These kids are old enough to walk to a local park together and play for an hour without neighbors getting their panties in a wad over it.

Continuing to go after the Meitivs is such an enormous waste of resources. Surely there are actual cases of abuse and neglect these agencies could be worried about instead of plucking children from the playground for basically no reason. The Meitivs are not hurting their children and they shouldn’t be made to feel like criminals for encouraging a little bit of independence.

(Photo: Shutterstock)