Free Range Parents Deemed Guilty Of ‘Unsubstantiated Child Neglect’

Free range parents in Maryland were determined to be guilty of “unsubstantiated” child neglect, according to a recent Child Protective Services (CPS) ruling. Danielle and Alexander Meitiv will remain under the watchful eye of CPS for at least the next five years.

The Maryland free range parents became the focus of a CPS investigation in December, when a police officer saw their two children walking from a public park about one mile from the Meitiv home.

During a Today Show interview with Danielle Meitiv prior to the CPS ruling, she shared her thoughts on the controversial free range parenting style. The Meitiv children include a 10-year-old son, Rafi, and 6-year-old daughter, Dvora. Danielle Meitiv stated that she and her husband routinely allow their children to walk alone in the city “to build confidence.”

During their usual trek to the park on December 20, local police officers reportedly stopped the Meitiv children and asked why they were unsupervised. The police officers escorted the youngsters back home. A Child Protection Services investigation was launched on Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, after their children were returned to the home.

Danielle Meitiv still does not feel she did not do anything wrong and still firmly believes in her free range parenting style, despite the Child Protective Services ruling. Unsubstantiated child neglect is not a criminal charge, but reportedly is a designation which has routinely led to legal charges in the past.

“We don’t feel it was appropriate for an investigation to start, much less conclude that we are responsible for some form of child neglect,” Danielle Meitiv said during an interview with the Washington Post. “What will happen next time?

The Meitiv’s explained to the police officers who showed up on their doorstep with the not lost children, that their son and daughter knew the area very well and often walk the route. Late last month, the CPS issued a letter to the Meitiv family letting them know that the investigation into their parenting decision had been closed.

“We’re just doing what our parents did. It was considered perfectly normal just one generation ago,” Danielle Meitiv added. Although the walk that Dvora and Rafi took on the day they were stopped by police officers was a longer trek than what they typically took, the free range parenting mom said she still was not worried because no issues had surfaced during previous shorter walks.

Typically the Meitiv children wear a lanyard with a card that reads, “I’m not lost. I’m a free range kid,” but left the tags at home the day they were stopped during their walk home from the park.

What do you think about free range parenting and the Meitiv unsubstantiated child neglect ruling?

[Image via: Shutterstock]