Danielle and Alexander Meitiv—the Maryland parents who let their kids, 6 and 10, walk home from the park and were threatened by both the cops and CPS—had their follow-up meeting with the authorities yesterday.
It left them hanging. According to The Washington Post:
The Meitivs described the tone of the 15-minute exchange as cordial and said they remained hopeful that the case — which has sparked intense debate about parenting, child safety and government intrusion — would soon be closed.
But they said that CPS officials emphasized that they use the state's laws governing unattended children in buildings and vehicles as a guide in neglect cases such as theirs, involving a walk outdoors.
Here is that law:
(a) A person who is charged with the care of a child under the age of 8 years may not allow the child to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle while the person charged is absent and the dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle is out of the sight of the person charged unless the person charged provides a reliable person at least 13 years old to remain with the child to protect the child.
How can a law that prohibits locking or confining a child in an enclosed place possibly be applied to children walking outside in their own neighborhood? No, really—how? It's like saying that since shoplifting is against the law, you can be arrested for not shoplifting, too.
The great thing about this case is how it has motivated people to express outrage against government intrusion into loving, rational parenting. Stay tuned—or make suggestions—as we together try to figure out how to turn this outrage into something productive for the free-range movement.