Free-Range Kids

Free-Range Maryland Family Cleared of Child Neglect Charge

Victory for the Meitivs

|

Kids
Dreamstime

Hallelujah! Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Dec. 20 incident when they let their kids walk home from the park in Silver Spring, Maryland. The Washington Post reports:

A Maryland couple investigated for neglect after they let their two young children walk home alone from local parks have been cleared in one of two such cases, according to the family's attorneys and documents.

The new Child Protective Services finding, which follows an appeal, comes as the experiences of "free range" parents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have drawn national attention, sparking debate about parenting choices and how far local officials should go to enforce laws designed to protect children.

It overturns a previous CPS decision that held the Meitivs responsible for "unsubstantiated" child neglect, a finding typically made when there is conflicting or insufficient information for a more definitive conclusion.

The change came as a welcome surprise to the Meitivs, who were informed in letters they received May 18 that neglect was "ruled out" in the case, which dates to their children's December walk from Woodside Park.

"It was an enormous relief and vindication," Danielle Meitiv said in a Washington Post interview, the family's first in six weeks. "Of course there's no neglect here. There never was. There was never even a hint of it."

The Meitivs aren't in the clear yet, however; there's still a charge against them stemming from that other time they allowed their kids to walk home from a local park (the little recidivists). The kids were held for five hours, and the authorities didn't even notify the parents until about three hours in.

"We're hopeful it will be resolved in the same way," Danielle Meitiv said. "The facts of the two are the same. They're the same kids, we're the same parents. They were walking in the same neighborhood. .?.?. Neither case is neglect so we're hopeful that CPS will just see that and move on."

Danielle Meitiv said she stopped giving interviews April 13, both at the advice of lawyers and because the most recent experience became upsetting to talk about.

She said she's speaking out now in hopes the new ruling may assuage the fears of other parents who want to let their children venture outdoors to walk or play, but are worried about CPS involvement. "It's also really good news," she said.

The Meitivs advocate free-range parenting, which encourages independence and exploration. The term was first coined in 2008 by New York journalist Lenore Skenazy, who developed a following for pushing back against what many saw as a hypervigilant "helicopter parent" culture.

That New York journalist would like to clarify that she is not pushing back against helicopter parents—she feels parents can raise their kids however they see fit. She is (I hear) pushing back against an entire culture that sees children only through the lens of danger, trauma, and fragility, which then tends to overreact to any threat, no matter how remote.

Just sayin'.

But first, a woot of joy for justice, and for kids everywhere. Ye Olde Founding Mother suggests: Why not celebrate by having them walk to school today? 

Advertisement

NEXT: Global Debt is "Sinking" Economy as Populations Age in Rich Countries

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The kids were held for five hours, and the authorities didn’t even notify the parents until about three hours in.

    Cops and CPS should be charged with kidnapping.

    1. Put the cops and CPS on some child predator offendor list and forbid them from being within 1000 feet of any school, daycare, or place where children are likely to be, such as … family homes!

  2. “The facts of the two are the same. They’re the same kids, we’re the same parents. They were walking in the same neighborhood. .?.?. Neither case is neglect so we’re hopeful that CPS will just see that and move on.”

    Yes they will move on…. to the next victims, preferably ones without the means or fortitude to challenge those bureaucratic kidnappers in court.

    1. They won’t move on. They’ll stalk this family until they see something to charge them with, and they can sate their bureaucratic bloodlust.

      1. ^ This. They must be punished.

      2. Yeah regardless of the outcome it may be advisable for the family to relocate to a jurisdiction where the local thugs don’t have a hard-on for ruining their lives…yet.

      3. Yep, they’re on the bureaucrat’s radar now. They’ll make their lives a living hell until the kids turn 18, maybe longer.

      4. Sadly I think you are right

  3. Three bleeping hours?! THREE?!

    FOR LETTING THEM WALK AROUND FREELY?

    I’d sue their asses.

    If feasible of course.

    1. Your kids belong to the state. You just get the hold onto them for awhile at their discretion.

    2. That’s why I don’t trust the “free range” label. Legally, there is no time requirement for how long they must be allowed to roam outside the cages.

  4. “Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Dec. 20 incident….”

    Finally.

    “The Meitivs aren’t in the clear yet, however; there’s still a charge against them stemming from that other time….”

    *clenches jaw*

    1. Take it from me; once DCF or CPS (or whatever the fuck they are called in your state) fixes its gimlet eye on your family, there is never true peace.

      They are truly the witch-smellers of the modern age.

      1. Which is why the field wherein I grow my fucks is barren when one of them ends up in ICU or a morgue slab.

  5. “But first, a woot of joy”

    SHALAKAZAAM! Your wish is granted

  6. Oh, good, so if you let your kids walk around free you’ll face child-neglect charges, but after a few months of stress and legal fees they’ll find you not guilty. Good thing that won’t have a chilling effect.

  7. “not pushing back against helicopter parents?she feels parents can raise their kids however they see fit. She is (I hear) pushing back against an entire culture”

    A culture largely created by busybody helicopter parents eager to make sure you raise your kids the way they want you to.

    Just sayin’

  8. That New York journalist would like to clarify that she is not pushing back against helicopter parents…

    Courage, Lenore. Helicopter parenting is damaging to both children and parents, especially when it is enforced by the state. If you’re not pushing back against it, you should be.

    1. I am of the opinion that helicopter parenting is an unholy combination of people being unwilling – for emotional reasons – to make tradeoffs, and social signaling towards other parents that the signalers are more caring parents than others.

      A signaler is horrified when encountering a person who refuses to go along with the signaling, since that implies that the refusnik is unimpressed by the signaler and possibly even contemptuous of the signaler.

    2. I find that 180 grains of cupronickel jacketed lead at 2000fps is an appropriate push back.

  9. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.www.netjob80.com

  10. The best part is that notice that they are guilty of “unsubstantiated” child neglect – in other words, guilty of making us suspicious of you. We now have a file on you and so you are a person of interest for the rest of your life. God help you if your kid scrapes her knee and we see the scratch. It’s not like that sort of “see something, say something, SWAT something” system could ever be abused by malicious neighbors filing false reports.

  11. As long as the Meitivs live in Maryland they will never be in the clear. The authorities are going to watch them like a hawk. One slip up and they will pounce.

  12. This gives her more time to coauthor government funded AGW scientific papers.

  13. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.www.netjob80.com

  14. Nathaniel . although Stephanie `s rep0rt is super… I just bought a top of the range Mercedes sincee geting a check for $4416 this last four weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . no-doubt about it, this really is the best-job I’ve ever done . I actually started seven months/ago and almost straight away started making a nice over $79.. p/h….. ?????? http://www.netcash9.com

  15. Late comment, but THANK GOD. I only wish my expressed joy could apply to more than this one small injustice out of the many we know of. Where is the blanket of protection rulings like this should provide?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.