Free Range Parenting Causes Another Investigation

Free Range Parenting

Free Range Parenting Causes Another Investigation


You may have heard of the Meitiv family which was placed under investigation by Child Protective Services after letting their children walk home alone from the park, part of the free range parenting movement. Parents Alexander and Danielle Meitiv decided to let their 10 year old son and 6 and a half year old daughter walk home from the park alone in December. The children were stopped by police, when asked if they were okay, they simply replied that they were okay and were just walking home from the park.

This incident sparked an investigation from CPS and an overall critique of free range parenting. The Meitivs live in Maryland, where the law states that children may not be left alone in a house or car if they are under 8 years old. There is no reference made to walking home alone. The debate arises here, shouldn’t a parent be able to distinguish whether their child is capable of doing so?

The Meitivs are back in the public eye after their children were picked up by police again on Sunday. This time they were kept for hours before the parents were notified of where their children were. The kids had been left at the park at 4 p.m. and were told to return in two hours. In that time the children were picked up under the impression that they would be given a ride home and held for 4 hours. Both children know their address and telephone number so it is not clear why they were not given an opportunity to contact their parents, as is part of the free range parenting method.

As reported on CNN the Meitiv’s lawyer, Matthew Dowd said this of the situation, “It’s alarming and disturbing that their children could be literally a few blocks from home and the police pick them up under the guise of telling the children that they will take them home but then take them to a detention center and all the while never call the parents or let them know what’s going on.”

According to NBC Washington a concerned citizen called 911 to report the children walking around by themselves. One officer said that he saw a homeless man he recognized eyeing children when he reached them. While it is unclear if the children were actually in danger, it seems that the police and CPS felt that they were. Despite any official explanation though, no parent would be okay with being uninformed as to not knowing the whereabouts of their children, it seems rather irresponsible that they were not contacted.

The New York Daily News reported that after the neglect ruling this past March the Meitiv’s said they would appeal the charge and continue to give their children unsupervised playtime.

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