They were originally found guilty of “unsubstantiated neglect,” all for letting their children play at the park. But now, Maryland “free-range” parents have been cleared of these charges after appealing the decision.
Back in December Danielle and Alexander Meitiv’s children, ages 6 and 10, walked home from a playground near their house. For this they were placed under investigation by Child Protective Services.
The attorney representing the family praised the appeal ruling.
“I think this most recent conclusion by CPS validates our position all along that the Meitivs were never responsible for any form of child neglect and there was no basis to investigate the family or detain the children,” Matthew Dowd explained.
While their appeal was successful, they are still under investigation for another incident that was almost identical which occurred last month.
In that case, police detained their children for hours after spotting them walking home by themselves. The family believes this was purely harassment on the part of the police.
The December incident began when police spotted the children walking home. They pulled over to ask the children if everything was fine: if they were lost or in trouble. The children explained that they knew where they were going and that they were allowed to walk home by themselves. The officers took it upon themselves to drive them home and report the parents to Child Protective Services.
“The family did appeal, and they were successful in their appeal,” Maryland Department of Human Resources spokeswoman Paula Tolson explained.
The second incident, occurring on April 19 seemed to have been punishment for the family not bowing to police demands.
“The April case is going through the process,” Tolson explained. She added that the agency has 60 days to finalize the investigation.
The Meitivs aren’t waiting. They plan to file suit against the Montgomery County Police and Child Protective Services and the police.
“The past actions of CPS and Montgomery County Police violated the rights of the Meitivs and their children,” he added.
Danielle Meitiv released a statement, saying that while they are happy about the appeal, they are concerned that the “misguided policy” remains in place.
“We fear that our family and other Maryland families will be subject to further investigations and frightening police detentions simply because our and their children have been been taught how to walk safely in their neighborhood including to and from school and local parks,” she continued.
(Article by Reagan Ali)