A Maryland couple is at risk of losing their two young children after police took them into custody when they were left alone in a park, by their parents who believe in ‘free range parenting’.
Youngsters Rafi, 10, and Dvora Meitiv, 6, were taken into protective custody by Child Protective Services (CPS) in Maryland, after being allowed to go alone to a Maryland park, almost a mile from their home.
Maryland ‘Free Range Kids’ Taken Into Custody
This is the second time that the Meitiv children have been picked up by police after being left unattended. In fact, the incident made national news in January 2015 when Child Protective Services launched an investigation into their parents — Danielle and Alexander Meitiv.
The Meitivs are proponents of “free range parenting”. They and other “free range” parents believe in giving their children independence at a young age. Children are allowed to walk to school, parks and other places on their own as a lesson in self-reliance.
However, a concerned citizen spotted the children alone in the park on April 12, called 911 and the children were taken into custody by county police around 5 p.m., according to the Washington Post. Once in custody, they were turned over to the Child Protective Services agency.
During this time, the Meitiv’s had begun to worry, because their children hadn’t returned home by their scheduled time.
“We have been searching for the kids for hours,’’ Danielle said in a Facebook posting. The children’s mother said they were released to the couple at 10:30 p.m., but after they signed a “safety plan” as a stipulation to let them go home with their kids.
She also said in a post that her and Alexander spent about a half-hour at the CPS offices without being allowed to see their children.
Mrs. Meitiv further claims that the police “coerced” their children into the patrol car. She wrote in a post, “The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car, telling them they would drive them home. They kept the kids trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before dropping them at the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours. We finally got home at 11pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.”
The Meitiv’s Believe Their Parenting Method Helps Teach Independence
The Meitiv’s believe their free-range parenting method helps their kids learn independence through gradual freedom, but others don’t agree, including CPS.
Earlier in the year, the couple was found responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect for allowing their kids to walk home alone. That ruling means officials will keep a file on the Meitivs for the next five years.
As of right now, it’s not clear what the new report could mean for the Meitiv parents and their two children.
HollywoodLifers — do you think the Meitiv parents are guilty of neglect? Let us know your thoughts below!
— Brittany King