‘Free Range’ parents accused of child neglect after allowing kids to walk alone
SILVER SPRING, Md. — A couple accused of child neglect says the ruling infringes on their rights as parents.
Maryland Child Services started investigating Danielle and Sasha Meitiv in December.
That’s when their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter were caught walking one mile, from a playground to their home.
Child services just found their parents responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect.
That means the agency will keep a file on them for at least five years.
“At first it was just shock, and kind of numb, then as it sunk it it was really upsetting,” said Danielle Meitiv. “I looked at my husband and I said, ‘I can’t believe they think we did something wrong.’ I just started to cry.”
The Meitivs say they believe in a “free-range” style of parenting.
They say unsupervised time helps raise independent children.
“They’re learning to take little risks, like the risk of walking around the block without an adult. You know, it’s just part of natural child development. I absolutely disagree that my kids are too young to do it,” said Meitiv.
Maryland law prohibits children younger than age 8 from being unattended in a dwelling or car.
The law makes no reference to outdoors.
“The law says children may not be locked or confined. CPS says that law also applies to outdoors, and that’s part of what we’re disputing. I don’t see how they can make that interpretation,” Meitiv said.