Danielle and Alexander Meitiv let their children, 10 and six, walk home alone from a park a mile away from their house. Now, Montgomery County is investigating the couple for child neglect.I have posted a bunch of stories like this. You can find more at the Free Range Kids blog and the Legally Kidnapped blog. They are both excellent.
It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.
“We wouldn’t have let them do it if we didn’t think they were ready for it,” Danielle said.
She said her son and daughter have previously paired up for walks around the block, to a nearby 7-Eleven and to a library about three-quarters of a mile away. “They have proven they are responsible,” she said. “They’ve developed these skills.”
The Meitiv children outside the National Gallery in Washington this month. (Family photo)
The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a movement that has been a counterpoint to the hyper-vigilance of “helicopter” parenting, with the idea that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to progressively test limits, make choices and venture out in the world.
“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”
On Dec.?20, Alexander agreed to let the children, Rafi and Dvora, walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well.
The children made it about halfway.
Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them. ...
The Meitivs say that on Dec. 20, a CPS worker required Alexander to sign a safety plan pledging he would not leave his children unsupervised until the following Monday, when CPS would follow up. At first he refused, saying he needed to talk to a lawyer, his wife said, but changed his mind when he was told his children would be removed if he did not comply.
Following the holidays, the family said, CPS called again, saying the agency needed to inquire further and visit the family’s home. Danielle said she resisted.
“It seemed such a huge violation of privacy to examine my house because my kids were walking home,” she said.
This week, a CPS social worker showed up at her door, she said. She did not let him in. She said she was stunned to later learn from the principal that her children were interviewed at school.
The family has a meeting set for next week at CPS offices in Rockville.
“I think what CPS considered neglect, we felt was an essential part of growing up and maturing,” Alexander said. “We feel we’re being bullied into a point of view about child-rearing that we strongly disagree with.”
CPS defenders will say that this is an isolated story; that no one was prosecuted; and that the authorities were being cautious.
The problems here run deep. We have a society of busybodies who like to call 911 for the most trivial matter. Because we have laws criminalizing failure to report in some cases, then it is impractical to admonish those who over-report. So behavior will be over-reported. When the cops show up, they are trained to look for crimes. If they don't see a crime and need to dispose of the matter somehow, the easiest thing is to call CPS. CPS consists of professional busybodies who like intervening in peoples' lives, and hate being criticized for ignoring a problem. So their inclination is to try to force some action. Since their favorite threat is to take the kids away and put them in foster care, it is easy for them to bully parents.
Normally parents have a right to be present when kids are interviewed by cops or other authorities. But if they send the kid to a public school, then liberal judges say that parental rights end at the schoolhouse door.
People commonly say that life is more dangerous now, because of kidnappers, perverts, guns, drugs, or whatever, but it is just not true. See the recent article:
The World Is Not Falling ApartHere are some comments:
Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.
I do not know about Maryland in specific, but I have an Aunt that is a Guardian Ad Litem for children in another state. As soon as CPS is involved, you as a parent are essentially fucked. You will be forever on a watch list an if _anything_ bad happens to your kids they will immediately get involved.The above story is not isolated. CPS bullies parents like this every day. It pays little regard to what is legal, or what is safe, or what is reasonable. I know this from personal experience.
They have very broad powers to remove children after a report like this and even if discussing it with a lawyer would have brought them back same day, the CPS still could have taken the kids.
I suppose it does reinforce the lesson that authority should be mistrusted. ...
CPS needs to be disbanded. Nazis indeed.
CPS should be shut down. It does more harm than good.