Meitiv Decision: CPS Finds ‘Free Range’ Parents Responsible for ‘Unsubstantiated’ Child Neglect.
The couple was found responsible for “unsubstantiated” child neglect, a confusing charge that resolved nothing and left the couple possibly more nervous and paranoid than ever.
In December, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv had let their 10-year-old son Rafi and his 6-year-old sister Dvorah walk one mile home through Silver Spring alone. The kids got picked up by the police, who then turned the case over to child protective services. The Meitivs, as it happens, are “free-range parents” who have a very coherent philosophy about giving children more independence. They had let their children walk home alone that day only after practicing, and felt the kids were ready.
What they learned from the latest CPS decision, Danielle Meitiv wrote me, is that “teaching independence clearly IS a crime.” As she understands it, the charge means “something happened but kids were not at substantial risk.” Why then, she reasonably asks, “find us responsible for neglect?”
When I was five years old, I walked to school and back with my four year old brother. We know that stranger abduction of children is extremely rare: most victims of molestation are victimized by a relative. This is a clear, real instance of bureaucratic over-reach interfering with a reasonable choice by parents.