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'Free Range' Parents Cleared Of Child Neglect In 1 Case

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ)--A big win for a Montgomery County couple who were under investigation for child neglect. Their two young children were picked up by police after they were found walking alone.

Now,  Child Protective Services has reversed course-- saying neglect has been "ruled out" in the case.

Meghan McCorkell spoke with the mother tonight.

That family has adopted a philosophy called "free range parenting"--- giving their children the freedom to be more independent.

10-year old Rafi Meitiv and his  6-year old sister, Dvora are allowed to walk to local parks, the library and around their neighborhood, all by themselves.

"We can walk anywhere in Silver Spring and it's really fun," said Rafi Meitiv.

"It teaches them responsibility. It teaches them accountability," said their mother Danielle Meitiv.

But in December, the police picked up the kids as they walked home from the playground and charged their parents with unsubstantiated child neglect.

Now, five months later, Child Protective Services has cleared Danielle Meitiv and her husband Alexander of any wrongdoing.

"We're relieved. We were pleasantly surprised. We did not expect them to change their mind," said Danielle.

"This is a great victory for the Meitiv's. They've now been vindicated in the way their parenting," said Matthew Dowd, family's attorney.

But the family is not out of the woods yet. They face another neglect investigation after an April incident where the children were once again spotted walking home from a park alone.

Someone called 911 after seeing the children walking through downtown Silver Spring.

Danielle Meitiv hopes Child Protective Services throws out that case as well.

"I think we're cautiously optimistic. There's no difference between that situation and this one," she says.

And she hopes the ruling helps quell the fears of other parents, who want to give their children more freedom too.

The family says the letter from Child Protective Services did not explain why their case was thrown out.

Child Protective Services must issue a written decision in the April incident sometime next month.

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