"Free-range parenting" couple under fire again
Two Maryland children are with their parents again after being held by Child Protective Services (CPS) for hours. This is the third time Danielle and Alexander Meitiv have come under fire for letting their children walk around unsupervised, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.
"I can't believe we're going through this again," Danielle said.
Police picked up 6-year-old Dvora and her 10-year-old brother Rafi from a park near their Silver Spring home around 5 p.m. Sunday. Someone called 911 after seeing them alone.
"The policeman said, 'I'm going to bring you home,' and instead he brought us here," Rafi said.
Montgomery County police brought them to protective services where they were held for hours.
"We asked them, 'Why did they not bring them home?' And they said, 'We decided that it was the safety of the children was more important,'" Alexander said.
In February, a CPS investigation found the Meitivs responsible for "unsubstantiated child neglect." They said they're practicing free-range parenting, a parenting style in which independence and freedom is encouraged. They claim it builds independence.
"In essence it's like a false imprisonment, what happened to these kids, even though CPS probably had the best of intentions," CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said Monday on "CBS This Morning." "Remember this, it's hours where these parents don't know where their kids are and where the kids don't know where their parents are."
State law in Maryland says, "A child under the age of 8 years old" cannot be left alone in a "building, enclosure, or motor vehicle" ... and they must be with "a reliable person who is at least 13."
"There is nothing on the books about a child being accompanied by an adult, or someone 13 or older, if they're outside," Kleiman said.
When the Meitivs spoke with "CBS This Morning" in January, they said they were unwilling to alter their parenting style, but now it seems they have no choice.
"They made us sign a safety plan that says that we will not leave them unattended at all until they follow up, and I'm not going to risk my kids being snatched again like this by CPS," Danielle said.
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