Watch CBS News

Maryland Couple's "Free Range" Parenting Style Raising Controversy Nationally

PITTSBURGH (CBS) -- When you were little, how often did you play outside and roam the neighborhood without your parents?

Everyone did it, but can you do that nowadays with your kids?

That's how two parents from Maryland want to raise their children. But for the second time, police have picked up their kids because they were playing unsupervised in a park near their home.

"I can't believe we're going through this again. I can't believe they kept the kids for hours. It's 10:30 at night; they've been missing since 6 o'clock," says Danielle Meitiv, the children's mother.

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 afternoon.

Someone had called 911 after seeing them alone.

Police brought the kids 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," said Sasha Meitiv, the children's father.

The same thing happened in February, someone found the children playing alone. After an investigation by Child Protective Services, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were found to be responsible for "unsubstantiated child neglect."

But they say they're practicing free-range parenting, which they claim builds independence.

"We've gone out with them; we've talked to them across the street; we've observed them. It's not like we somehow dropped them off in the middle of a jungle and said fend for yourself kid," Danielle said.

"We live in the safest, one of the safest societies of the history of man has ever had, and we're keeping our kids on leashes like they were dogs," says Alden Utter, of Silver Springs.

"Kids still need freedom, as they always have needed freedom," added Dave Anderson, also of Silver Springs.

The Meitiv have been 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.

Join The Conversation On The KDKA Facebook Page
Stay Up To Date, Follow KDKA On Twitter

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.