Parents allow kids to walk home alone from park; now investigated for child neglect
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The parents of a 10-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl feel watched and bullied by Child Protective Services after they allowed their children to walk home alone from a park about a mile away.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, one a climate-science consultant and the other a physicist at the National Institutes of Health, call themselves “free-range” parents as opposed to “helicopter” parents. They told The Washington Post that they put a lot of thought into parenting and teach their children self-reliance.
On December 20, the children made it about halfway home from the park when they were stopped by police after someone reported seeing them walking alone.
Their son, 10, told the officer they weren’t doing anything wrong. Still, according to The Washington Post, police took the kids home and then reportedly scolded Danielle and Alexander on the dangers of the world.
The Meitivs say their son and daughter usually carry a laminated card with contact information that says: “A am not lost. I am a free-range kid.”
The kids didn’t have it with them that day.
Child Protective Services could not comment on the Meitiv’s case, but said CPS does investigate when children younger than eight-years-old are left unattended. State law requires children younger than eight to be left with a reliable person who is at least 13-years old.
A Child Protective Services investigator insisted on a home visit, but the Meitivs refused. They later learned that an agent interviewed her children’s school principal.