UPDATE June 22, 2015:

Maryland CPS Clears “Free-Range” Parents in Neglect Case

From Danielle Meitiv Facebook Page:

(Washington, DC)—Maryland Child Protective Services (CPS) has dropped all allegations of child neglect made against Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, the Silver Spring, Maryland, parents at the center of the high-profile “free-range” children case. The decision affirms what the Meitivs have maintained all along: that they are responsible parents who have never neglected their children.

The Meitivs said they are pleased with the result but concerned that CPS’s decision still leaves unnecessary confusion for their family and others. The agency’s decision provides no explanation why CPS instituted its investigation, why it made a “Ruled Out” determination or why the agency took two months to issue its decision.

Prior to receiving this decision, CPS announced new guidelines on June 11 attempting to clarify how the agency will apply child neglect laws, particularly with respect to school-aged children who are walking in their neighborhoods or playing at local parks. Under the new policy, CPS said it would not intervene unless there is evidence the child “has been harmed or is at substantial risk of harm if they continue to be unsupervised.”

In dropping the investigation into the Meitiv case, CPS did not indicate whether the agency applied its new or old policy.

“Our family is happy that the investigations are closed, but more needs to be done,” Danielle Meitiv said. “The guidelines contain too much ambiguity and fail to acknowledge the parents’ right to allow their children age-appropriate independence. The guidelines also overlook that the parents should be the first adults contacted if there is any question about children who are playing among themselves in their neighborhood. I look forward to working with parents, as well county and state legislators, to ensure that parents’ choices for raising their children are respected.”

Matthew J. Dowd, a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Andrews Kurth, is the lead attorney representing the Maryland family on a pro bono basis. Mr. Dowd is working closely with former Maryland Assistant State’s Attorney Thomas DeGonia of Ethridge Quinn Kemp McAuliffe Rowan & Hartinger in Rockville, Maryland, and David DeLugas, Executive Director of the National Association of Parents.

“We are not surprised that CPS has dropped its frivolous allegations,” said Mr. Dowd. “But its decision does not remedy the harm caused to the children when they were illegally detained by police and then CPS for over five hours. There were clear constitutional violations that need to be investigated and remedied.” (Source.)

UPDATE April 16, 2015:

Maryland Couple Sues CPS Over Unlawful Seizure of Their Children

UPDATE Apr 13, 2015:

Police and CPS Detain Kids (Again) for Walking Home from Park without Parents

Washington Post


Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect…. in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

On Dec. 20, Alexander agreed to let the children, Rafi and Dvora (ages 10 and 6), walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well.

The children made it about halfway. Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them.

Danielle said she and her husband give parenting a lot of thought.

“Parenthood is an exercise in risk management,” she said. “Every day, we decide: Are we going to let our kids play football? Are we going to let them do a sleep­over? Are we going to let them climb a tree? We’re not saying parents should abandon all caution. We’re saying parents should pay attention to risks that are dangerous and likely to happen.”

She added: “Abductions are extremely rare. Car accidents are not. The number one cause of death for children of their age is a car accident.”

Danielle is a climate-science consultant, and Alexander is a physicist at the National Institutes of Health.

The Meitivs say that on Dec. 20, a CPS worker required Alexander to sign a safety plan pledging he would not leave his children unsupervised until the following Monday, when CPS would follow up. At first he refused, saying he needed to talk to a lawyer, his wife said, but changed his mind when he was told his children would be removed if he did not comply.

Read the Full Story at The Washington Post.