Free-range parents found guilty of "unsubstantiated child neglect"

The decision is in for a Silver Spring, Md. mom and dad whose parenting practices made national news after their children were picked up by police while walking alone last year. Danielle and Alex Meitiv are free-range parents, but Child Protective Services says they are guilty of "unsubstantiated child neglect."

Authorities began investigating the Meitivs after their 10-year-old son Rafi and 6-year-old daughter Dvora were picked up on December 20 while walking by themselves to a park in downtown Silver Spring.  

In an email, Danielle Meitiv told FOX 5 she and her husband received notice of the Maryland Child Protective Services' findings in their case last week. After consulting with their lawyers, Meitiv says the official text of the notice says "the department has found you responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect." 

"We are shocked and outraged that we have been deemed negligent for granting our children the simple freedom to play outdoors," Meitiv wrote. "We fully intend to appeal. We also have no intention of changing our parenting approach. (My kids are playing outside unsupervised right now, as a matter of fact). We do worry, however, what will happen to them and us if CPS gets another call about them."

The Meitivs met with authorities in late January to make their case for free-range parenting, which they say builds independence. At that time, the Meitivs said the county was applying a law that says you can't leave a young child alone in a car or a building. Child Protective Services has previously declined to comment on the case.

"To them, that law can be stretched to be anywhere -- playground, walking home from school," said Danielle Meitiv back in January. "And to us, that's apples and oranges."

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