'Free-range' parents cleared of child neglect in one case

It is a victory for the couple known as the "free-range" parents. Child Protective Services have cleared the Montgomery County couple in one of the child neglect cases against them.

"It's not completely over, but it does lift a huge weight off our shoulders," said Danielle Meitiv.

CPS found Danielle and Alexander Meitiv did not neglect their two children when they allowed them to roam freely back and forth from a Silver Spring park in December.

The so-called practitioners of free-range parenting have gained national attention for their fight with CPS over allowing their children to walk and play alone in the Silver Spring area.

Last week, CPS informed the Meitivs that child neglect was ruled out.

"That's what we've been saying all along – that there is no neglect here," said Danielle. "Different people can have different opinions about parenting, but that's a far cry from neglect."

On more than one occasion, police and CPS have been called to investigate the parents for neglect. The Meitivs maintain their parenting style teaches their two children, Rafi and Dvora, about being independent.

This recent ruling came as a surprise to Danielle, but it gives her hope. CPS is still investigating the parents for a second case of child neglect from a few months ago.

"They are the same kids, we're the same parents, it's the same exact neighborhood, it's almost the same time of day, give or take an hour," Danielle said. "So if they found no neglect in one, I don't see how they can rule differently in the other one."

Danielle said the children, ages 10 and 6, have stayed very close to home ever since April 12 when police picked them up during their walk home from a park. They held the kids for several hours without calling their parents.

"Honestly, it wasn't until we got the news that I could tell the kids really breathed a huge sigh of relief," said the children's mother.

But even if the Meitivs are cleared of any wrongdoing, they are gearing up for another fight.

"Frankly, we are still planning legal action because even them changing their mind doesn't change the fact that there were some serious violations of constitutional rights here," said Danielle. "The Constitution very clearly protects our rights as parents to raise our kids in the way we see fit."

She said she has heard from hundreds of people from around the country who have shared similar types of what they consider to be government intrusion. She wants this to spark a change of tone and reexamination of current law.

In the meantime, she is waiting for the ruling on that second case that is due by June 12.

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