- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 15, 2015

A Maryland couple is reportedly under investigation for allowing their 6- and 10-year-old children to walk around the neighborhood together without an adult.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, of Silver Spring, say the investigation is an invasion of their privacy and infringes on their rights as parents, a local CBS affiliate reported.

“I grew up in New York City in the ‘70s and nobody hesitated to let their kids walk around. The only thing that’s changed between then and now is our fear,” Danielle Meitiv told the station.

Rafi, 10, and his sister, Dvora, 6, are typically allowed to walk to the two local playgrounds near their house, to a nearby 7-Eleven for snacks or to a public library about three-quarters of a mile away, the parents said.

“They have proven they are responsible,” Mrs. Meitiv told The Washington Post. “They’ve developed these skills.”

But on Dec. 20, when Rafi and Dvora were walking home from Woodside Park, police officers approached them after receiving a call from someone reporting unattended children in the area. The children normally carry a laminated card with parent contact information that says: “I am not lost. I am a free-range kid,” the mother said, but they didn’t have it on them that day, The Post reported.

The children were loaded into a police car and driven home. Their father said that when police arrived they demanded to see his identification and warned him of the potential danger he was putting his children in, The Post reported.

Montgomery County Child Protective Services reportedly showed up at the home hours later to investigate further.

“They came and they interviewed kids at school without our permission or knowledge. And when they were talking to them, they were painting a picture of a world that is very scary,” Mr. Meitiv told the CBS affiliate.

Child Protective Services could not address this specific case but did point to Maryland law, which defines child neglect as failure to provide proper care and supervision of a child, the station reported.

The Meitivs say they believe in “free-range” parenting, a growing parenting style movement that focusing on self-reliance and allows children to learn at an early age how to make decisions for themselves.

State law prohibits children younger than 8 from being unattended in a dwelling or car, but makes no reference to the outdoors, the station reported.

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