The Meitiv family in Montgomery County is being investigated for neglect of their children after allowing their 6 and 10 year old children walk home about a mile from the park to their home.
What the parents call free-range parenting and lessons on independence, the Montgomery County Child Protective Services call neglect – in Maryland, state law requires that a child under 8 years old be accompanied or supervised by someone of at least 13 years of age in dwellings, enclosures and vehicles.
The parents say that this law does not apply to their children as the children were walking home and not indoors. Additionally, the county provides bus services to elementary children only if they live a mile away from the school, implying that the county condones children as young as kindergarten aged walking up to a mile to get to school.
Drawing the line between neglectful parents who put their children in harm’s way and free-range parents is very important and unfortunately parents who practice free-range parenting are finding that they are burdened by overzealous CPS investigations. The Meitivs say that their involvement with CPS has been an invasion of their privacy, with police and caseworkers insisting on entering their home with no notice or warrants, questioning their children at school without their consent or supervision and extremely stressful.
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