Md. officials: Letting ‘free range’ kids walk or play alone is not neglect

Md. officials: Letting ‘free range’ kids walk or play alone is not neglect
Credit: Bill O'Leary/Washington Post

[Ed. – ‘Free range’?]

Maryland officials have taken steps to clarify their views about children playing or walking alone outdoors in a new policy directive that says Child Protective Services should not be involved in such cases unless children have been harmed or face a substantial risk of harm.

The directive, part of a public statement to be issued Friday, follows a nationally debated case involving “free range” parents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, who let their young children walk home alone from parks in Montgomery County.

The Meitivs say they have gradually allowed their son, Rafi, 10, and daughter, Dvora, 6, more freedom to walk on their own in areas they know. But police twice picked up the siblings as they made their way home in Silver Spring, and CPS neglect investigations ensued.

The Meitivs were cleared on appeal last month in one neglect case. They are awaiting a decision in the other, they say.

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