Warning: Parents, don’t try this at home

To protect and to serve: child welfare in America

To protect and to serve: child welfare in America

Maryland: Parents investigated for permitting their son, 10, to escort his six-year-old sister home from the park

It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.

Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.

“We wouldn’t have let them do it if we didn’t think they were ready for it,” Danielle said.

She said her son and daughter have previously paired up for walks around the block, to a nearby 7-Eleven and to a library about three-quarters of a mile away. “They have proven they are responsible,” she said. “They’ve developed these skills.”

“The world is actually even safer than when I was a child, and I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.”

On Dec. 20, Alexander agreed to let the children, Rafi and Dvora, walk from Woodside Park to their home, a mile south, in an area the family says the children know well.

The children made it about halfway.

Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them.

… .“Parenthood is an exercise in risk management,” she said. “Every day, we decide: Are we going to let our kids play football? Are we going to let them do a sleep­over? Are we going to let them climb a tree? We’re not saying parents should abandon all caution. We’re saying parents should pay attention to risks that are dangerous and likely to happen.”

She added: “Abductions are extremely rare. Car accidents are not. The number one cause of death for children of their age is a car accident.”

Danielle is a climate-science consultant, and Alexander is a physicist at the National Institutes of Health.

Alexander said he had a tense time with police on Dec. 20 when officers returned his children, asked for his identification and told him about the dangers of the world.

The more lasting issue has been with Montgomery County Child Protective Services, he said, which showed up a couple of hours after the police left.

Mary Anderson, a spokeswoman for CPS, said she could not comment on cases but that neglect investigations typically focus on questions of whether there has been a failure to provide proper care and supervision.

In such investigations, she said, CPS may look for guidance to a state law about leaving children unattended, which says children younger than 8 must be left with a reliable person who is at least 13 years old. The law covers dwellings, enclosures and vehicles.

The Meitivs say that on Dec. 20, a CPS worker required Alexander to sign a safety plan pledging he would not leave his children unsupervised until the following Monday, when CPS would follow up. At first he refused, saying he needed to talk to a lawyer, his wife said, but changed his mind when he was told his children would be removed if he did not comply.

Following the holidays, the family said, CPS called again, saying the agency needed to inquire further and visit the family’s home. Danielle said she resisted.

“It seemed such a huge violation of privacy to examine my house because my kids were walking home,” she said.

So, who’s better able to decide how to rear their children, a pair of highly-educated parents, or professional bureaucrats? In the modern world, the state wins, every time.

15 Comments

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15 responses to “Warning: Parents, don’t try this at home

  1. Libertarian Advocate

    Ironically, the absurdly intrusive laws no governing child-rearing is the result of highly educated parents blindly voting “Democrat” without thinking about what that really means for individual freedom and general liberty. Demoncrats have never seen an area or facet of existence that in their warped views should not be regulated by the state, well except for women’s abortion “rights” of course.

    • You’re living in lah lah land if you believe for one moment that this is limited to the democraps.

      We’re still trying to teach Rand Paul that the USA is not a democracy or democratic republic and the last mid term elections have proven to be a farce.

      We live in a rising communist state based on Cloward & Piven ideals to destroy families first.

      please wake up

      • Libertarian Advocate

        I’m well aware of how feckless Republicans become once they acquire power. Scott Frantz and Livvy Floren are persistent local reminders of that principle. John Boehner[less] is the national manifestation of the same idea.

      • Babylon Sister

        I think you’re spot on about Cloward-Piven…. I can’t think of any other coherent motivation behind the recent developments in immigration policy

    • Live Free or Die

      Didn’t read your comment LA before posting mine…you’re dead on with this and all is good with a million intrusive laws until it affects them personally

  2. Live Free or Die

    My guess is that the “highly educated” parents voted for the very politicians that created the laws in which they are now being excused of breaking…….hopefully they think about this experience next time they are standing in the voting booth.

  3. Call It Like I See It

    I regularly walked a mile home alone from school in second, or certainly by third grade. And certainly by the time I was ten I walked alone a mile to the park or the beach, to meet with friends. The liberal elite are ruining this country. Forget about teaching our children about self reliance, they have no qualms about betting parents arrested when they try to instill this value in their children. They want everyone to be a ward of the state, except themselves, of course.

    • anonymous

      It’s gotten so nanny state that the three normal parents left in America are banding together in groups called Free Range Parents. No kidding. Parents who believe in independence and freedom. Shocking.

      City kids have it easier in many ways. Lots of 11-12 year olds walk to school in pods of twos and threes. Look at all the city kids who take a subway to school from a young age.

  4. Walt

    Dude –

    I believe, after spawning, as soon as the kids are able to walk, they should be left on their own. For extended periods of time. Weeks if necessary.

    Self-learning is so important. The kid sticks a fork in the electrical outlet? That will teach him. Plus he will grow up with an Afro, and be cool in high school. Dr. Spock, the Star Trek pointy eared dude, backs me on this.

    Over-parenting is a bigger problem than child neglect. By a wide margin. Why waste your time tending over the little kiddies when you could be watching football instead? And they learn life lessons on their own, which is more reinforcing than telling them what to do. That is a fact.

    So what is the worst thing that can happen to the little snot noses? The kid walks into the street and gets hit by a car? You already told him not to, so it’s their fault. So then what are you left with? A dead baby?

    Did someone say dead baby?

    How do you know when a baby is dead?
    It doesn’t cry when you nail its feet to the ceiling.

    Your Pal,
    Walt

  5. Anonymous Citizenette

    I pass by the local elementary and high schools in my way to work in the morning, the driveways are jammed with mommies and daddies dropping their kiddies off. School buses are there dropping off too, just a few kids on them. I feel sorry for those kids without a personal chauffeur, you know they are getting teased. As my dad would have said, we’re raising a bunch of pantywaists.

    • Anonymous

      Riverside/OG teeming with kids walking and biking to school each morning. The town os OG filled with private school kids who get out at 12:30 on Fridays- try going to Garden Catering at that hour. Kids bike to RYC, Rocky and Innis in the summer…it’s a big part of the appeal of this section of town

    • anonymous

      I feel sorry for those kids with a personal chauffeur, they are being turned into complete pussies and you know they are the ones that are going to get teased.

    • Artie

      The kids getting teased are the few on the bus…

  6. Travis

    If the kids had just used Uber to get home, this problem would have never occurred.

  7. AJ

    I remember that picture of Janet Reno fame. You listen tooo me, Papaaa, I do not wont to go to Cooba.