Second case against Maryland 'free-range' parents dropped

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 22, 2015 6:40 PM

By John Clarke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Maryland officials have dropped the second of two cases against the so-called "free-range" parents who were charged with child neglect for letting their children walk home alone from a park, a state agency spokeswoman said on Monday.

Officials investigated the couple, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, of Silver Spring, Maryland, for incidents in December and April.

The December incident sparked national debate over allowing young children to act without parental supervision and over government overstepping.

The child protective services agency first found the Meitivs responsible for "unsubstantiated child neglect" after police stopped their 6-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son while walking home from a park in their Washington suburb. That charge was dropped in May.

The agency also investigated the Meitivs on neglect charges stemming from an April 12 incident where police picked up the children as they walked home from a different park. The children were held for five hours.

The April case has been dropped, Maryland State Department of Human Resources spokeswoman Paula Tolson said.

The two incidents gave state officials reason to re-evaluate child protective services' approach to "free-range" parenting and limit intervention to cases where children have been harmed or face serious and immediate danger. 

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Lisa Lambert)