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Meitiv Children Don't Come Home
April 14, 2015 permalink
Police picked up Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, children of the high-profile Meitiv, family and turned them over to Maryland child protectors. The parents only found out when the children failed to come home. They spent several panicked hours searching. CPS apprehension without notice is commonplace, though rarely mentioned in the press. Possibly because the public interest in this case is so high, CPS did not apply its usual tactic of placing the kids in foster care, but returned them to the family later that night, though only after extorting more concessions from the parents. Previous Meitiv stories:  . Two articles are enclosed.
‘Free-range children’ taken into custody again in Maryland
Earlier this year Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were investigated by Montgomery County after letting their children, 10 and six, walk home alone from a park a mile away from their house. (Jorge Ribas/The Washington Post)
The two Montgomery County children who were picked up last year while walking home alone were taken into custody again Sunday, authorities said.
The children of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were taken into custody by county police at a park about 5 p.m. and turned over to the Child Protective Services agency, said Capt. Paul Starks, the county police spokesman. The children’s mother said they were released to the couple at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
The parents said the children, who are 10 and 6 and have been described as “free-range children,” had been expected home at 6 p.m. Sunday. When that time passed, the parents said, they began looking for them.
“We have been searching for the kids for hours,’’ the mother said in a Facebook posting. They learned of the children’s whereabouts about 8 p.m. The mother said they later spent about a half-hour at the CPS offices in Rockville without being allowed to see them.
Starks said police were dispatched after a stranger saw the unaccompanied children in the park near Fenton and Easley streets. He said police took the children to the CPS office.
No charges had been placed, Starks said, and the matter remained under investigation.
After CPS investigated the earlier incident, the Meitivs were notified that a finding of “unsubstantiated neglect” had been made. That is one of three findings that can be made in neglect investigations. The others are “ruled out” and “indicated.”
An official said that the “unsubstantiated” finding is typically made when CPS has some information supporting a conclusion of child neglect, when seemingly credible reports are at odds with each other or when there is insufficient information for a more definitive conclusion.
The Meitivs’ case prompted debate about responsible parenting, child safety and the government’s role. The couple takes the view that children learn self-reliance by being allowed to make choices and progressively experience the world on their own.
Source: Washington Post
‘Free-range’ kids and our parenting police state
They were coming home from a park, on this gorgeous, blossoming weekend, after playing.
And for this, a 10-year-old and his 6-year-old sister ended up in the back of a squad car. Again. For hours this time.
In the bizarre nationwide culture war over how much freedom children should have to play outside alone, the youngest combatants — Rafi and Dvora Meitiv — are the ones being damaged the most.
This is getting pretty ridiculous. Somehow we’ve morphed from being a village that helps raise children to a parenting police state.
The Silver Spring siblings were about 2 1/2 blocks from their home Sunday when Montgomery County police got a call reporting them — gasp — playing alone.
“The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car and kept them trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before bringing them to the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours,” their mom, Danielle Meitiv, said to her Facebook friends. “We finally got home at 11 pm and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.”
What a pathetic way to fight about parenting styles. Because the kids are the biggest victims in all this.
Imagine the cops telling two young children to get into the car as they argue that they know their way home, they know where they are going and that their dad said they could walk home. This is what happened in December. And Rafi and Dvora had nightmares about police snatching them that time, their mom told me.
Mom and Dad were dragged into court for that incident, and the nation debated whether they are good or bad parents. Montgomery County ruled that they were guilty of unsubstantiated child neglect. Which means no one could decide who was right.
This time, police were called again by an adult worried about these kids playing outside alone.
Capt. Paul Starks, the county police spokesman, told The Washington Post that the children were taken into custody about 5 p.m. and turned over to Child Protective Services. They were released to their parents at 10:30 p.m. Starks said the matter remains under investigation.
Danielle Meitiv, a climate-science consultant, offered a scarier account of what happened to her children. “The cops said they would drive them home, then kept the kids in the patrol car for three hours,” she told me Monday. “Wouldn’t even let them out to use the bathroom.”
Imagine the message our society is sending the Meitiv kids by holding them in the back of a squad car and in a crisis center for nearly six hours because they were playing alone outside. And if what Danielle said is true — that police initially told the kids they were going to just drive them home — how is this not a kidnapping?
It’s outrageous, really.
If that adult who called police was worried about the kids, why not talk to them? Ask them where their parents were? Walk them home?
Or maybe it was someone who recognized the Meitiv kids, hated their parents’ very public “free-range” advocacy campaign — multiple television appearances included — and decided to get back at them.
If this is how we respond to children playing alone, my kids and I would’ve been locked up multiple times. Walking the dog around the block? Call the Capitol Police! Getting a Popsicle at the corner store? Alert the social workers! Getting me the cheese I ran out of while making dinner? Book ’em!
We need to get a grip. I get that it’s a scary thing to let kids go. But it is absolutely necessary for them to become normal, functioning adults.
My kids play basketball and lacrockey (a made-up hockey/lacrosse thing) in our alley on Capitol Hill. It’s not a suburban cul-de-sac, believe me. The other day, a motorcycle cop rode up to them and asked if they had seen a man running past them.
This was the search that ended on H Street in Northeast Washington, with the capture of a man suspected of killing a security guard at the U.S. Census Bureau.
Did I let them play in the alley the next day? You bet.
Because when I drove past the fatal crash on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway earlier this year, I did not stop driving, either. There are risks in living, no matter what.
Our rapid march toward police-state parenting has got to end.
Today, when you look at the readiness checklists for first grade, you’ll find that we are concerned only with their academic performance, being able to “expand sight words” or “read a graph” or “locate the seven continents and four oceans.” Really.
But take a look at the first-grade readiness checklist from a 1979 book, “Your Six-Year-Old — Loving and Defiant.”
Back then, your child was ready for first grade if he or she had two to five permanent teeth, were at least 6 years and 6 months old and these:
- Can your child tell, in such a way that his speech is understood by a school crossing guard or police where he lives?
- Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?
- Can he be away from you all day without being upset?
Yeah. Life skills, social development. Becoming actual people, not just little graph readers. We’ve kind of forgotten about that, haven’t we?
Source: Washington Post