A Maryland couple is being investigated by Child Protective Services because its kids walked around the family's Silver Spring neighborhood by themselves.
Danielle and Sasha Meitiv have two children, 10-year-old Rafi and 6-year-old Dvora. They eat dinner together, the kids have bedtimes and chores and they are not allowed to eat too much candy or watch too much television.
But the children are allowed to walk to and from the park together, without being accompanied by an adult. Now the parents are under investigation for child neglect.
The parents told WUSA9 they feel the investigation is an invasion of their privacy and infringes on their rights as parents.
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“I grew up in New York City in the '70s and nobody hesitated to let their kids walk around,” Danielle said. “The only thing that’s changed between then and now is our fear.
“They’re very proud of their independence,” she added. “They understand that they need to hold hands when they cross the street, they need to look both ways, make sure the light is with them.
One local playground the kids normally visit is two blocks away from their home. On one of their recent outings, a few local residents noticed them walking without parental supervision and alerted the police and CPS.
Since then, the Meitivs feel the family is being harassed.
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“They came and they interviewed kids at school without our permission or knowledge,” Sasha said. “And when they were talking to them, they were painting a picture of a world that is very scary.
“They were asking my son Rafi what he would do if he was grabbed by a stranger,” Sasha added. “Telling them, you know there are creeps out there that are just waiting to grab children if they’re walking by themselves.”
A CPS worker recently visited the parents at their home with a safety plan.
“When I said that I couldn’t sign the illegal paperwork before our attorney looked at it, she said if you don’t sign, we will take your kids right away and she called the police,” Sasha said.
Maryland law defines child neglect as a failure to provide proper care and supervision of a child. The law prohibits children younger than 8 to be alone in a car or home but makes no specific reference to the outdoors. It also states that you must be at least 13 years old to supervise a child under 8.