04/03/2015 09:12 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Mum And Dad Found Guilty Of 'Unsubstantiated Child Neglect' For Letting Kids Walk Home Alone


A mum and dad have been found guilty of 'unsubstantiated' child neglect for allowing their 10-year-old and six-year-old kids walk home from the park alone.

Parents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv believe in a 'free-range' approach to raising their children to foster their independence.

But they were arrested when police found their children Rafi, 10 and Dvora, six, wandering the streets in Silver Spring, Maryland, on their own.

The couple were hauled before a judge by Child Protective Services and found guilty of 'unsubstantiated child neglect'.

This isn't a criminal charge but it means the couple's case will be kept on file and will likely lead to criminal charges if their children are found unaccompanied by an adult again.

It usually comes when the CPS has deemed parents to have neglected their children, but has insufficient information or witnesses to press charges or take action.

However, Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they will continue to bring up their own children as they see fit - whatever the consequences.

Danielle told the Washington Post: "We don't feel it was appropriate for an investigation to start, much less conclude that we are responsible for some form of child neglect.

"What will happen next time? We don't know if we will get caught in this Kafkaesque loop again."

The saga began last December when police picked up Rafi and Dvora as they waked home from the park after a member of the public reported it.

Their parents told police they often let their children walk on their own and that the kids knew the area well.

Danielle said: "We're just doing what our parents did. It was considered perfectly normal just one generation ago."

The Meitivs describe themselves as 'free-range parents' who encourage their two children to take journeys without supervision in order to build confidence and teach them about the outside world.

They give their kids a card to carry around that reads; "I'm not lost. I'm a free range kid."

But on the day police picked them up, they had left them at home.