Maryland’s “Free-Range Mom” Danielle Meitiv Throws Her Hat into the Ring

You know the old saying: When life hands you a CPS investigation (or two), make lemonade. That’s what Danielle Meitiv of Silver Spring, Maryland, is doing and we are thrilled! The famously Free-Range mom is running for Montgomery Country County Council Member at Large, she told us, “to make this county the best place it could possibly be for kids.” The election is next year.

Danielle rose to national — international! stratospheric! — prominence when her kids, age 10 and 6 at the time, were picked up by cops for walking home from a park together, unaccompanied by an adult. The cops came to the Meitivs’ home, child protective services proceeded to investigate, and eventually the parents were found guilty of “unsubstantiated neglect,” a charge so absurd (if it’s unsubstantiated why not just drop it?) that the world took note. When a few months later the kids were scooped up yet again by the cops for walking home alone, and this time taken to an emergency center as if they were runaways or abandoned children, the Meitiv name became synonymous with zealous government overreach into everyday parenting decisions.

Since then, Danielle says, she has been fighting for the right of parents to raise their kids as they see fit: “Absent actual abuse, the parent has the right to decide what’s best for their children.”

What’s more, she said, allowing kids some independence is good for everyone. After all, children “are the future workers, voters, business builders. Children need to understand the world around them, and analyze it with courage, not fear.”

When adults are around, kids remain simply kids. They know someone bigger and more powerful is there to take over if they need it (or even if they don’t). But when adults are absent, the kids become the adults, making decisions, working out disputes, coming up with new ideas. They rise to the occasion. Danielle wants to make sure kids have this opportunity when their parents think they’re ready for it, without anyone fearing arrest.And in fact, her family’s ordeal prompted a change in the Maryland laws as to what can prompt a child welfare investigation. Simply granting kids some freedom is no longer enough “reason” to suspect the parents of abuse or neglect.

A community where kids are free to have an old-fashioned childhood is a healthy community. It’s better to rebuild trust, says Danielle, “rather than locking our kids up.”

In the end, she says, trust is what her campaign is all about: Trusting kids, trusting the community, and trusting parents. “I am not running on a ‘How to Raise Your Kids’ platform,” Danielle says, “but I think we can all agree it’s not a role for police and it’s not a role for child welfare.”

She’s got my vote…or would, if I lived there. Let’s hope her candidacy inspires other Free-Range Parents to run for office. – L

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Danielle Meitiv, America’s first Free-Range candidate.

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28 Responses to Maryland’s “Free-Range Mom” Danielle Meitiv Throws Her Hat into the Ring

  1. Linda June 6, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    Hooray! Way to go, Danielle. I look forward to an interview with her on your new podcast.

  2. Eric S June 6, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    I would vote for her if I could.

  3. SanityAnyone? June 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm #

    !כל הכבוד לדניאל
    Make the world a better place!

  4. Paul Klaassen June 6, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

    Fantastic!!!! Let us know how we can support her. (i.e. with campaign contributions and how to get on her campaign distribution list for things we can forward to others!)

  5. julie June 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm #

    Awesome. Good luck, Danielle!

  6. Workshop June 6, 2017 at 12:47 pm #

    In case you’re interested in helping.
    Lenore, please remove if it’s not appropriate.

    https://www.crowdpac.com/campaigns/269493/meitiv-for-montgomery

  7. Ed Juline June 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Can someone send the following message to Danielle?

    “Danielle,

    My friend Kit Bobko recently wrote a book called Nine Secrets for Getting Elected. https://www.amazon.com/Nine-Secrets-Getting-Elected-Candidates-ebook/dp/B071PF5WY2/ What you’re trying to do is important. The book usually sells for $297 but I’d like to send you a copy free. Please send me your e-mail address and I’ll send you a copy.

    Good luck,

    Ed”

  8. Theresa June 6, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

    Maybe she can knock Sense into cps no matter what name they use . They need it. Kids as guinea pigs or as adoption stock grab every day whether parents are guilty or not all over. One less place doing that would great.

  9. Caiti June 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    Wow that’s great! We need sane, thoughtful voices like hers at all levels of government.

  10. Steve N June 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    I don’t live in Maryland. But I do vote in Cook County, IL, land of dead people voting and other shenanigans, so I can probably find a way to cast a vote for Danielle. Good luck!

  11. Jessica June 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    Wow, good for her!!

  12. Vince June 6, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

    Just tossed her some $$$. Would be nice to have what used to be normal parents involved again.

  13. shdd June 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    Yea!! I live in Montgomery County Maryland. I will definitely vote for her.

    If you need campaign help at the Strathmore/Grosvenor metro I will be happy to pass out fliers.

  14. Wendy June 6, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    I’m thrilled that I live in Montgomery County and should be able to vote for Danielle Meitiv! Among the many aspects of her case that were disturbing to me were the actions of the police, who held her children in the police car without contacting the parents, or even asking the kids where they lived (around the corner). Thanks to her and her husband’s refusal to buckle down, I think our police have been better educated.

  15. Garfield Pennington June 6, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    Bravo to you folks. Freedom to Roam is a right of childhood. We need to invoke the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which supports such things. Also, I have in front of me something that I wrote some time back entitled, “What is the Real World Classroom?” which also is much in accord with your avocacies. Anyone interested can contact me at gazpen@gmail.com. Again, congratulations on your fine work.

    Dr Garfield Pennington, Associate Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia

  16. Betsy in Michigan June 6, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

    Fabulous news. Wish I could vote for her!

  17. Danielle Meitiv June 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

    Wendy & shdd – I’m having two events to launch the campaign: June 30 in Silver Spring & July 2 at Seneca Creek State Park. I would love to meet you there! You can learn more on my Facebook page.

    Everyone – thank you for the support! You can follow the campaign at http://www.facebook.com/danielle.meitiv
    If you would like to donate, go to: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/meitiv-for-montgomery
    (I’m phasing out the other site, but the donations that have already been made will still get to me).

    Thank you!

  18. Paul Shannon June 6, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    Bravo Danielle

  19. donald June 6, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    I hope that she wins by a landslide! If she does, she’ll send a message to all politicians worldwide. Decades back, one way to get votes is to smother children with protection. The world is changing. However, most politicians are still cautious about embracing free range as they’re unsure what it will do to them in the elections.

  20. SarahMom June 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    Go Danielle Meitiv!

    My husband and I were just reflecting on the way so many young kids make themselves orphans in their imaginary games. My take on this is that they *want* to practice the independence of not have the parents there to make all the decisions. I don’t want to over-analyze the how’s and why’s of this practice, but it’s certainly common in our social circle. Once I get over hearing myself killed off in the game, I love listening in from the other room and getting a glimpse of the creative solutions they come up with for the many “real-life” conundrums they inevitable face. I think that transfers into healthy decision-making as they grow.

  21. Puzzled June 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

    Having run for office a few times, and won once, I’ll be happy to share with you offline the tips I’ve picked up over the years. Feel free to contact me.

  22. Edward Hafner June 6, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    Great news. What date is the election.

  23. Annie Gramson Hill June 6, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

    She is my hero. I don’t have the temperament to run for any kind of office – not even dog catcher! – and I don’t consider that evidence of moral superiority.
    I admire people who have what it takes to stand on the stage and speak truth to power. It’s an impressive skill set.

  24. Katie G June 7, 2017 at 6:16 am #

    Has she got a catchy slogan? Not that I have any ideas!

  25. Danielle Meitiv June 7, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    Todah rabah “SanityAnyone?”!

  26. mer June 7, 2017 at 11:55 am #

    “They’re your kids, not the State’s”

  27. Papilio June 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm #

    I feel so relieved because ‘throwing the towel into the ring’ is a Dutch expression that means ‘giving up’, and I thought, oh no! But I see this means just the opposite 🙂

    Good luck, Danielle!

  28. Dingbat June 15, 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    Fantastic news! Good luck, Danielle! I have worked in areas where I saw this madness growing and getting out of control for some time. I followed your story rather closely when I first heard about it, seething over busy bodies. I know several who think children playing or walking is a crime, and think parents who stand beside their car for 2 min while their child is inside sleeping are criminals.

    @Wendy In my experience those willing to swoop in and save the children from walking and playing are over protective/paranoid parents themselves. An officer without kids would, most of the time, treat it completely differently. They will tell busy bodies to mind their own business.

    Departments need to somehow get the parents they employee to keep their heads in check and realize they have no right to institutionalize their parenting method madness. It does nothing but give credence to those reporting non crimes, and thanks to fears of bad press, people are often forced to pass it along.

    Same holds true for CPS, law firms, law makers… EVERYBODY!