“There Are Creeps Waiting to Grab Children” Cop Tells Kid

Children, rfiiffzhnt
10 and 6, are walking home from the park, by day. Someone calls the cops. The cops scoop up the kids and bring them home in a cruiser. And then — the nightmare begins. This is the story of the Meitiv family that I’ve been chronicling here  and here for a couple months. Now it has hit TV:

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80 Responses to “There Are Creeps Waiting to Grab Children” Cop Tells Kid

  1. BL January 15, 2015 at 4:35 am #

    Not allowed to consult a lawyer before signing a so-called “agreement”?

    The CPS should be indicted for treason.

  2. Mary January 15, 2015 at 6:36 am #

    CPS should be investigated for psychologically abusing these kids and harassment of the family. Disgusting on all fronts. Have any parents ever successfully sued a government agency so that a policy change resulted?

  3. lollipoplover January 15, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    The only creeps waiting to grab children are these fools at CPS.

  4. Emily January 15, 2015 at 8:07 am #

    But, these kids do have a “safety plan” in place. Their parents told them to walk together and look both ways before crossing the street, and they do. That’s “proper care and supervision” right there. “Proper care and supervision” doesn’t mean “24/7 adult surveillance,” it means “Supervise your kids until you trust that they can handle themselves.” These parents taught their kids to navigate their neighbourhood independently, and they do.

  5. common sense January 15, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    cps was started with the nobelist of ideals but is living proof of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutly. they go after the low hanging fruit who thinks the law protects them and they have right because they’re easy cases, god forbid they should have to investigate real abuse and hard cases. this way their seizure rates and case loads go up and they get more and more funding they then have to justify by saying “look more kids i must”protect” give us more tax dollar”. and anyone who doesn’t believe this needs to take a serious look at just who is getting investigated and their kids taken and what the year to year budget of the local cps office is. somebody mentioned once[i don’t reember who] that in cities and rural areas this doesn’t happen as much. of course not; in the city there are too many ‘real’ cases to check and in the countryside it’s too spread out. all the laws about protecting kids[supposidly] are the result of too many civil servants[what an oxymoron!] with too little to do in the suburban areas neeeding to justify their salatries and pensions.
    there needs to be a grass roots movement in this country to eliminate cps. no one is advocating or approving of child abuse but if it needs to be investigated use the police. that is what they are there for and they must obey the laws and yours rights, not some 2 week trained do gooder control freak with no kids themselve[usually] who has been given absolute power over without regards to your rights or4 the actual law. my sister is a social worker and you have never meet a person who is so convinced that she and only she is right on all subjects, she believes god should consult her on all decisions and take her advice. and she’s the rational one in her office. thai case should be spread across all media and keep infront…make the f*&^# cps worker explain himself[ he’ll say he can’t due to privacy] but under what law he make a parent sign a binding document without a lawyer.
    sorry about the rant but even though it’s been 10 years since it happened to me it still hits far too close to home.

  6. Will January 15, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    When I think of all the real cases that CPS (particularly in AZ) could have been investigating, and then I see this . . . well, it just angries up the blood.

  7. Mark January 15, 2015 at 8:56 am #

    Anyone know of resources for learning what the laws are in a specific state? Put another way, how would this family have researched this possibility ahead of time? are those laws, and their interpretations (such as ‘we’ve deemed letting children walk without adults around as constituting neglect’) publically available? how can any adults be held accountable to laws that are so obscure and whose interpretation are subject to such political/emotional variability?

  8. Tony Shreck January 15, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    “There Are Creeps Waiting to Grab Children”

    And they have official IDs.

  9. Cherub Mamma January 15, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    And then there was the 7mo infant that came to my home blind and functioning only as a 2mo due to abusive head trauma at the hands of her father. Bio Mom loves this man and swears that it was an accident and should be a learning experience for Dad. The shunt in her brain isn’t really discussed. And the fact that blood had to be drained off her brain again four months after the initial injury means little. Dad isn’t a bad guy. He’s a teddy bear. Baby girl goes back home to Mom who is still in a relationship with Dad. And Dad literally gets only 7 years probation, a $1000 fine and 100 hours community service for nearly killing his daughter. (A nurse in the PICU after the brain surgery I was there for said she remembered the baby girl and how no one thought she was initially going to survive.) I was the foster mom. (I’m free range and the story above scares the crap out of me.) CPS is getting all sorts of things wrong!

  10. lollipoplover January 15, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    They were asking my son what he would do if he were grabbed by a stranger.”

    He WAS grabbed by a stranger.
    You, CPS, are the Stranger Danger. YOU and the police are now the bad guys that we as parents need to teach our children to be be wary of.

    No child was ever alone. They walked hand in hand obeying traffic laws in proper outerwear. That alone should be recognized for some good parenting points. Mine would still be wearing shorts with those stupid high socks.
    As a parent who lives in a community where children routinely walk *alone* together at these ages-to school, to friends, to explore, I find the persecution of GOOD parents utterly outrageous. Were they exploding cherry bombs in your mailbox?
    Doing skateboard tricks off you flower beds? Probably not.

    Walking While Young is NOT a crime.
    Use some common sense and stop wasting tax payer money on these ridiculous witch hunts. There should be open disclosure of the people who called 911 for a non-emergency and reported these kids when they were doing nothing wrong.

    Several people called 911?
    Is your life really that pathetic that the sight of happy children walking to a park makes you go to last night’s CSI?
    These paranoid busybodies need to be identified so kids can avoid going near their homes and for mischief night purposes.

  11. Jennifer January 15, 2015 at 10:00 am #

    It would appear that the “creeps that are waiting to grab children” are people with official badges. These children were perfectly capable of managing a trip to the park on their own. Some busybodies have so little to do with their time that they have to insert themselves into other people’s lives whether they’re invited or not.

  12. common sense January 15, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    cherub mamma, cps did’t get it right becase it was a truely dis functional and dngerous home . it would not have been politically corect[how i HATE that phase and the thinking behind it ]to remove the child..they would have been discriminating against the [pick you term] poor, drug addicted, violent etc. can’t do that it would require thinking and reasoning. instead balance it out by going after good parents and hope the taxpayers don’t relize why, the dumb shmucks will think you’ve wiped out serious abuse. if cps was truly doing their job, there would be no child left in a drug house or truly abusive or neglectful homes, but that is where the most children in need of being removed are, because oh dear that would be discrimination[and too dangerous and hard for us to do oh me oh my]sorry my sarcasm switch is set on high today

  13. Abigail January 15, 2015 at 10:43 am #

    I think if everyone throttled back on passing judgement and looking to place blame this wouldn’t be so ridiculous. Making blanket CPS condemnations doesn’t really account for the vast, nearly incalculable, variables that are encountered and yet the agencies must apply standard protocols. I want to live in a world where we all protect children without placing them in bubbles too. In that world, those neighbors would know the parents and call them with concerns. CPS wouldn’t be a faceless agency with little individual social worker discretion.
    I’m so glad to see the comments that change should be grassroots. We can get to know our neighbors. We can participate in public information campaigns within our communities to promote independence without fear. It will take effort and energy to stem the tide of fear from reactionary communities who have been gripped by sensationalized media.

  14. Brooks January 15, 2015 at 10:56 am #

    I guess I’m a bad parent. My 9 yr. old walks to school by herself most days. Our street is busy with school traffic, so many people can see her. She walks home in a pack of girls. I let my kids, now 13 and 9, (but also did when they were much younger), stay in the car if they wanted to while a ran an errand, even in the summer. You’d think a 9 year old, or even a 4 year old, would have sense to get out of the car if it got too hot. I let them go get stuff in the grocery store. We split up to save time. We leave them home alone all the time. I let my kids sit alone at the movie theater, even if I’m there. I do a lot of stuff like that. I dare someone to stop me.

  15. common sense January 15, 2015 at 11:02 am #

    so abigail the reason the comments are reationary is becase there were variables to be considered, the point is cps did not and had no intention of considering them. arehere good cps workers? yes .my feeling having delt with them is that they are and far between. get to know your neighors? great idea in theory. what if they are of the extreme helicopter type who would have no hesitation in calling cps for anyone who parenting differs from theirs. as a matter of fact there is media efforts, unfortunately they are of the type” if you think there’s a problem with a child call the police or cps, don’t confront the parents yourself”.the reasoning apparently is all people you don’t know are obviously armed phsycos[please note sarcasm]. as long as cps and the police apply kneejerk reaction[child out alone, so parents are negelectful abusers] nothing,NOTHING, will change except for the worse. if the parents are wealthy enough they can call the agencies bluff but even then it costs thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. what of those you can’t afford it? that’s what cps is counting on. maybe what needs to happen is a national defense fund for those parents to call on or a network of lawyers willing to take pro bono cases. enble enough people to fight back and maybe cps will think twice.

  16. Margaret Moon January 15, 2015 at 11:20 am #

    The citizens have voted for these “protections,” or at least the people who created them, and then when it pinches there is an outcry. Bureaucrats will always do whatever it takes to protect their jobs. The biggest problem is that it’s very difficult to undo these laws and unseat the “officials” once they are in place.

  17. SOA January 15, 2015 at 11:26 am #

    I always follow those statements with “Statistically they are more likely to be killed in a car wreck but you don’t hesitate to put them in the car. And statistically if someone is going to molest them it will be someone that is close to the family like an Uncle or the mother’s boyfriend or a family friend or a coach so yeah……the true molester is someone you let around them all the time.” They usually have no response to that one.

  18. Neil M. January 15, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    Unfortunately, I suspect the only way these parents are going to win is to obtain counsel and fight it out. CPS is not going to back down on its own, because their incentives point the other way. If CPS interferes and nothing bad ever happens to these kids on their walks, people will just thank them for looking out for children. If CPS does NOT interfere and something happens, there will be investigations both civil and criminal, and heads will roll. Clearly, interference is the most prudent course for CPS, if not for the children.

    Of course, the more fiercely the family fights the more stubbornly CPS will dig in. It’s one of those finger-puzzles, really; once you’re trapped inside, you can’t escape no matter how hard you pull.

  19. Donna January 15, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    In general, I agree with Abigail. This is a bad situation but the reactionary attack on all of CPS is counterproductive. I deal with CPS workers regularly and none are looking to seize children for no reason. They have plenty to do without adding more. While I do think CPS doesn’t fully consider the ramifications of removing the children before doing so – they look only at the bad conduct of the parents and don’t balance the effect of that versus the effect of removal to a sufficient degree – few CPS agents are looking for reasons to take kids. I’ve had a few cases where I thought the parenting, although completely crappy, was sufficient enough that removal would actually impact the kids worse than leaving them in place, but none where I thought the parents were good or even mediocre and were being treated unfairly or picked on. In fact, in all cases I’ve thought the parents deserved to lose their children, but have not believe that the children deserved to lose their parents in all cases.

    The main problem with CPS is that it is a crap job with very little pay and endless hours. The job has EXTREMELY high turnover with absolutely no continuity – staff changes so quickly that it is uncommon for me to see the same case worker at two consecutive 3 month reviews. Most of the case workers I deal with are fresh out of school, are idealistic, have little idea what they are doing and have nobody with experience to look to for advice and, very importantly, few are parents themselves. And it will likely remain that way since this is a very quick burn-out job.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but it is definitely not to insist that CPS workers are just out to steal kids however they can get them because that is totally not true.

  20. Warren January 15, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Unfortunately the laws are being twisted and distorted to give the authorities all sorts of power.

    The law about leaving them unsupervised in the home was designed for kids being left unattended while bad parents went off for hours on end. Not for letting the kids go to the park. By this law, you could be charged for letting your kid sleep while you took the trash to the curb.

    As for the 13 yr old law, it was designed as a benchmark for babysitters, not two siblings playing in the park.

    I really hope they get a lawyer that cares, and is willing to fight a system that needs to be torn down to its foundation and rebuilt.

  21. common sense January 15, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    donna i don’t know where you practice law but i am for the moment am going to assume it’s in a medium to large city. in such an evironment they don’t have time or case workers to deal with such conplaints as children walking to park or back alone, they have enough bigger fish to go after. go to a small town who been given the same percentage state budget and an incentive of 3-4 thousand dollars in state grants for “support” of each child they remove and place in foster care and it’s much different. one of those fine upstanding, only for the good of the children cps workers was overheard[by my lawyer no less] that this would teach “those soccer moms they need to respect us”. this after i was falsly accused of beating my 15 yearold daughter. so don’t tell me they don’t have the time or inclination to harrass people and ruin lives. and don’t blame it on inexperiance, the so called woman who made the above comment was a supervisor.

  22. Sharon January 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    I also live in Montgomery County, MD. This week I was asked if I wanted to observe my 13 year old 7th grader dissecting a frog. I asked my daughter do you want your parents to watch you dissect a frog? She said school open house day was enough and she would tell us about it when she returned home and we returned from work.

    We live over 2 miles from her elementary school and five miles from her middle school so we have never had the option of walking home.

    Please keep your kids walking now and in the future!!

  23. Vicky January 15, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    This is horrendous and unconscionable! DCF/CPS have gotten much too powerful and power hungry. They care less for children than they do their own advancement. Police have become their SS troops.

    A bit of factual information, from the government it’s self;
    According to the Department of Justice, most child sexual
    abuse victims are molested by family members (34%), or close
    acquaintances (59%). (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).
    Here’s the breakdown thus far, in the percentage of new sex crimes:
    Close acquaintances – (59%)
    Family members – (34%)
    Police Officers – (3.0%)
    Strangers – (1%)
    Teachers – (0.7%)
    Clergy – (0.3%)
    Registered Offenders – (Too few to show at only 0.17%)

    According to the government, Police Officers are more dangerous to your children than strangers, teachers, clergy or registered sex offenders!

  24. Diane Campbell January 15, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    I applaud the parents and the children for doing what people have been doing for thousands of years… walking outside.

  25. Vicky January 15, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    To Donna:

    Too often when CPS/DCF get involved in your life, unless it’s due to a clear open and shut case of a child not fed anything in days, beaten and bleeding or worse abuse, they unconstitutionally make yours and your children’s live a living hell. Oftentimes stealing children from their happy homes or from school and placing them in abusive situations. Children have and are dying from CPS/DCF mismanagement and criminal activities. Many Police Officers, judges and healthcare workers mistakenly and harmfully believe that CPS/DCF workers are trained investigators, medical professionals and psychologists. They are not. Most have not had a back ground check. They are grossly under qualified to be anywhere near your children, let alone make life changing decisions about them. They have grown so powerful and far reaching they can be likened to the SS soldiers of Hitler. They’ve taken over policing of schools in many states where the school calls them instead of parents or police when there’s a problem with a child. They have no governing body at the federal level, no Federal Attorney General. They are the only government program without one. They make up their own rules and do whatever they want. That’s why we see such inconsistency across the board. This needs to end.

  26. Donna January 15, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    common sense – I work in a small (100,000 people) city and a small town. The small city because it is where I live and the small town because it is where I practiced as a public defender for many years and the court asked me to take appointed CPS cases when I left the public defender office.

    I’ve also been involved with CPS in a completely separate suburban county through my best friend who had a report. The whole issue was resolved and the case closed in one 10 minute visit with nobody hunting up ways to steal their children. And they would not have had to dig too hard for reasons to take these kids if they had wanted to take them considering their mother was committed to a mental institution between the initial call and the home visit.

    “they don’t have time or case workers to deal with such conplaints as children walking to park or back alone, they have enough bigger fish to go after.”

    They HAVE to deal with such complaints if made. CPS HAS to respond to every single complaint that comes to their office, even if only to quickly talk to everyone and close the file. They don’t have the luxury of not dealing with complaints about children walking to the park alone if such complaints are made.

    “the so called woman who made the above comment was a supervisor.”

    The supervisor in the small town I work in has been out of college for a little over a year, and she’s already been a supervisor for 6 months. “Supervisor” absolutely doesn’t mean experience. The small city actually has a much better retention rate for CPS workers than the small town. People actually want to live in the city.

  27. Donna January 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

    Vicky – Likening CPS workers to Hitler’s SS completely negates a single thing you have to say, whether it is valid or not and I have no desire to discuss the subject with you further.

  28. lollipoplover January 15, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

    This story also made the Washington Post:

    Almost all the comments are pro-Free Range and support raising capable, self-reliant kids just like this family is clearly doing. This whole incident started with the phone call. Next, police for not letting them continue walking and pursuing this as a *crime* to report to CPS in the first place. That CPS acted so aggressively on such a trivial matter just adds insult to this idiocy. But it all started with the NO GOOD neighbor that reported these kids to police.

    I hope Montgomery County, Maryland realizes what a horrible PR blunder they just committed by having their police force round up walking children. It now tops my list of “Worst Places to Raise Healthy, Active Kids” in this country.
    What happened to the “Let’s Move” movement from the White House to combat the deadly trend of childhood obesity and inactivity in the US? Every commercial on TV tells kids to get moving and strive for at least 1 hour of exercise each day. Yet the police detain them for walking to the park! The sight of children playing and laughing outdoors used to mean you live in a great neighborhood.
    What the hell are we teaching our kids by detaining them for walking?

  29. SanityAnyone? January 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Threat of 30 days in jail? “What’re you in for?” asks the woman who robbed a convenient store at gunpoint. “Well, I let my kids play in the park without me.” This makes no sense. This has to stop!

    The ABSURDITY is driving me nuts.

    Take children away from a wonderful home because they might talk to strangers. Next, make them live with potentially harmful strangers who don’t share their family’s values and who don’t love them.

    Make families go to court and scare them to death. Drain the college funds for lawyers. Cause loss of work, criminal records, health-damaging stress, community shame. Imprison children with nothing to do but the swingset and tablets for 13 years.

    Raise kids in cages, never letting them leave their yards until they are 13, and then let them free in the world. Make them ride bikes only on their driveways. Don’t let them knock on a friend’s door around the block. At their bar mitzvah, let them proclaim “Now I am a man and can walk to the end of the street, plus I can take care of an unlimited number of younger kids though I have never cared for myself!” Give them keys to a car 3 years later and tell them to go for it, though they have no spatial knowledge from their caging. Send them to college a short time later with no coping skills.

    Arrest people if their kids get home on the bus before parents get home from their commute.

    All the do-gooders, busy-bodies, CPS agents, police, Moms who judge other Moms, and everyone else take a look at what precedence you are setting when you call 911 on a kid in a “normal” situation, or respond with threats. You could easily be the next accused, perhaps when you fail to unbuckle your sleeping toddler and drag him across an icy parking lot to pay for gas.

  30. lollipoplover January 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    So much bothers me about this but I am BAFFLED as to how the school let CPS interview the kids without the parent’s permission. I have signed elementary permission forms so far this year for actual field trips, but also for PG movies(?) and sex ed. So allowing them to talk to CPS without permission blows my mind.

  31. Jenn January 15, 2015 at 2:36 pm #

    How did my kids ever survive? I live in a very urban area of my city. My just turned 9 year old walks to school by himself, a whole 6 blocks, crossing busy roads and all. My 12 year old has been taking the bus for years across the city. all on his own. Sometimes when the younger is sick, the older has to stay home from school to watch him, because I can’t miss work. And we don’t have cell phones. I just expect my kids to check in at certain time. I care alot about my kids. I am just raising them the way i was raised. The world isn’t a scarier place. The 24 hour news just makes us think it is.

  32. Maggie in VA January 15, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    Wow. Why is it that in so many of these incidents where CPS is caught being frighteningly unreasonable and possibly criminal, they dig themselves in deeper and deeper. MoCo CPS sounds like a big bag o’ crazy.

  33. Joe Milligan January 15, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    When almost the exact same thing happened to my wife and just over in Virginia, it turns out that the “law” the cops were referring to was not a law at all, but CPS guidelines. The cops here are enforcing CPS guidelines as if they are law.

    I see here also that officials are telling the parents they are in violation of a law.

    Are they? Has anyone verified that the law they are supposedly violating is an actual statute? Or, as they did with us, are they just making it up?

  34. Edward January 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    This item is getting a lot of attention on the two articles posted on the Washington Post site. This was mine:

    The child protection industry in America is expert at using dimwitted legislators to enact laws that benefit only the industry bank accounts. Then CPS establishes fasciast, dictatorial procedures to – save your children….or violate the parents’ and kids’ rights as citizens of the United States? (Yes; I know, kids are considered “property” not people in this country. Lets think about that a moment or more.) And when all else fails, send in that militarized police force lobbing concussion grenades, guns blazing, flags flying high to be your kids’ “heroes”!
    Why aren’t the names of the original accuser and CPS workers being made public so we can praise them here for a “job well done”?

  35. jimc5499 January 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

    A few years ago, two CYS (our county’s version of CPS) workers were fired from their jobs and should have faced criminal charges, but, they were left off of the hook by the DA. One of the workers removed a 6 month old child from her Mother, just because she had a feud with the Mother in high school. This was found out when she was overheard bragging about it in a restaurant by a Court Clerk. The second worker who was fired was the co-worker that she was bragging to, for not reporting it.
    The worker falsified a complaint on a child abuse hot line, knowing that the complaint would come to her, investigated the complaint, lied to a Judge to get an order for removal and falsified documents that stated that the Mother had failed a drug test.

    No charges were pressed and the County paid a settlement to the Mother on the condition that she remained silent.

  36. lollipoplover January 15, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    “Raise kids in cages”
    We’ve been watching The Little Rascals DVD’s and one our favorites is “Forgotten Babies” with Spanky put in charge of babysitting so the older brothers can go swimming.
    Spanky is 4.
    It’s ridiculously long, but *remarkable*.


  37. hancock January 15, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    I suspect the issues with CPS mostly depend on who is supervising that particular office. There appears to be little consistency from county to county on who simply gets questioned, and who loses their kids.

    I wish that 911 would not take anonymous complaints, and that CPS would be forth coming with who made the complaint. If people knew they could be confronted for ratting out neighbors they disagree with, or sued for false reporting, they may think twice about what they thought was an emergency.

  38. Renee Anne January 15, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    I was reading this article just this morning and I was absolutely FURIOUS about it. I grew up in the 1980s and was required to walk over a mile to school by myself at 10 years old. In fact, KINDERGARTENERS were required to walk that distance, as well…and this was in 1990-91 (I was in 5th grade).

    Also, CPS should be slapped for their behavior.

  39. Abigail January 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    @commonsense, I suppose I wasn’t clear, I think the neighbors passed judgement too quickly. I think helicopter & free-range parents do best when we consider putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes and recognize that there are so many ways to parent and raise successful, happy children. I also don’t find the comments reactionary, I find communities reactionary.

    We have so many opportunities to be constructive and build momentum in a positive way. I really appreciated the reminder in these comments that many times regulations and laws are not be clearly understood even by law enforcement. This is such a major distinction and I would imagine is especially challenging to many families without resources (time or money) to clarify that difference.

  40. Eric S January 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    Oh…this makes me livid! I would win the case. Then I would sue all parties involved that made my family’s life a living hell because of this. A big ol F U CPS and local police. Make an example of them. This world keeps getting worse and worse. And not the crimes, but the ignorance and sanctimony of society.

  41. Cassie January 15, 2015 at 4:44 pm #

    Wow. That video was like a spoof.

    “In many ways they are a traditional family… they eat dinner together, they set limits on lollies and TV, they have bedtimes”.

    She says it like they are strange old-fashioned parents.

  42. Shelby January 15, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

    I better hide those pictures of our 8 year old driving a tractor. CPS are thugs. All children in this country would be better off without this agency. Look at the mess they made of Foster and Adoption. We need as many areas of the “over reaching” Goverment privatized as soon as possible.

    We all have done it or know someone that grew up walking to school or to the bus stop – OVER A MILE!

    The fireflies were our night lights and hide/seek was the best part about staying out after dark.

    Get GOVERNMENT out of parenting before all our kids are unable to do anything by themselves.

    My philosophy about parenting is “WORK YOURSELF OUT OF A JOB”. Your child should be ready for anything by the time you let them go out on their own.

  43. Puzzled January 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Blaming DCS is too easy. The reality is that we, the public, put our employees in a bizarre situation. We demand that they fix every problem and make sure nothing will ever go wrong – then get angry at the results. Want to end police militarization, DCS overreach, and so on? Get the public to stop wringing their hands in fear and demanding that these agencies fix every problem.

  44. Emily Morris January 15, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    I agree about not blaming CPS for everything (and I pretty much find CPS the scum of the earth).

    Bad CPS is merely a product of our society. This site is an oasis in a world where too many scream fear and perfection.

    That culture of fear and anti-community needs to change if we want anything to change.

  45. Marie January 15, 2015 at 7:10 pm #

    I live in DC and MoCo is a suburb of Washington and Silver Spring (especially if they were anywhere near the Discovery Center) is an urbanish area. One while dining at the downtown Silver Spring Chic-fil-A I spotted some kids and asked my husband “free-range or feral?” “Free-range” he answered. The Meitiv kids weren’t rare just a minority.
    People call 911 for all sorts of stuff, and I understand the authorities have to check things out. However, the threat that if the parent didn’t sign a piece of paper the county was going to take away their children is just shocking and sad. Sad because people without a lawyer or who can’t afford a lawyer, can be bullied into signing away their rights. Shocking because if someone mentions the have a lawyer the agent should have been smart enough not to threaten, that’s just asking for a lawsuit.
    The way MoCo is applying the law doesn’t make sense because they they should be providing limo service to every under 13 year old kid in the county because kids aren’t supervised at the bus stops, on their way to or from.

  46. LauraL January 15, 2015 at 7:12 pm #

    Why did the news not follow up on the idea that “there are strangers just waiting!” with statistics from the FBI? I’m so, SO irate.

  47. LauraL January 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm #

    My local news just aired this piece. Did they include that crime rates are going down and that kidnappings are usually by family members? NOPE.

  48. Melinda January 15, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    The crazy part is the problem I noticed is that seems not to be CPS at first but the police. In many cases this is all initiated by the police who could just make sure the kid was ok and then go on their way. In Michigan CPS has rules about taking your kids but the police have NONE.

  49. Sistergirl January 15, 2015 at 10:33 pm #

    The parents broke the law. Under Maryland law, a child must be at least eight years old to be left alone in a house or car. State law also says a child must be at least 13 years old to baby-sit another child.

    It seems like free range parents really don’t want to be bothered with their kids. This may work in rural area however, in urban areas this thinking is not safe. A child in MD was raped going to the Seven Eleven and they couldn’t find the man so you think the police is going to ignore two little kids on a business parkway? That makes no sense.

  50. Emily Morris January 15, 2015 at 11:10 pm #

    Sistergirl, neither of those laws apply here. They were not home alone nor were they babysitting each other.

    Freerange parents love their kids enough to bother teaching them things. Parents like you see your kids as nothing more than accessories to tote around.

  51. Malu Jonas January 16, 2015 at 5:02 am #

    We have similar laws in NZ, but not yet as extreme, although we are heading that way. I have an ex-husband who ‘reported me’ for getting my daughter to walk 2 blocks on her own, from my home to a school hall, at 6pm. She was a feisty fit 10 year old girl, and her little brother and I took the same route half an hour later. We live in a sleepy suburb.
    My ‘choice’ to let my daughter do this was questioned by many. Crazy, crazy, crazy.

  52. lollipoplover January 16, 2015 at 7:48 am #

    I have an 1l year-old daughter who has been biking 1.5 miles to school since 1st grade. She takes her younger sister (8) and other younger children as well. We live in a large suburban town. She is a school “line leader” and responsible for getting the younger students who walk and bike from their classrooms and crossing the road. She also babysits for several families in our neighborhood(one she met through being a line leader). These families realize age is just a number and actual maturity and responsibility do not magically appear at age 13, but with parental guidance and coaching learned through real experiences, like safely navigating our neighborhood and being aware of your surroundings.

    “It seems like free range parents really don’t want to be bothered with their kids.”

    This would be true if you mean I don’t want to be bothered with my kids LIVING IN MY BASEMENT UNTIL THEY ARE 40 because I never taught them anything. Yet I spend countless hours preparing my children for the real world- which includes teaching them how to navigate short distances safely without a police escort. They do it remarkably well. Better than most adults actually.

  53. common sense January 16, 2015 at 8:09 am #

    sistergirl..if you think the world and maryland in particular are so unsafe do you request an armed guard when you go out? or are you alert to your surroundings? do you have a plan if something happens? in otherwords are you prepared? think how you got that way. it didn’t just happen it took practice to become a habit. these kids were prepared and practised. i just watch a report on fox about this case, the reporter showed the intersection [during rush hour] and was commenting on “how dangerous and busy it was, totaling ignoring the crossing light and signals.
    also, if you think this is dangerous due to”all the predators waiting “to grab them[statistics please] why don’t you work to make it safer, rather than trying to perpetuate the fear. maybe work to get cops to walk a beat instead of sitting in a car or office waiting to investigate instead of actively prevent? or is that too mu
    ch of a reach for you or maybe you feel it’s too dangerous for the cops?
    free range parents love their children , if enough to ensure they are prepared for life and know what to do even in emergencies. they never forget it is their job to raise competent confident adults who don’t fear the world, not airhead perpetual children who can’t handle the littlest thing without running to mommy and/or daddy.
    there was a fire at a college in the news a while back..what struck me was when the alarms went off, instead of exiting the building as safty drill had shown, they CALLED THEIR PARENTS. not the fire department, not their fellow residents.
    how can you excpect them to function in the world if you never let them.

  54. SWaldron January 16, 2015 at 8:19 am #


    In Lenore’s article on this case at Reason.com, the mother names the CPS worker. The above case, also names the CPS worker. This guy is apparently being sued for botching an investigation so badly, the child witnessed his mother being stabbed to death. Maybe the CPS worker is trying to overcompensate?

  55. ChicagoDad January 16, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    I don’t know about “statistics”, but how would you feel if something happened to you and your spouse, and your kids had no choice but to be more independent just to get by, and they weren’t ready for it?

    What if the future is just a little bit harder than the present, a college education doesn’t mean a job, and it’s hard to earn a living, will your kids be prepared to figure out their own path?

    How could you live with yourself if it was your kid who was denied a childhood because of your overblown fears? How could you live with yourself if your fears and “see something, say something” attitude destroyed other families and ruined the childhoods of strangers?

    It’s a different world out there, don’t you watch the news? New technologies, less crime, a changing globe, but less common sense and less practical thinking with each passing day. Does constant surveillance and constant correction give your kids the tools to thrive in this new world? Or does it substitute their judgement with yours? Is your judgement really all that sound?

    I hear you say these kids are too young to be trusted with independence and responsibilities until they are old enough to be treated with suspicion and fear. I say they need independence and responsibilities when they are young so they won’t become the sort of teens you fear.

  56. E January 16, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    I thought I saw a promo for this to be on the CBS Morning show, but I didn’t actually see it air (I’ve been in and out).

    This sounds awful as presented.

  57. Mike January 16, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    My blood pressure rises when I read stuff like this. In 15 years they’re going to wonder why an entire generation of adults won’t be able to make themselves toast without mom and dad’s help. Meanwhile in PA a 3 year old dies from torture in after CPS investigated and shrugged their shoulders.
    “When he disagreed with one of the officers about the dangers that walking alone posed to children, she asked him:
    ‘Don’t you realize how dangerous the world is? Don’t you watch TV?”‘ Yeah, the world is dangerous. Nosey neighbors and right trampling suburban cops aren’t making it any better. CPS might as well put me on speed dial now.
    My daughter is 3 months old and I’ll be damned if I let her grow up in fear.

  58. Glen January 16, 2015 at 10:09 am #

    I just wrote an article on how to protect yourself from government employees who try to take your kids.

  59. Papilio January 16, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    “We live over 2 miles from her elementary school and five miles from her middle school so we have never had the option of walking home.”
    Provided that it’s safe for kids, those are pretty good cycling distances though. US kids miss out.

  60. chris January 16, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    The parents should sue the state(police dept) and the agency that is harassing them.

  61. chris January 16, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    The parents should sue the state(police dept) and the agency that is harassing them, (for harassment).

  62. *JazzyMom* January 16, 2015 at 11:34 am #

    “Freerange parents love their kids enough to bother teaching them things. Parents like you see your kids as nothing more than accessories to tote around.”

    What I do take issue with is immature comments like this. When does something like this ever promote a conversation, let alone a “cause” or style of parenting? How does this make the point that Freerange parenting is superior when you insinuate that parents who feel more protective, or in any situation Don’t Parent Like You Do, simply don’t… or even can’t possibly… love their children “enough” or as much as they love their own children or… gasp… AT ALL… due to perceived heinous faults in differences in parenting style.

    There are extremes in every parenting style, this included. Be wary of becoming the extreme opposite of Attachment Parenting as interpreted via Motherhood.com. 😉 I’m middle of the road on Freerange versus any other parenting “style” (avoiding abuse). I use what works for our family and toss the rest. My girls are all growing up with confidence in how to use their intelligence and approaching the world.

    Were these particular parents in this particular article treated fairly? I don’t think there’s enough information. We have only these parents side, and an awful lot of CPS bashing and anti-government paranoia. I’ll be honest… I think there’s a lot more to this particular story.

  63. JP Merzetti January 16, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    How is it that we collectively feel okay that a child protective services worker is McJobbed?
    The low pay removes the respect from the position.
    (Not to mention proper training, and the wisdom to conduct such a socially sensitive application of reasonable problem solving skills.)
    And out they go – like a team of parking ticket writers.
    Kids are so damned special to us, as a society, apparently, that we mandate the dregs of the socio-economic food chain to apply proper policy.

    When one has lived through a spacially free childhood and attained independence as a teenager in the most natural of ways – of course that perspective is going to challenge the notion that this kind of freedom is no longer possible.

    It is written: We are a free society.
    This does not mean maybe, or sort of, or it kind of depends on who you are or how your bank account swells…
    It does mean that it is enshrined in the laws of the land.

    I “felt” freedom, as a kid. I understood implicitly what it was, what it meant, the value of it, and the attending responsibility attached to it. I was expected to be smart enough. It ran through my community like the common social order that demanded it. We thrived.

    And now, somehow….children are not afforded that freedom. It is not for them. It has become an “un-natural” thing.
    They will obey, swear allegiance, parade on “independence day” and move quietly and invisibly through the public realm as if constant small apologies for their existence – as if their vulnerabilities have become the supreme disorder that we must medicate, supervise, fix.

    No longer can we just simply enjoy their wonder, their exuberance, their energy and the sheer beauty of their being. This has all become suspect to the denigration of our be-nighted adult selves…as if some dark side of our social construct has stormed the ramparts of our entire body politic and taken over.
    As if we all must live now inside a Hollywood B-movie cheap and shoddy thrill-a-minute nail-biting heart-pounding suspense thriller.
    Dreaming of Disney…..and all we get is Hitchcock.

    The point is: parents are not now given the benefit of the doubt. In any kind of natural and easy way.
    We have collectively lost our minds…bashed about by a microwave-minute set of quick and impulsive decisions, suspicions.
    We spy, we cry, we think we know what’s what. We drag pulp fiction into the lives of children….the everyday activities of them…..and invade their sensibilites with the notion that their very existence is nothing more than 100% constant risk.

    Do we not ever consider the impact that this has on them?
    We care…enough to remove their freedom.
    They are no longer safe, to be free.
    They are only free to be safe.
    If they are NOT safe…then Alcatraz swings wide its dungeon doors.
    In the click and lock of them….is the best we have to offer.
    How very sad.
    We have come so far, it seems – and left them behind.

  64. Emily Morris January 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm #


    When people like Sistergirl accuse teaching basic skills as bad parenting, yes, I’m going to make nasty comments. Logically, anyone who believes teaching basic skills has no interest in raising a capable human being.

    Crazy town? Maybe. But there’s a lot of truth to it.

  65. Buffy January 16, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

    I’m only marginally competent at computers. Can anyone tell me how to make it so this video doesn’t immediately start every time I visit the page? (Yes, I know about turning the sound off. I don’t have that option on my work computer, on which I’m allowed to visit personal websites at lunch.)

  66. Warren January 16, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    What more information do you want?

    The kids were walking home after playing in the park. Some nosey ass busybody didn’t like it, and called the cops. The cops threatened violence, cps threatened to take the kids unless the parent signs an agreement, and cps sneak around and interiew the kids at school.

    The only danger these kids have faced is the overbearing authorities that harass their family.

    I also take issue with the school for not informing the parents of the at schoold cps interview, or did the cps caseworker lie and say they had parental consent.

  67. Mandy January 16, 2015 at 3:06 pm #

    I live in Bethesda, just a few miles from Silver Spring. In our neighborhood, I see kids out and about all the time. Both are safe areas, as long as you know how to cross the street safely.

    Growing up in S Florida I walked home from school every day, a distance of about a mile, starting at 7 years old. At the beginning of the school year I walked with a 10-year-old neighbor until I knew the route.
    I’m appalled by this story and what it might mean for my kids. My oldest is 2, so he’s not going to the park alone yet. But he knows how to get there! We had a new babysitter who didn’t know the neighborhood, so I told her to have my son direct her to the park, and he did so successfully. I’m Happy he’s developing those free-range skills.

  68. Max January 16, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    There are also creeps that will shoot kids because they have something scarey like a toy gun. If they have a large backpack it might be interpreted as a bomb. Unfortunately these creeps also have badges and are above the law.

    Go to countries outside the nanny state of the US and kids this age are allowed to take the train by themselves.

    Hey US… you are a nation of pussies.

  69. Donna January 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm #

    “I also take issue with the school for not informing the parents of the at schoold cps interview, or did the cps caseworker lie and say they had parental consent.”

    CPS doesn’t need parental consent to talk to children. They do often try to get consent first, but they don’t actually need it. Kinda makes sense dotcha think considering the subject of the investigation is the parents?

    As for what other information Jazzymom wants, my guess is someone else’s version of what is happening. Believe it or not, people don’t always tell the truth, even in the press.

    But this situation is very believable as reported to me (well it is unbelievable that the police and CPS were called at all, but everything after that) – some busybody called the police, the police called CPS, CPS tried to investigate (either because they really think something is wrong or because they have to follow up on every report), family was less than 100% cooperative so CPS is pushing harder. Not uncommon and, while there could be more going on, this scenario doesn’t surprise me exactly as reported.

  70. Beth January 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    I’m not sure “less than cooperative” should result in being forced to sign something or your kids will be removed from the home that minute.

  71. common sense January 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    so donna, you feel standing up for your civil and constitutional rights (or not being 100% cooperative as you phrased it) is grounds to lie and harass this family? just because it’s cps your rights should not fly out the window. that’s whatis so wrong with this. you are not[as a lawyer] surprised at cps’s kiss my a** attitude. if this is your attitude then it’s not surprising others in law enforcement have the same one. leo are there to protect citizens, instead they now serveto enforce whatever law iss passed. and yes i know you will say they have to but there is such a thing as discretion. perhaps if they got there information from real life instead of horry mongering tv shows and reports they wouldn’t be so quick to involve cps.

  72. Donna January 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    common sense (and Beth) – Apparently, you don’t completely understand the definition of the word “surprise.” It means something is unexpected. Nowhere in the definition does it indicate acceptability.

    The actions of CPS here doesn’t surprise me in the least. It may piss me off, but it doesn’t SURPRISE me. I don’t think there needs to be more to this story as what happened is not remotely surprising to me.

  73. Jon January 16, 2015 at 6:06 pm #

    According to the Montgomery County school website, having the kids walk a mile with a sibling is within normal community standards, and in line with guidelines set forth by the county itself.
    (See http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/parents/basics/transportation/ )

    In Montgomery County where this occurred, school bus transportation is only provided for elementary school children (~6-10) who live further than 1mi from school, and for middle schoolers (11yo+) further than 1.5mi. The county’s guidance for elementary school kids walking 1 mile or less is “Younger walkers are encouraged to walk to and from school with siblings, older children from their neighborhood, or parents. At many schools, Montgomery County crossing guards help walkers cross at busy intersections near the school. In most elementary schools, student safety patrols guide younger children in crossing smaller neighborhood streets.”

    I don’t see how CPS has a leg to stand on here; the children were simply practicing what 6-10yo children are expected to do by the county school system itself.

  74. Terri January 17, 2015 at 7:37 am #

    So glad to see this movement. The news story on this family is what made me aware of it. Back in the day, I walked a mile to school (elementary school) and we never thought twice about it. We’d trick or treat up to several streets away without our parents and we just knew that we needed to stay together, watch for cars and creepy people. That is what parents are supposed to teach their children. I’m sorry that this family’s privacy is being invaded because they are trying to teach their children self reliance. They have my support and prayers.

  75. Ben L January 17, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    Why is everyone rushing to judgment without even knowing the whole story? All we’ve heard is what the media has told us. What was the danger that the neighbor thought the kids were in that would warrant a 911 call? I think there is more going on here than we are led to believe.

  76. Momof2boys January 18, 2015 at 5:34 am #

    Everyone is blaming CPS….it was 2 “concerned citizens” who tattle tailed and called CPS. Instead of just being part of the village and making sure the kids were safe or, just leaving them be. The general public has become to fearful and instead of watching out for each other, we are reporting on another to the authorities. Totally against American values.

  77. Joel January 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Time to water the tree.

  78. Warren January 18, 2015 at 9:38 pm #

    Like what? The whole thing started with the kids walking home from the park. What else is there? Or are you the type that believes if you have nothing to hide, you don’t need to envoke your rights?

  79. Beth Clayson January 21, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    In the school district we live in, grade school children who are 1 1/4 mile from the school do not get bused to school. I assume this means they are suppose to walk. Since walking to school alone is allowed (I assume), why would walking the same distance to or from the park be any different. I can see if they were many miles away or if they had to cross a 6 lane freeway without a safe crossing place but just normal town/city streets they should be okay.

  80. Spark January 22, 2015 at 2:02 am #

    I walked 1/4 of a mile home from the school bus stop every day for years, starting when I was 10. After hearing about the whole “creeps are out there waiting to snatch kids” thing, I started carrying my yo-yo with me as I walked. The yo-yo, a Duncan Freehand, is made of heavy plastic and makes a fairly effective weapon (as I found out by accident when I hit my friend in the crotch while practicing a new trick). I have pretty good aim with it, so I’d figured that if someone tried to snatch me, I’d hit them in a sensitive spot with the yo-yo and run, shouting and making as much noise as I could. Since our neighborhood is pretty quiet, any kind of commotion will get attention. Nothing ever happened.

    I could see not allowing the 6-year-old out on her own, but with her big sister there, the panic about this is just ridiculous.