'Free Range Parents' Cleared of 1 Child Neglect Charge, Still Face Another

The parents let their kids, 6 and 10, walk home alone from a park.

ByABC News
May 26, 2015, 10:25 AM

— -- The Maryland parents who were charged with child neglect over their "free range parenting" style have been cleared of a second of three charges against them.

Child Protective Services of Montgomery County, Maryland, changed the ruling on a Dec. 20 incident from "unsubstantiated neglect" to having charges "ruled out," the attorney for Alexander and Danielle Meitiv told ABC News Tuesday.

"We're hopeful, or cautiously optimistic, that this means that they change their policy or change their minds and that we will be in the clear," Danielle Meitiv told ABC News in an interview that aired on "Good Morning America."

"Very much so," her husband, Alexander, said when asked if he felt relieved by the changed ruling.

The couple has faced three charges from CPS since 2014, each based on an instance where their 6-year-old and 10-year-old children were found walking home by themselves from parks. State law dictates that children under the age of 8 must be in the care of a person at least 13.

"Our rights were violated," Danielle told ABC News. "The Constitution very clearly protects parents' rights to raise their kids the way they see fit."

CPS did not disclose a reason for the ruling, the Meitivs' attorney said, and the agency did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

The charge that was most recently dismissed stemmed from an instance when the children were detained by authorities after they were spotted walking unaccompanied by an adult during the mile-long trip back to their home from the park in December.

The Meitivs already faced an accusation relating to a similar incident in October 2014, their attorney Matthew Dowd said, for which they previously obtained a favorable ruling. They still face a charge for a third incident in April of this year.

"We are working on to ensure that this abuse by CPS does not happen again in the future," Dowd said, telling ABC News the family is concerned about the children being held by CPS for several hours, as they were in December.

Alexander Meitiv echoed his concerns.

"We're not 100 percent sure what will happen if somebody calls the police again, seeing our kids walking around," he said.