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Maryland couple investigated again after 'free-range' kids allowed to play unsupervised
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The Maryland couple who made national headlines for letting their children walk home unaccompanied from a park are in potential trouble with Child Protective Services again after the kids were picked up a third of a mile from home. - photo by Lois M. Collins
The Maryland couple who made national headlines for letting their children walk home unaccompanied from a park are in potential trouble with Child Protective Services again after the kids were picked up Sunday by police one-third of a mile from home.

The children of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were taken into custody by county police at a park about 5 p.m. and turned over to the Child Protective Services agency, said Capt. Paul Starks, the county police spokesman. The childrens mother said they were released to the couple at 10:30 p.m. Sunday," according to The Washington Post.

Danielle Meitiv said when the children did not arrive home on time, they searched for them, only to learn later that they had been picked up by police.

Multiple reports say police took them to CPS after someone called in that they were playing unsupervised. The children are 10 and 6. Initially, the Meitivs were investigated for letting their children walk home last year together but without adult supervision from a park about two miles from home. The Meitivs said they had practiced the walk and that the children are "free-range" kids.

The Washington Post article said that the initial child-protective investigation resulted in a finding of unsubstantiated neglect. That is one of three results in neglect investigations, along with ruled out and indicated.

The Meitivs told Fox News that the children were picked up around 5 p.m. Sunday, an hour before they were due home. They said CPS didn't tell them they had the kids until around 8 p.m.

"The Meitivs drove to CPS to pick up their kids, but say they were told to 'take a seat' and initially weren't given any information about their children, except that they were there," according to Fox. They were reunited with the children about 10:30 p.m. and required to sign a temporary safety plan in order to take them home. The Fox report said that means the kids may not be unattended at all until the investigation is complete.

CBS News reported that Maryland law says someone under 8 must be supervised by someone 13 or older.

The "free-range" kid movement is based on the notion that children's boundaries and experiences should expand as they grow, although not everyone agrees. The Deseret News recently looked at the issue of boundaries and when kids should be allowed more independence, as part of a package that also included an interview with the movement's founder, Lenore Skenazy. She was dubbed "World's Worst Mom" after she let her son ride the subway alone in New York City.