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Is Abuse Becoming a Growing Problem at Child Protective Services

Updated on May 8, 2015

"Free-Range Parents" When Child Protectors Become Your Child Abusers

The Meitiv family is once again battling with Child Protective Services in Maryland, a battle that originally started with an anonymous tip in late December of 2014, that their children were walking by themselves from a playground a mile from the family's home in Silver Springs, Md.

Police picked up the children, Rafi, 10 and Dvora, 6, a half-block from home and took them home, with six police cars soon showing up that initiated a CPS investigation for child neglect by their parents, Danielle and Alexander.

The Meitiv parents freely admitted that the children were allowed to walk by themselves to the playground a mile from their home, and based their parenting philosophy on Lenore Skenazy's book, "Free-Range Kids," which promotes encouraging your children independence.

The original case was closed in March 2015, with a finding of the Meitivs being held, "responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect." In response to this parental and child abuse by CPS, Danielle responded to Yahoo Parenting with, "We have no intention of changing our parenting approach-my kids are playing outside unsupervised right now, as a matter of fact. We do worry, however, what will happen to them and us if CPS gets another call about them," Danielle said.

CPS kidnaps children for no supervision!

CPS has again seized the Meitivs' children for being unsupervised at the playground, this time they were taken only three blocks from home, while trying in vain to return home by 6pm as planned. Police coerced the children into a police car at 5pm, with the 'false assurance' that the police would take them home.

The police did not contact the parents or allow the children to do so, but keep them in a police car for three hours, before taking them to the Montgomery County Crisis Center for detention without any food until they were finally released by CPS to their parents at 10:30 on a school night. It would seem that these actions by Montgomery County Police and Maryland CPS would amount to abuse for depriving the children of food and unlawful abduction and detention of the Meitivs' children.

According to a Yahoo Parenting report, the Meitivs' pro bono attorney, Matthew Dowd, has issued a press release via Danielle's Facebook page, that the family plans to sue.

" We must ask ourselves how we reached a point where a parent's biggest fear is that government officials will literally seize our children off the streets as they walk in our neighborhoods. The parents intend to fully vindicate their rights as parents and their children's rights, and to prevent this from happening to their children again," notes Dowd.

According to another Yahoo report, the Meitivs were not allowed to take their children home until they signed an agreement to not allow their children to be un-supervised again. After all, there are other predators after your children.

In response to the recent police "abduction" of the Meitiv children the Montgomery Police issued a statement trying to justify picking the children up. Their reason was stated as the officer observed a homeless man that he was familiar with watching the children.

If this officer was truthful in his response and knew the homeless man, was he in fact a danger to the children as a sexual predator? If so, wouldn't the officer response been more appropriate to interact with the individual or arrest him for being around a playground with children present?

Or is the officer suggesting that someone was a danger to the children merely because he was homeless? This is a discriminatory response about a homeless the officer, Or is this officer merely justifying his actions of detaining the children by fabricating a story of a "dangerous homeless" man watching the children in a manner deemed predator by the officer.

Whatever the case, this response to reasons for picking up the children is full of holes for an reasonable person with some critical thinking skills.

Can't CPS find any children really being neglected or abused to justify their existence?

The Meitiv family Danielle and Alexander with their children Rafi,10, and Dvora, 6.
The Meitiv family Danielle and Alexander with their children Rafi,10, and Dvora, 6. | Source
The Meitiv children, DVora, age 6 and Rafi, age 10, are no longer allowed to walk or be alone unsupervised because of CPS.
The Meitiv children, DVora, age 6 and Rafi, age 10, are no longer allowed to walk or be alone unsupervised because of CPS. | Source
Dvora, age-6 with a tag that states that she's not lost, but a free-range child.
Dvora, age-6 with a tag that states that she's not lost, but a free-range child. | Source
The Meitivs after picking up their children after they were abducted by Montgomery County police and CPS for allowing their children to walk to and play at a neighborhood playground unsupervised.
The Meitivs after picking up their children after they were abducted by Montgomery County police and CPS for allowing their children to walk to and play at a neighborhood playground unsupervised. | Source

Who knows better the Parents or CPS?

Meitiv Mom Defends Free-Range Parenting

Danielle Meitiv makes several good points in that government statistics point out that most adults were raised with similar free-range parenting philosophies and that in-spite of child abduction stories, crime statistics show that children are in fact safer today, than when we were growing up.

Another valid point Danielle makes is that it's actually safer and healthier for the children to walk places by themselves, than taking them everywhere in a vehicle. Statistics show that more young children are killed in vehicle accidents close to their home than are killed walking or by child sexual predators.

Free-range parenting was what many parents used only a generation ago, and differs greatly from helicopter-parents, who hover over children in an attempt to protect them from everything that could possibly hurt them.

CPS Again Threatens Family over Free-Range Parenting

Family Awarded $1.1 Million after Children "Wrongly Removed" from Home

The Swartwood family of San Diego has finally received a $1.1 million settlement four years after the California Child Welfare Services wrongfully removed their two young children from their home in 2011.

Their children, 1 year-old Riley, and 3-year-old Dale, were attending a daycare near the family's home, when parents Joanna and Stephen noticed troubling signs, such as broken capillaries under Riley's eyes and then a bruise on her face.

At this point, the parents took Riley to a doctor, who believed the injury wasn't accidental and advised the couple to follow abuse protocol by taking their daughter to an emergency room, where doctors filed a report by law, indicating no fault to the parents.

That very night, CWS officials showed up with three police officers and to the parent's surprise removed the children from the families' home, into protective custody for two days for physical exams and investigation.

When the children were finally returned to their parents, they sought justice, but were informed that CWS workers enjoy immunity from their wrongful actions.

After some searching, Joanna found attorney, Donnie Cox, who willing to take the case and filed suit against the county. In October, a judge handed down a scathing judgment against CWS, ruling that, "the county basically did no investigation prior to removing the children from the home," especially since the daycare had already shut down the daycare. The judge also determined that, "removing Dale and Riley from the family home was unconstitutional."

As part of the settlement agreement, a whole series of policy changes will be initiated at California's CWS, such as allowing parents the right to refuse to release their children for CWS exams or to be present during them.

Nationwide awareness of the frequency of the abuses of both the parents and children's rights by officials at child welfare or protection agencies throughout has received heightened attention with multiple stories of officials removing children for little or no cause whatsoever. The pendulum seems to have swung from child protection agencies losing or placing children with abusive foster families a decade ago, to now allowing over-zealous agents to trample on the civil and constitutional rights of both parents and children.

While all reasonable adults would readily agree that we need to protect all children from all kinds of abuse and real neglect, many will now agree that we also need to protect them from the agencies and officials who are charged with protecting the children.

Most would probably also agree that state child services' officials should not be above the law, enjoying any type of immunity for their decisions or actions regarding families, as this immunity creates an environment ripe for abuse and frequent wrongful actions against those they should instead be protecting.

New Jersey Child Protective Service Agency Sued for Unlawful Intrusion

A New Jersey family, Christopher and Belvidere Zimmer filed a civil rights complaint against the state's child-protection agency, DCP&P, alleging that one of their case-workers, Michelle Marchese demanded entry into their home that amounted to an, "unlawful and unconstitutional home intrusion," over the couple home-schooling their children.

After making various, unauthorized demands about their homeschooling methods and textbooks used by the family, the caseworker then turned to interrogating the family about vaccines and firearms kept in the home.

The DCP&P intrusion into the Zimmer's home is believed to have been brought on by a confidential tip of "improper homeschooling" from a minor. These types of intrusive invasions into family situations for homeschooling or vaccine exemptions have increased dramatically since Obamacare became law.

Immunity for Child Protection Services

Should Child Protective Services officials retain their immunity status or be held accountable for their actions?

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    • slcockerham profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago from Tallahassee, Florida

      Hey Alphadogg16,

      Thanks for your comments on this hub! You and I are in agreement on the government over-stepping their boundaries in many agencies and on many issues. It's high time CPS was reigned in and their officials held accountable.

      There are also other issues with CPS that I have yet to document, such as the medical kidnapping of children when parents want a second opinion or don't agree with a doctor's treatment plan.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      3 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      This is a very well written article!

      I am not kidding you, when I got to the end of this Hub, I scrolled back to the top expecting to see Los Angeles Times, or Mother Jones. When I got to the top and it was HubPages, I had to look twice.

      Honestly, this is magazine, or newspaper worthy.

      Thank you for laying out this "problem" in a non-emotional, and deftly documented article. I have learned some serious facts and will be able to follow your Hub to do so.

      The Native American communities have been dealing with this for decades, in North America as well as Canada. Thank you for sharing your awareness on the subject. Good job - Voted UP, UP, UP - Shared.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      3 years ago from Texas

      This was a very interesting hub on an extremely sensitive subject. Everyone has different parenting beliefs and there will never be a time that everyone sees things eye to eye. This day and age, the government has been over stepping their boundaries on many issues in my opinion.


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