SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA9) -- The Maryland parents accused of child neglect for letting their children roam freely had to retrieve their children from Child Protective Services after they were removed from a park Sunday by police.
Montgomery County police and Child Protective Services are in a joint investigation of Danielle and Alexander (Sasha) Meitiv for possible child neglect for allowing their children to walk freely.
At approximately 4:55 p.m., Montgomery County police received a call to check on the welfare of the Meitiv children, 10-year-old Rafi and six-year-old Dvora, at a Silver Spring park. Their house is just down the street and around the corner, a distance of less than a mile. Police say officers found the children unattended.
As part of protocol, police called Child Protective Services and were told to bring the children to the agency. The agency did not contact the Meitiv's for three hours, leaving the parents frantically searching for their missing children.
Montgomery County police released the following timeline of Sunday night's events:
- 4:58 p.m. – Montgomery County Emergency Call Center receives call to check welfare of two children
- 5 p.m. – Call dispatched
- 5:01 p.m. – First officer arrives in the area
- 5:03 p.m. – Officer finds the two children
- 5:16 p.m. – Officer contacts CPS
- 6:10 p.m. – Officer contacts another CPS employee for guidance
- 6:41 p.m. – Original CPS worker contacts officer and says a decision is still forthcoming from within CPS
- 7:18 p.m. – Decision made to transport children to CPS offices in Rockville
- 7:43 p.m. – Officer and children arrive at CPS
"Well the policeman said we will give you a ride home when we were like two blocks away. So we got into the car and then about two and half hours later, instead he brang us here," Rafi Meitiv said.
The Meitiv children were released to their parents at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.
"I can't believe we're going through this again," said Danielle Meitiv.
In order to take their children home, the Meitiv's had to sign a safety plan that prohibits them from leaving their children unattended.
In January, the Meitiv's were accused of neglect that sparked a national and online debate about free-range parenting. The Montgomery County parents were being investigated for child neglect for letting their children roam freely.
In March, Child Protective Services found the Meitiv's responsible for "unsubstantiated" child neglect.
Parents disagree on the Meitiv's free-range style, some saying the children are too young to walk alone. But after the most recent incident, many question the priorities of Child Protective Services.
"I just hope that the authorities are also not using all their resources just on this case and that they're looking at other children as well who may need more care and assistance," said Malia Hale.
In a statement, CPS said, "Protecting children is the agency's number one priority and that it is required to follow up on all calls." CPS officials said they can't comment further because of privacy laws.