The two Maryland children at the center of an investigation last year for walking home alone from a neighborhood park were taken into custody by Child Protective Services over the weekend.
The children of Danielle and Alexander Meitiv, who gained national attention for their “free-range” style of parenting, were picked up by police around 5 p.m. Sunday after someone reported them walking unattended in the neighborhood. The children, ages 10 and 6, had been instructed to return home from a park by 6 p.m. The parents started looking for them until they were notified by CPS around 8 p.m. that police had turned the children over to the agency.
The parents were allowed to see their kids around 10:30 p.m. Sunday night after signing a “safety plan,” according to Danielle Meitiv’s Facebook page.
“The police coerced our children into the back of a patrol car, telling them they would drive them home. They kept the kids trapped there for three hours, without notifying us, before dropping them at the Crisis Center, and holding them there without dinner for another two and a half hours,” she wrote in her post. “We finally got home at 11 p.m. and the kids slept in our room because we were all exhausted and terrified.”
CPS began investigating the Meitivs last year after someone reported the children — Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6 — roaming unattended in their neighborhood. In one of the cases, the kids were walking home from a playground about a mile away from their house in Silver Spring, a Maryland suburb outside Washington, D.C.
CPS determined in February that the Meitivs were “responsible for unsubstantiated child neglect,” which indicates there may be some evidence but not enough information to prove neglect occurred. An “unsubstantiated” case remains in the state’s database for five years and then is expunged — if no additional reports are added to the file.
This story originally appeared on TODAY.com