Oh, you'd better believe this is going to happen. And the parents of the so-called "free range kids" are going to win. Twice in five months, the cops have forced the kids into a squad car, and in the latest incident, had them held at Child Protective Services. They weren't returned to the parents until nearly midnight - and they didn't even bother to feed the two kids during that time. The parents have had just about enough of over-reaching cops and officious state bureaucrats, and the law is on their side.
In two landmark cases in the 1920s, Meyer v. Nebraska and Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Supreme Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects parents’ and guardians “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” In Pierce, the Court applied that right to strike down an Oregon law requiring all children aged 8 to 16 to attend public schools rather than private ones, despite the state’s argument that standardized public schooling would ensure that all children get a good education.
As you can see, bureaucratic overreach has a long and storied history in Oregon. For a hundred years, they've "known better" what's best For The Children™. But the Supreme Court etched it in stone some fifteen years ago:
In the 2000 case of Troxel v. Granville, the Court reaffirmed the “fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children,” which it called “perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.” The plurality opinion by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (joined by three other members of the Court) emphasized that state officials must apply a strong presumption that parents’ decisions about the upbringing of their children are correct, and cannot abridge parental control over child-raising based on “mere disagreement” with the parents’ choices.
Moreover, a case can be made against the police themselves on a charge of child endangerment; the CDC makes clear that riding in a car is far more dangerous for kids than walking, and it's unlikely that the police were equipped with child safety seats. In other words, they violated their own state laws regarding children in automobiles.
It's a safe assumption that if police noticed the parents driving with kids in their car that were not in safety seats, they'd pull the parents over.
The Meitivs’ parenting practices are also much safer than numerous typical childhood activities, such as participating in contact sports like basketball and hockey, or going downhill skiing.
Heaven forbid they should climb a tree! Could be child neglect.