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September 4, 2003
Calabretta v. Floyd, et al
Social workers cannot force their way into private homes

Filed: February 24, 1995, Yolo County.

Nature of Case: Fifteen days after receiving an anonymous tip that a child had been heard yelling, "No, Daddy, no," a Yolo county police officer and social worker entered the home of Robert and Shirley Calabretta without a warrant. They strip-searched the Calabretta's three-year-old daughter without the mother's permission and then left. The social worker never found any evidence of abuse or neglect. HSLDA filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Calabretta family against the social worker and the police.

Rulings:

1-7-97The trial court ruled that, unless there is evidence of an emergency, a social worker and police officer investigating a report of child abuse must have a warrant, and that the family's federal civil rights had been violated.
8-26-99The Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the District Court ruling, saying that the "reasonable expectation of privacy of individuals in their home includes the interests of both parents and children in not having government officials coerce entry in violation of the Fourth Amendment and humiliate the parents in front of the children."


Status: Victory.

Last Updated: September 4, 2003.