Federal Legislation
January 27, 2012

S. 1879—Child Abuse Reporting Enforcement Act

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time. HSLDA will continue to monitor this bill and will send out an e-lert if the bill comes up for a hearing.

Summary:
S. 1879 will require every single person to be a mandatory reporter of suspected child abuse. States will lose certain federal funds if they do not create mandatory reporter laws that encompass every single person in the state. This will create a massive “police state” system that forces people to report on family members and neighbors even if they only suspect child abuse, or they will face a mandatory minimum sentence of one year in jail.

Status:

11/16/2011 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.

Sponsor: Senator Menendez (NJ)

Bill Summary—S. 1879

HSLDA’s Position:
Oppose

Background:
S. 1879 will strip states of federal funding if they do not create a law that makes failing to report child abuse a felony offense. Individuals charged with not reporting child abuse could face a minimum of one year in prison. HSLDA is very concerned with the aggressive tactics in S. 1879, which we believe will lead to a “police state” of spying and fear. S. 1879 not only requires citizens to report actual child abuse, but also requires them to report any suspicion of child abuse.

HSLDA has almost 30 years of experience defending homeschoolers from social services investigations when an anonymous reporter has filed an allegation of child abuse against an innocent family. This mandatory reporting will not only increase the number of these baseless reports but will also waste a large portion of social services’ time and resources, hurting the children who really need help. We believe that under the U.S. Constitution the states, not the federal government have the responsibility to define who is a mandatory reporter and decide how to handle child abuse investigations.