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House Bill 402: Restriction on Social Worker Entry into a Home
Rep. J. Russell Capps (R-50th District)
This bill would require a social worker to obtain the consent of a homeowner or be accompanied by a law enforcement officer with legal authority to enter a residence before the social worker could enter the residence. The bill has been amended to allow a social worker to enter a home when he "reasonably believes the child to be in imminent danger."
Because of this amendment we are not currently able to support this bill. Under the courts' interpretation of the Fourth Amendment a government official may only enter a home without a warrant or consent of the homeowner if he has probable cause that a crime is occurring and there are exigent circumstances (i.e. an emergency). In social services investigations, this would mean having evidence that a child is being abused and is in imminent risk of serious bodily injury or death. The amendment to the bill does not meet this standard and is actually going to give social workers more authority than they now have, not less.
This bill was passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee by amendment on Wednesday, April 16, and placed in the House Judiciary II Committee.
HSLDA opposes this bill.
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