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Virginia

March 16, 2004

Senate Bill 584: A Bill to Impose Fourth Amendment Limitations on Social Worker Investigations

Sponsor:
Sen. William Bolling

Summary:
Requires Child Protective Services to include standards of training regarding the legal duties of child protective services workers in order to protect the legal rights and safety of children and families from the initial time of contact during investigation through treatment.

Status:

01/16/04Senate: Presented & ordered printed 043448704
02/06/04Senate: Reported from R. & S. S. w/substitute (15-Y 0-N)
02/10/04Senate: Read second time
02/11/04Senate: Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)
02/11/04Senate: Communicated to House
02/12/04House: Placed on Calendar
02/12/04House: Read first time
02/12/04House: Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
02/19/04House: Reported from H. W. I. (21-Y 0-N)
02/20/04House: Read second time
02/23/04House: Read third time
02/23/04House: Passed House BLOCK VOTE (100-Y 0-N)
03/12/04Governor: Approved by Governor

Action Requested:
None at this time.

HSLDA's Position:
HSLDA supports this bill.

Background:
HSLDA helped draft S.B. 584 which creates crucial due process protections for homeschoolers and other families faced with child welfare investigations. Senator Bolling is the sponsor.

Incredibly the bill has moved through both chambers unanimously.

The bill requires child protective services workers to be trained in their duty to protect the statutory and constitutional rights of those they are investigating, and requires child protective services personnel to advise individuals subject to a child abuse and neglect investigation of the complaint or allegation made against them.

HSLDA deals with cases on a daily basis where a social worker is investigating an innocent homeschool family because of false allegations. These tips, often supplied by those holding a grudge against home education, are often investigated aggressively. Social workers frequently demand to conduct physical inspections of homeschool children or to interview very young children outside the presence of their parents.

Oftentimes social workers refuse to state the allegation they are investigating, and usually conduct the investigation in a manner that violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

The language from this bill originates from our provisions we were able to pass into federal law.

On June 25, 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (S.342). HSLDA was able to attach these same two amendments that will protect families during the child investigative process.

This is the most significant reform on social worker investigations in the last decade.

It is important to implement this legislation at the state level to guarantee that Congressional intent is implemented properly and completely. The Department of Heath and Human Services has stated to us that the most efficient and effective implementation is if the provisions are codified at the state level.

This law will keep social workers properly chained by the Constitution and they will be liable for making certain they respect the parental and Fourth Amendment rights of families.

 Other Resources

Mar-16-2004 — Child Welfare Reform Signed by Governor

Mar-15-2004 — Calls Needed-Hearing on Bill to Raise Compulsory Age to 18

Bill Text