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Senator John Sampson introduced a bill that would have stripped every New Yorker of his or her constitutionally protected right to say "no" to government officials with child protective services (CPS).
Senate Bill 1669 would have allowed any CPS representative to obtain an immediate warrant to enter an individual's home if that individual, who is the subject of a CPS investigation, blatantly refused to a meeting or a home visit with the CPS caseworker. Under Senate Bill
1669 "blatant refusal" simply meant verbally refusing to a meeting or home visit by CPS. Anyone who blatantly refused to allow the CPS caseworker into his or her home, or consent to a meeting, would have been automatically indicated for a more thorough investigation.
Under Senate Bill 1669, a caseworker would have only needed to declare that he or she was a CPS representative, and provide identification verifying this fact in order to obtain a court order to enter a home and investigate the well-being of the children living there. After the CPS worker demanded a meeting or requested to enter into the home and was refused the clock would start ticking. If the individual did not comply with these demands within 24 hours, the CPS representative would have grounds to obtain an immediate warrant. According to Senate Bill 1669, the CPS caseworker would be required to obtain the warrant the very first time an individual refuses a home visit or meeting.
01/11/2011 (Assembly) Referred to Children and Families Committee
01/04/2012 (Assembly) Referred to Children and Families Committee
06/21/2012 (Assembly) New York Assembly closed
Senate Bill 1669 was introduced and but did not make it out of the Committee on Children and Families. Fortunately, no hearing was formally scheduled on the bill. However, we believe this bill was so clearly in violation of an individual's 4th Amendment rights that action had to be taken.
We believe Senate Bill 1669 was an outrageous attack on your 4th Amendment right to privacy in your home. Under the 4th Amendment you have the right to be free from unlawful searches or seizures of your property. In order to overcome your opposition to the searching of your property, the Constitution requires a court order based on probable cause or exigent (emergency) circumstances that preclude the requirement of a court order.
Under Senate Bill 1669, no probable cause would have been necessary and no emergency situation would have been required to get an order to come into your home. Generally, under the Constitution an anonymous tip is not adequate for probable cause. Additionally, we are presumed innocent under the laws of our nation and the Constitution. The mere refusal by an individual to allow the government agent into their home because of an anonymous tip would not satisfy the probable cause standard.
In 2009 in New York, the most recent year that statistics are available, there were 168,658 reports of abuse and neglect. Of these,111,958 (or over 66%) were determined to be unfounded; 54,156 (or barely 32%) were "indicated." In New York a report is indicated if "an investigation determines that some credible evidence of the alleged abuse or maltreatment exists." An indicated report does not mean that the person has been found guilty of abuse or neglect. Over the years, some parents HSLDA has assisted have been indicated even though they did nothing to abuse or neglect their children. In at least two cases all the parents did was miss a quarterly report or other homeschool document. In at least one other situation it was the school district that lost the homeschool documents.
New York is also unlike nearly all of other states that either screen in or screen out reports based upon what is actually reported. Therefore, anyone can make an allegation that must be investigated by social services. Under Senate Bill 1669, if an individual was the subject of a ridiculous allegation and he refused let the social worker into his home, a court order would have been issued to enter the home simply because the individual said "no."
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