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January / February 2004

Can Judicial Tyranny Be Stopped?

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The difference made by "little things"

Impact of the Widows Curriculum Scholarship Fund

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Senator introduces child welfare reform

State Senator Tom Reynolds, a homeschooling father, is introducing a bill to better protect innocent families from the harassment of child welfare investigators. Home School Legal Defense Associaton Senior Counsel Chris Klicka asked Reynolds to consider introducing a state version of legislative language drafted by HSLDA and passed by the United States Congress in May 2003. Because the social worker system usually interprets new legislation with a bias that may harm innocent families, the new federal amendments need to be specifically implemented by each state legislature rather than by social worker bureaucracies.

Senator Reynolds' child welfare reform bill will require that a social worker, at an initial contact, advise the individual being investigated of the specific allegations. The second part of the legislation will require social workers to be trained in their duty to protect Fourth Amendment and parental rights of the families they are investigating. Often, when HSLDA represents homeschoolers facing false allegations, we find the social worker is not even aware of the family's Fourth Amendment protection. Such ignorance may lead to abuse of rights if the social worker uses intimidation to gain entry to the house and to interrogate the children separately.

HSLDA believes this legislation will result in fairer treatment for Wisconsin families when social workers investigate anonymous tips. We applaud Tom Reynolds for his leadership in this area.

— Christopher J. Klicka