Home School Court Report
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May / June 2005

Nourishing your special needs child

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Social worker harasses homeschoolers

In the midst of their homeschool lessons, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Grand Rapids heard a knock at their front door.* A social worker wanted to enter their home. He cited outlandish allegations including a supposed incident in which the family's 12-year-old was seen running down the street without clothes, and that an apparently disgruntled doctor believed one of their adopted children was harming herself.

The family immediately contacted HSLDA, and Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka made it clear to the social worker that the family was standing on their 4th Amendment rights. They would not allow him to enter their house or to interview their daughter, even with "expert" doctors.

Instead, the family consulted a private medical professional, who determined that the adopted child was not harming herself and did not need counseling.

Throughout many weeks of wrangling with HSLDA, the social worker threatened several times to get a court order if he could not personally interview the child, but finally relented. When he called Klicka to say that he was closing the case, he added (ironically!) that he had appreciated working with the family.

Twice in one year

While some social services contacts can take weeks or even months to resolve, other situations are fairly easily settled when a family has an attorney standing beside them, clearly laying out the facts of the case. That's what happened recently in Ingham County.

Her children's numerous difficulties in the public school system, including personal threats, convinced Mrs. D, a single mother, to begin homeschooling them. Unfortunately, some of the problems followed her home. Twice that year, a social worker came to Mrs. D's door asking to enter her house and interview her children.*

After the second social services contact, Mrs. D began to suspect that false allegations were being filed by someone who simply wanted to get her familyinto trouble. She called HSLDA, and a single phone call from one of our attorneys convinced the social worker to drop the case.

Illogical allegations

Asking her children to continue quietly working on their studies, an HSLDA member in Byron Point went to answer a knock at the door. She found a social worker standing outside.*  The man claimed that the woman and her husband were starving their children, insisted that he needed to come inside to investigate, and threatened to remove the children from their home. The mother denied the false allegations, but the social worker promised to return.

This member family quickly contacted HSLDA's legal staff. We explained to the social worker that the family was innocent of all the alleged charges and would stand on their 4th Amendment rights. As this article goes to press, we have heard nothing further from the social worker, and we expect that the case will soon be closed.

—by Christopher J. Klicka

* See "HSLDA social services contact policy".