|| LEGAL/LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
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Malicious tipster creates trouble
Upon returning home from vacation, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family found a social worker's business card on their doorstep.* The family immediately contacted HSLDA and spoke with Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka.
Klicka called the social worker to find out the allegations, explaining that under the federal Keeping Children and Families Safe Act, anyone being investigated by social services must be informed of the allegations at the "initial time of contact." The social worker replied that the allegations had to do with sexual abuse, and informed Klicka that she would need to enter the family's home to personally interview the children.
Stating that the tip was false, Klicka promised to immediately send the social worker evidence to disprove the allegations. (Although the tip had been received from an anonymous source, the family believed they knew who had called in the tip and that it was given in retaliation over issues that had been brewing for nearly 20 years.)
Klicka had the family make appointments with a psychologist for all their children under 18. The doctor's report, based on several interviews with the children, confirmed that no sexual abuse had occurred. Klicka also had the family provide the social worker with 10 letters of reference by individuals in the family's community and church, who vouched for the innocence of the parents and expressed their outrage over the allegations.
Although Klicka was willing to permit the social worker to interview the parents at their church, she refused—"because of safety concerns!" Klicka tried to convince her that there was absolutely no reason to fear for her safety, but she insisted that she would only interview the parents if they brought their children to the Child Advocacy Center. "We cannot risk you locking them in, as has happened to other families," replied Klicka.
The social worker dismissed this comment, but added, "Well, we will hold them if we suspect abuse." Needless to say, the interview with the parents never happened.
Klicka followed up by sending the social worker a letter restating that the anonymous tip was false and malicious. The letter also indicated that the family would stand on their 4th Amendment rights and would not allow the social worker to enter their home. In closing, the letter reiterated that the doctor's statement, the 10 letters of reference, and the offer of an interview with the parents were more than sufficient to prove the family's innocence. Klicka also assured the social worker that the family was following the Texas homeschool law.
The family has had no other contact from the social worker since that time.
— by Christopher J. Klicka
* See "HSLDA social services contact policy."