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Cover Story
Ninth Circuit Upholds Family Privacy and Parental Authority

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United We Stand

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Children Tax ID Act Moves Forward

President Vetoes Tax Relief

Navy Fills Quota

Home Educated Athletes

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Press Clippings

Court Limits Social Workers’ Entry to Check for Abuse

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Social workers can’t enter a home, without an emergency or a search warrant, to look for signs of suspected child abuse, a federal appeals court has ruled.

In a strongly worded ruling, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday put similar restrictions on the authority of a social worker or a police officer to order a child strip-searched for signs of abuse.

While the government must protect children from abuse, it also must guard “children’s interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents,” said Judge Andrew Kleinfeld in the 3-0 ruling. . . .

The family was represented by the Home School Legal Defense Association, based in Purcellville, Va. Its president, Michael P. Farris, said there have been many such incidents involving religiously oriented home-schoolers.

“Many social workers, not all, have a disposition to believe that there’s something strange about you if you’re religious and if you’re a home-schooler,” he said. He said the court recognized that “police officers and social workers have to obey the Constitution.”

— San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Chronicle, August 26, 1999

See the cover story about the Ninth Circuit decision for further information.