Court Limits Social Workers Entry to Check for Abuse
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Social workers cant 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 childrens 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 theres something strange about you if youre religious and if youre 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.