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2/17/2004 5:35:16 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Wyoming--Calls Needed To Amend HB 88!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 17, 2004


Wyoming--Calls Needed To Amend HB 88!


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Though some needed amendments have been made, HB 88 still remains in
need of a few critical changes. HSLDA has found a sponsor to
introduce the needed amendments during the House floor debate. Your
phone calls are needed to support this crucial amendment!


Action Requested:

Please call your own representative (to find your representative, use
HSLDA's legislative toolbox [http://www.hslda.org/toolbox]) and ask
him or her to amend House Bill 88 to require training for social
workers. Say, "Please vote for parental rights. Support the
Brechtel Amendment to HB 88 on the floor!"


Background:

Homeschoolers across the country worked hard to pass the Keeping
Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 last year. It requires social
workers to have training on the rights of parents. HSLDA's model
language spells that out and makes sure that social workers are
trained in the legal and constitutional rights of parents including
their right to the privacy of their home pursuant to the Fourth
Amendment.

Sheryl Schmidt, a representative of Homeschoolers of Wyoming, went to
the Wyoming Department of Family Services to find out just what
training social workers currently receive on the legal rights of
parents. According to a document entitled "Family Center Child
Protection: An Integrated Model of Practice," children have "absolute
rights," while parents have "contingent rights." Social workers are
trained to believe that parent's rights are "contingent upon parents
meeting their responsibility to provide their children with minimum
levels of nurturance and care, and a safe environment free from abuse
or exploitation." The problem with this definition is that it is
left completely up to the social worker to decide whether these
"minimum levels" are being met or not. A parent who disagrees with a
social worker has no "contingent rights," as far as that social
worker is concerned.

The only way to solve this problem is to provide additional training
for social workers. They need to understand the rights that parents
have, whether or not the social workers approve of what they are
doing. These rights include the Fourth Amendment right to the
privacy of their home, unless the parent agrees to let the social
worker in, the social worker has a warrant, or there is a genuine
emergency that threatens the child. Social workers in other states
who have ignored these rights have learned the hard way that courts
will enforce the Fourth Amendment against badly trained social
workers. Wyoming can save parents and social workers (and taxpayers)
a great deal of trouble by properly training social workers in the
first instance.

If Wyoming does not amend its law to provide the training required by
the "Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003," Wyoming will
lose thousands of dollars in federal funding. We expect social
workers to insist that they are already fully trained on "parent's
rights." Given the materials that Mrs. Schmidt has reviewed, this is
wishful thinking at best. Please call your legislator to demand
better training for social workers!


Sincerely,

Scott Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney



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