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5/26/2005 4:03:55 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Oregon--Please Call on Social Workers Training Bill

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 26, 2005


Oregon--Please Call on Social Workers Training Bill


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Senate Bill 895 has passed the Senate by a vote of 22-1! However, the
bill is now scheduled for a hearing in the House. Tomorrow, May 27,
2005, the Health and Human Services Committee will have a hearing on
the bill and we need your e-mails!

Senate Bill 895 has been introduced to require the Department of Human
Services to train social workers to protect the constitutional and
statutory rights of families they are investigating. The bill also
requires social workers to inform the family they are investigating of
the allegations made against them at the initial time of contact.

These changes in the law are important to protect the rights of all
families who might be subject to an investigation by DHS and to bring
Oregon into compliance with federal law (Keeping Children and Families
Safe Act of 2003- CAPTA). For more information about CAPTA please see
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=2245 .

In our experience with social services these are the two most frequent
problems that occur. Often social workers will refuse to tell the
family what the allegations are against them but will insist that they
be allowed to come into the family's home and talk with their
children. Social services workers are often unfamiliar with important
constitutional and statutory rights that apply to families.

OCEANetwork has been working hard to get these needed changes
introduced. Please e-mail the House Health and Human Services
Committee now and urge them to vote in favor of S.B. 895. As this is
an issue that affects all families in Oregon you can simply identify
yourself as a concerned parent. You do not need to identify yourself
as a homeschooler.


REQUESTED ACTION:

Please e-mail the House Health and Human Services Committee members
listed below and urge them to vote in favor of S.B. 895. You can give
them the following message in your own words:

"Please vote in favor of Senate Bill 895. This bill is necessary to
bring Oregon into compliance with the Keeping Children and Families
Safe Act of 2003. It ensures that social services workers are properly
trained and that families are told of the allegations against them
from the beginning of an investigation."

House Health and Human Services Committee Members:

Representative Billy Dalto, Chair
E-mail: rep.billydalto@state.or.us

Representative Tom R Butler, Vice-Chair
E-mail: rep.tombutler@state.or.us

Representative Carolyn Tomei, Vice-Chair
E-mail: rep.carolyntomei@state.or.us

Representative Gordon Anderson
E-mail: rep.gordonanderson@state.or.us

Representative Deborah Boone
E-mail: rep.deborahboone@state.or.us

Representative Kevin Cameron
E-mail: rep.kevincameron@state.or.us

Representative Mitch Greenlick
E-mail: rep.mitchgreenlick@state.or.us


BACKGROUND

In recent years there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of
homeschool families that have been investigated by social workers,
many for completely false allegations anonymously phoned in from a
disgruntled relative or neighbor.

Unfortunately there are inadequate safeguards in place to protect
innocent families from this traumatic, and many times unnecessary,
intrusion into their home. In an effort to remedy this problem HSLDA
lobbied Congress in 2001 to include a variety of safeguards in CAPTA,
the Federal legislation that provides much of the funding for social
services departments. While Congress did not include all of our
suggested reforms, two of the most important -- social worker training
in family rights and mandatory disclosure of allegations -- were
included in the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003.

As a result of the abuses of the child welfare system, we at HSLDA are
working to reform the child welfare laws in the states. We support
legislation which would protect families by forcing social workers to
abide by the same laws regular law enforcement officials must obey.
Senate Bill 895 would make important steps in this direction for
families in Oregon.


Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney
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