From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


5/5/2010 3:52:47 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Ohio: Update on HB 371--Bad Bill Slows Down But Still a Threat

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

Ohio: Update on HB 371--Bad Bill Slows Down But Still a Threat

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

The Civil and Commercial Law Committee is still considering House Bill
371, a 565-page bill that would restructure Ohio's abuse and neglect
code and increase state intervention in the parent-child relationship.
The bill's language singles out corporal discipline as a reason for
state intervention and creates seven new and vague categories under
which social workers could further justify taking whatever actions
they deem appropriate during a social service investigation.

An article published on April 26, 2010 by the Wooster Daily Record
tells of a vigorous debate over whether the bill would actually
provide any beneficial reform. Opponents of the bill argue that the
language is vague and gives discretionary authority to social workers
and judges who already have a lot of authority and discretion. One of
the bill's sponsors, Representative Ron Amstutz, admits that the bill
is in need of "corrective language." He notes that if the language is
left the way it is, "almost every family would find themselves in

The director of Job and Family Services in Holmes County, Dan Jackson,
has expressed concern that the bill would cause an overwhelming
increase in calls to his agency. Consequently, children who are truly
in need of services may fall through the cracks, while families who
are completely innocent may be subjected to invasive intrusions.

To read the full article, visit:


HSLDA believes that all children should be provided a loving and
nurturing environment by their parents. We agree that the state has a
role to play in protecting innocent children from irresponsible
parents or others. This bill, however, goes too far in extending
government authority and would create a dangerous framework that would
undermine family autonomy and put children at risk. Ohio's current
child protective system is overloaded--passing this law would put an
even greater strain on it to the detriment of children who
legitimately require state assistance and protection. Please take
action as requested below.

This bill creates seven new categories establishing when a child is in
need of protective services. The bill uses vague terms that would
allow government officials great latitude for subjective
interpretation. This would significantly expand state authority to
remove children from the home or to interfere in Ohio families.

The bill defines "lacking legally required education" to be when a
child of compulsory school age has not regularly attended school, has
not received a legitimate excuse, and has not received other education
services as required by state law. The bill allows a "mandatory
reporter" to inform an appropriate public children services agency
when he or she believes that "the agency's intervention may help a
child obtain legally required education." Mandatory reporters include
doctors and health care professionals!

The bill explicitly justifies intervention for the use of corporal
discipline and includes new categories of harm such as "emotional
injury," "lacking necessary health care," "lacking care or
supervision," and "exposure to substance misuse." This kind of vague
language leaves the door open for subjective interpretation. H.B.
371 also allows law enforcement officers to take a child into custody
when there are "reasonable grounds to believe that the child's parent
... committed an act or omission that indicates that the child is a
child in need of protective services." No person should be allowed to
take another person into custody without probable cause that harm has
or imminently will occur. This kind of language undermines the
responsibility and authority of parents and places the state in a
position to determine what is best for children.

For more information on why you should oppose this bill, read attorney
Jason Fuller's analysis on our website here.

Thank you for your strong support of freedom in the Buckeye state!

Standing with you!

Michael P. Donnelly, Esq.
Staff Attorney

-> How many news articles did you read this morning over your

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