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From:
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4/10/2013 3:35:12 PM
Tj Schmidt--HSLDA
Arizona: CPS Bill Amended--Your Calls Needed!

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Arizona: CPS Bill Amended--Your Calls Needed!

Dear Arizona HSLDA Members and Friends,

We have been tracking House Bill 2144 through the Arizona Legislature.
This bill was introduced to make some relatively minor changes to the
child protective services (CPS) law in Arizona. HB 2144 originally
addressed the purpose of CPS, dealt with the assessment of reports
that came in, and permitted reports to be made electronically by
mandated reporters.

However, after passing the House, HB 2144 was amended in the Senate
Health and Human Services Committee. As the bill is now written a CPS
caseworker would not be required to tell the family of the complaint
or allegations against them if "the department determines disclosure
of such information may compromise an investigation." Obviously, this
would allow CPS to refuse to tell the family anything about
allegations if they feel it would "compromise" their investigation.

HSLDA has worked hard to ensure that parents are informed at the
initial time of contact about the report and allegations against them.
Having this basic information helps a parent make informed decisions
and can often lead to helping resolve the investigation quicker.

At this time HB 2144 will likely be scheduled for a vote on the Senate
floor. We would like you to contact your state senator and urge him or
her to oppose this bill due to this language. If this language is
removed HSLDA would likely be neutral on this bill. Please act now!


REQUESTED ACTION:

Please call and email your state senator with this message in your own
words:

"Please oppose House Bill 2144 as it is currently written. The Senate
Health and Human Service Committee amended this bill to allow child
protective services (CPS) to refuse to tell the subject of an
investigation the allegations against them. If CPS is allowed to
refuse to provide the allegations at the initial time of contact it
will keep the parent from being able to make informed decisions in
cooperating with CPS. It will also unnecessarily prolong
investigations. Please keep current law on notification of the
allegations as it is and require CPS to inform parents of the
allegations against them at the initial time of contact."

As this is a parental rights issue and not merely a homeschool issue,
you do not need to indicate that you are a homeschooler.

You can find the contact information for your state senator by going
here:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18036

BACKGROUND:

HSLDA has worked very hard to ensure that families who are subjected
to an investigation of abuse or neglect are informed of the
allegations against them at the initial time of contact. Amazingly,
HSLDA routinely talks to members with social services at the door who
are being told that they have to let the caseworker in and/or allow
them to interview their children before they will tell them the
allegations against the family.

Back in 2003 then-President Bush signed into law the Keeping Children
and Families Safe Act that included two provisions for which HSLDA had
lobbied. These were that CPS caseworkers would be required (1) to be
trained in their duty to protect the statutory and constitutional
rights of those they are investigating; and (2) to advise individuals
subject to child abuse and neglect investigations of the complaint or
allegations against them. You can see our memo about this issue here:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18037 .

Arizona added both of these provisions to their statutes within the
next year. The training requirement can be found in Arizona Revised
Statutes 8-802(E):
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18038
and the notice of the complaint/allegations can be found in Arizona
Revised Statutes 8-803(A)(2):
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18039 ) .

According to the Child Maltreatment 2011 report put out by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, children were victimized in
America at a rate of 9.1 per 1,000 children, resulting in 681,000
children having been found to be victims of child maltreatment in
2011, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Of all
children who were found to be abused, nearly four-fifths of these
victims suffered neglect (78.5%), nearly one-fifth (17.6%) were
physically abused, almost one out of ten were sexually abused (9.1%).
Fatalities resulting from child abuse occurred at a rate of 2.1 per
100,000 children.

We do not have statistics delineating how many of these abused
children were educated at home. However, certain realities are
apparent. The best estimate of the number of children being
homeschooled is approximately 2 million. Applying the rate of abuse to
the homeschool population results in an estimate that there should be
18,200 children who would have been abused by their parents. This is a
staggering figure. Applying the same reasoning to fatalities, there
should be over 42 deaths a year of homeschooled children. Given the
scrutiny of homeschooling by neighbors, relatives, and the general
public, it is impossible that abuse is occurring at anything near the
national average.

What is known is that in 2011 there were 31,364 reports screened in
Arizona. These reports accounted for 72,438 "duplicate children" who
received a CPS response out of the 31,364 reports. Of these CPS
responses, 54% were unsubstantiated and another 33% had no alleged
maltreatment. Now 11% of the CPS responses did find substantiated
maltreatment and another 1% could not be substantiated, but there was
reason to suspect that at least one child may have been maltreated or
was at risk of maltreatment. Thus, 87% of all of the CPS responses are
ultimately determined to be false.

For more information on HSLDA's concerns about the current
abuse/neglect reporting system and our suggestions on how it might be
reformed go to:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18040 .

To see more information on this and other bills HSLDA is monitoring in
Arizona, visit our website at:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18041

Thank you for fighting for freedom in Arizona.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

P.S. We greatly value you and your support--it is a privilege to serve
you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you
consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support
enables us to defend individual families and protect homeschooling
freedom for all. Join now:
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=18042

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-> How long are you in for?

Some families are facing what seems like a lifelong commitment to
homeschooling, with children at both ends of the spectrum -- some
graduating and some just reaching school age. If you're going to
be "in" for a while, consider a lifetime membership with HSLDA.
It's a good deal for families with more than 10 years of
homeschooling ahead.

More reasons to join HSLDA...
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=1936

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