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South Dakota

June 9, 2010
Children Protected from Interrogations

A South Dakota family was accused of not taking care of their children’s hygiene, not taking care of their home properly, and not meeting the needs of their special needs child. The social worker on the case demanded entry into the home and access to the children so she could question them.

Members of HSLDA, the family contacted us for guidance.

They chose to not allow the social worker to come inside the home or question the children, but they permitted the social worker to view all the children.

The family collected 17 character reference letters, including five from persons who are considered mandatory reporters of child abuse under South Dakota law. Their family doctor sent a letter saying that all the children were well cared for. The letters—some from people who had known the family for 30 years—confirmed that the family takes excellent care of their home and all their children.

Sometime later, the family received a letter from the social worker saying that the report against the family was deemed “unsubstantiated.”

HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If homeschooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved. On Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure issues, HSLDA will advise our members whenever the privacy of their home is violated by forced or coerced entry for the purpose of an unsubstantiated investigation. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to court actions resulting from non-homeschooling matters. However, in circumstances where there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, HSLDA may, as we have done in the past, choose to take the case in an effort to establish legal precedent.