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March 22, 2007

Social Worker Tries to Hide Reason for Investigation

A veteran homeschool family was surprised to find out they were being investigated by Child Protective Services. Although they did not talk with the social worker initially, they found a business card in their door, with a message asking the parents to call.

The family was very disconcerted about this contact and had no idea what the charges could be. Attorney Chris Klicka of Home School Legal Defense Association contacted the social worker on behalf of the family only to discover that the allegations were vague and without merit. The social worker said the family was accused of “physical abuse, medical neglect, neglectful supervision, and emotional abuse.”

Klicka explained to the social worker that the allegations were completely false. He also told her that the federal Keeping Children Safe Act required social workers to tell the specific allegation at the initial time of contact. In this instance, the social worker had not provided any allegations at the initial time of contact, let alone specific ones.

Per Klicka’s recommendation, the family brought their children to a doctor for a professional interview and observation. He provided a letter saying he found no evidence to support any type of abuse or neglect. The family also provided numerous character references from friends.

Klicka explained to the social worker that the family was standing on their Fourth Amendment rights and would not have the children interviewed. In response, the social worker wrote: “the interview, as part of the investigative process has to be completed before closing a case…I appreciate the letters of reference on behalf of your family, but until the face to face interview is complete, your case will remain open.” At this point Klicka reiterated that the family would stand on their Fourth Amendment rights in order to protect their children from unnecessary trauma.

Finally, nearly four months later, the family was overjoyed to receive a letter from the social worker stating that the case was closed. No interview had been conducted of any family member. We praise God for this result.

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.

 Other Resources

The Social Worker At Your Door: 10 Helpful Hints (HSLDA members only document)