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November 30, 2007

Social Worker Will Not Reveal Mystery Allegations

The Cole family (name changed to protect their privacy) of Houston came home one Monday afternoon to find a business card left on their doorstep. They realized the card was from a social worker, who had apparently stopped by to visit. The rest of the week the Coles phoned the social worker, trying to find out what the worker wanted and finally setting up an appointment for a week afterward. The social worker would not explain to the Coles why she came to visit and acted strangely on the phone.

Federal law requires that social workers tell families the allegations against them at the initial time of contact. The social worker would not tell the Coles anything over the phone, and did not discuss allegations when Mr. Cole met her for the appointment.

Mr. Cole explained that he was recording the interview. The social worker emphatically refused to talk with him if he recorded the conversation. Since there could not be an interview, Mr. Cole went home.

After the meeting, Mr. Cole contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association for advice. Attorney Chris Klicka sent a letter pointing out that the social worker had already violated federal law by not revealing the allegations against the family, and had also caused doubt over her intentions when she would not allow the meeting with Mr. Cole to be recorded.

Klicka assured the social worker in his letter that the Cole family was not involved in any kind of child abuse or neglect, and that the family could prove this with various references from individuals who know them well and will vouch for them. Klicka told the social worker that the letters would not be provided until the allegations were known.

The social worker must have been on a fishing expedition, because HSLDA has not heard anything since and the family has been left alone.

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.