March 24, 2004

House Bill 1085: An Act Concerning Family Law - Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations - Parental Rights

Delegate Weldon

HB 1085 would ensure that during any investigations by Social Services or Child Protection Services, the parents will be advised of the specific allegations. This bill would also mandate that social workers be trained in the Constitutional rights of the family. This is Maryland's federally mandated CAPTA bill (see background information). The bill was withdrawn by its sponsor, Delegate Weldon. However, the Senate version of the bill, SB 899, is still alive.

02/13/2004Introduced in the House and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
03/17/2004House Judiciary Committee Hearing at 1:00 PM
03/22/2004Sponsor Delegate Weldon withdraws the bill, effectively killing the bill.

Action Requested:
No more action is necessary.

HSLDA's Position:

Background On June 25, 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (S.342). HSLDA was able to attach two amendments that will protect families during the child investigative process. The bill requires child protective services workers to be trained in their duty to protect the statutory and constitutional rights of those they are investigating, and requires child protective services personnel to advise individuals subject to a child abuse and neglect investigation of the complaint or allegation made against them.

This is the most significant reform on social worker investigations in the last decade.

It is important to implement this legislation at the state level for the following reasons:

1. Protection for Homeschool Families. HSLDA deals with cases on a daily basis where a social worker is investigating a homeschool family because of false allegations. These tips, often supplied by those holding a grudge against home education, are often investigated aggressively. Social workers frequently demand to conduct physical inspections of homeschool children or to interview very young children outside the presence of their parents.

Oftentimes social workers refuse to state the allegation they are investigating, and usually conduct the investigation in a manner that violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

If these provisions are enacted into Maryland law, they will provide crucial protection for innocent homeschool families and minimize the trauma of an investigation.

2. Federally Mandated. These reforms were passed at the federal level. The Department of Heath and Human Services has stated that the most efficient and effective implementation is if the provisions are codified at the state level.

3. Congress' Intent. If this bill is enacted into Maryland law, it will guarantee that Congressional intent is implemented properly and completely in order to not jeopardize the state's child welfare funding.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History