May 26, 2003

Senate Bill 383: Forcing Volunteers to Report Child Abuse

Senator Raymond C. Shaffer (R), District 1.

This bill would force employees or volunteers of any entity that provides "organized activities for children" to report child abuse. This would apply to local homeschool support groups, churches, sports teams, and so forth.

03/17/2003 Introduced.
03/17/2003 To Senate Committee on Human Resources and Facilities.
04/15/2003 Amended in committee. Do pass as amended.
04/16/2003 Read second time. Amended.
04/17/2003 Passed Senate as amended.
04/18/2003 Read first time in Assembly. Referred to Committee on Health and Human Services, and Committee on Judiciary.
05/19/2003 Read third time. Passed. Title approved. (Yeas: 41, Nays: None, Excused: 1)
05/19/2003 To Senate
05/21/2003 In Senate. To enrollment.
05/26/2003 Delivered to and approved by Governor.

Action Requested:

HSLDA's Position:
Neutral. SB 383 originally would have required every person who is "employed by or serves as a volunteer for an entity that provides organized activities for children" to report child abuse. Thanks to homeschool opposition, the bill was amended to only affect persons who are "employed by" such entities. HSLDA does not object to this language.

In 1973, the United States Congress enacted the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to establish a new "therapeutic" approach to "treating" and "preventing" child abuse. Unfortunately, this effort to turn child abuse into a "sickness" has not worked out as well as its sponsor (Senator Fritz Mondale) might have hoped. With over two million reports of child abuse and neglect each year, many parents report that the system now presumes the innocent guilty, at the same time treating the guilty as "sick." HSLDA believes that child abuse is a crime, and should be punished, not "treated." By treating child abuse as a crime, the government protects innocent children while still presuming that parents are innocent until proven guilty.

Senate Bill 383 continues a trend of forcing more and more people to report "suspicion" of child abuse. Under existing law, persons with an official or professional responsibility for children are required to report suspicions of abuse or neglect. Senate Bill 383 would turn every person who is employed by or serves as a volunteer for any entity that provides organized activities for children into a mandatory reporter. This would directly affect homeschoolers in local support groups, and should be opposed.

 Other Resources

4/22/2003 - 4/22/2003 - Nevada--Homeschoolers Fix Two Dangerous Bills

4/9/2003 - Nevada--Mandatory Reporting Bill Must Be Opposed

Bill Text (PDF)

Bill History