November 26, 2001

Social Worker Takes Issue with the U.S. Constitution

Recently, an Illinois social worker sent Home School Legal Defense Association an e-mail that perfectly represents the perspective of too many child protective service personnel. The attitude revealed in the e-mail—when put into practice—would open thousands of innocent families to unnecessary trauma. Instead, HSLDA believes, we ought to trust parents to do what is right for their families.

The social worker wrote:

I recently read your article re: the “invasion” of home-schoolers’ homes by social workers. I believe you have created a very erroneous picture of a seriously troubling situation.

First of all, you should know that each State has its own laws re: the handling of child abuse. In the state where I practice as a licensed clinical social worker, mandated reporters of abuse . . . must report the suspected abuse first, then tell parents.

Investigators (usually State employees) must interview children in the absence of parental influence so that the children’s statements are not “coerced,” are [not] spoken out of fear of parental retaliation, or are [not] “coached” . . . Your article completely misses the point: where minor children are in potential danger, warrants and court orders do not apply.

Unfortunately, many government officials agree with this dangerous view that denies—often on the basis of anonymous tips—the most basic constitutional protections to parents. Statistics show that most allegations are completely unfounded, subjecting innocent families to unnecessary and often traumatic investigations.

HSLDA believes that true child abusers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The wrongdoing of a few should not compromise the freedom and constitutional rights of the rest of American citizens who are considered innocent until proven guilty.

HSLDA desires to assist and advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If home schooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved.