June 19, 2002
Texas CPS Goes "Fishing"

An HSLDA member family in the Dallas area returned home one day to discover a business card from the local CPS agency on their door.

The family immediately contacted HSLDA. We called the social worker, who refused to reveal the allegations until the family faxed her a permission statement. The social worker found the family's first statement "insufficient" and gave HSLDA the exact wording for the "release." Although the family followed her instructions, she promptly refused their second statement as well.

Next, she sent a form statement, simply requiring the parents' signature. Wisely, the family asked their HSLDA attorney to first review the form. He discovered that it would have authorized the social worker to go on a fishing expedition—to seek personal information on the family from any "persons, organizations, or establishments" she chose, including hospitals, businesses, or individuals.

Pointing to the Calabretta ruling, the HSLDA attorney explained that CPS was required by law to reveal the allegations. Finally the social worker conceded—it was an anonymous allegation that claimed the child had no place to sleep and was living in sub-standard conditions. Yet, she still insisted on entering the home and interviewing the child.

HSLDA refused and had the family provide statements from individuals who had been in their home and could vouch that the boy had a bedroom and clean living conditions. The social worker has indicated she will close this case as "unfounded." We are thankful that this CPS fishing trip was cut short.