November 5, 2010

Social Worker Refuses to Divulge Allegations

After an HSLDA member in California found a card from Child Protective Services on her doorstep, she called the social worker whose name was on the card to ask what was being alleged against her family. When the social worker stated that she was not authorized to disclose that information because of confidentiality concerns, the member questioned the answer and called us for assistance.

The social worker was incorrect: Several years ago, HSLDA lobbied Congress to include a provision in federal law that social workers, upon the initial contact with a person suspected of child abuse or neglect, inform the person of the nature of the allegations.

Several states have codified this requirement into state law as well [e.g., California Penal Code § 11 I 67(e)]. Unfortunately, many social workers, such as the one above, simply have not been trained in preserving the rights of those who are being investigated. However, most social workers, when informed of this legal requirement, will comply with it.

HSLDA has also worked with Congress to require that social workers be trained in the Fourth Amendment and how it applies to their actions while conducting a child abuse investigation. HSLDA’s primary reason for insisting that this be placed into law is to ensure that social workers know that the Fourth Amendment protections available to all Americans also apply to those suspected of and being investigated for child abuse.

It is important for all homeschoolers to know that they have a right under federal law, and perhaps also state law, to be informed by social workers of the specific allegations made against them that initiated an investigation.

HSLDA encourages members to stay informed of their rights by carefully reading our attorney’s articles and emails that are sent through our e-lert service and in our Weekly Update.