June 11, 2007

Social Worker Tries to Investigate Children’s English Skills

The Orelchikov family received an unannounced visit from child protective services recently due to an anonymous allegation that the family’s children were adopted and could only speak Russian. The social worker insisted she had a legal obligation to enter the house and interview the children.

The Orelchikovs, being Home School Legal Defense Association members, phoned our hotline for help.

HSLDA Attorney Chris Klicka called the social worker and explained that although Mr. Orelchikov was from Russia originally, he has been a U.S. citizen for seven years, and his children are Americans who speak English very well. He told the social worker that it was clear that the tipster was just being malicious because the allegations were completely bogus.

After explaining the family’s innocence, Klicka also explained to the social worker the family’s Fourth Amendment rights and discussed with the social worker the Texas Code which requires “cause shown” in order to enter a family’s house and interview their children. He made it clear the Orelchikov family would not allow their children to be interviewed.

Klicka directed the family in providing the social worker with 12 reference letters from individuals who know them well and could vouch for them being good parents. Furthermore, Klicka instructed the Orelchikovs to take their children to a doctor to prove that they are not being abused in any way.

After sending the letters and medical records to the social worker, Klicka followed up with a letter of his own, reiterating the family’s innocence and the absurdity of the allegations. He also assured the social worker that the family was homeschooling pursuant to the law.

Due to all the information sent to CPS proving the family’s innocence, the social worker had no reason to press any further for an investigation of the home or private interviews with the children. The social worker informed the family that she had closed the case.

HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If homeschooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved. On Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure issues, HSLDA will advise our members whenever the privacy of their home is violated by forced or coerced entry for the purpose of an unsubstantiated investigation. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to court actions resulting from non-homeschooling matters. However, in circumstances where there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, HSLDA may, as we have done in the past, choose to take the case in an effort to establish legal precedent.

 Other Resources

The Social Worker At Your Door: 10 Helpful Hints (HSLDA members only document)