February 8, 2007

Family Stands Firm in Face of Social Worker’s Threats

Mr. and Mrs. Marrero were shocked when a social worker from the local Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) visited them this winter. The social worker informed the family that he was investigating them for the alleged abuse and neglect of their children. When the Marreros asked why, the social worker stated he knew that their 12-year-old daughter had tested positive for abnormally high levels of arsenic in a recent blood test.

The Marrero family stood on their constitutional rights to refuse a social worker’s demand to enter their home and interview their children, pictured here.

Mr. and Mrs. Marrero acknowledged that this result had come back from a new doctor they had just seen but that they had insisted that their daughter be re-tested since she had no symptoms of arsenic poisoning. The Marreros also let the social worker physically see their children, including their daughter, so that he could confirm that they were all fine.

However, the social worker demanded to come into their home and interview their children. When Mr. and Mrs. Marrero declined to allow him to do this the social worker threatened take them to court and force the Marreros to let him in their home. When the Marreros stood firm, the social worker left. As he left, he stated would be back and that the investigation was not over.

As they were members of Home School Legal Defense Association, Mr. and Mrs. Marrero called us for help to keep DCFS out of their home. By this time, the Marreros had learned that the first test results were false. Further investigation by the lab determined that the original result was due to a simple math error.

HSLDA staff attorney Thomas Schmidt called and spoke with the social worker, but he refused to drop the case even though he knew that the original lab results were false. The social worker insisted that he had to continue his investigation because of “other” allegations, refusing to say what they were. A few days later, the Marreros received a letter from the social worker indicating that the allegations stated Mrs. Marrero might have Munchausen by Proxy syndrome.

Schmidt immediately wrote to the case worker and pointed out that the entire investigation was based on a lab error. HSLDA also informed the social worker that the Marreros’ various doctors also could testify that all medical testing and evaluation of the children were based on their professional opinions and there was no evidence of Munchausen by Proxy.

A few weeks after writing this letter and contacting the social worker’s supervisor the Marreros’ DCFS case was closed without having to subject their children to being interviewed or their home invaded.

“Had we not had the excellent help of HSLDA we would probably still be dealing with this nightmare today,” said Mrs. Marrero

HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to assist and advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in the investigation 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 assist and 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.