December 4, 2003

Senator introduces Child Welfare Reform

State Senator Tom Reynolds, homeschool father, is in the process of introducing a bill to help protect innocent families from the harassment of child welfare investigators. HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka, through his parents George and Ardath Klicka who live in Senator Reynolds' district, made contact with him to request that he introduce legislation that HSLDA recently passed at the federal level.

It is extremely important that the two amendments passed by Congress be specifically implemented by the state legislatures in each state rather than the social worker bureaucracies. The social worker system usually slants legislation and interprets it in a way that serves its interests, often to the harm of innocent homeschoolers since homeschoolers who are unaware of the allegations made against them are at a legal disadvantage. Senator Reynolds' child welfare reform bill will require that the social worker, at the initial contact, advise the individual being investigated of the specific allegations that were made against them. Currently, social workers often do not tell the homeschooler who is being investigated or what the allegations are.

The second part of the legislation will require the social workers to be trained in their duty to protect Fourth Amendment and parental rights of the families they are investigating. Oftentimes, HSLDA represents homeschoolers that are faced with false allegations by a social worker and the social worker is not even aware that the family is protected by the Fourth Amendment. Consequently, they often try to intimidate their way inside the house and to interrogate the children separately.

We believe this legislation, if passed in Wisconsin, will level the playing field for homeschoolers faced with anonymous tipsters who regularly make false reports to social workers. We are very thankful for Tom Reynolds' leadership in this area.