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April 4, 2005
In Re Gauthier Children: Petition to Compel Cooperation with Child Abuse Investigation
Social services obtained unnecessary order to compel cooperation with investigation

Filed: March 4, 2004, Susquehanna County.

Nature of Case: In mid-February, Mr. and Mrs. Gauthier took their infant daughter Isis to the hospital because she was listless and had a slight fever. Apparently because they did not immediately follow the doctor's recommendation, the parents were reported to social services for possible medical neglect. While their daughter was lying in ICU, several social workers interrogated both parents at the hospital.

Rulings: When the Gauthiers refused to allow the social worker into their home, social services filed an ex parte petition to compel cooperation, which the judge granted. Within a week, HSLDA filed an emergency stay, an appeal to Superior Court, and an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, all of which were denied. The social worker finally visited the home and declared the allegations completely unfounded.

HSLDA appealed the order in Superior Court after the home visit, filing our initial brief on May 25, 2004. Oral Arguments were held on October 12, 2004.

On May 23, 2005, the Superior Court issued its decision strongly in HSLDA's favor, following our arguments regarding the Fourth Amendment issues in the opinion. The Court upheld our appeal and vacated the opinion of the Commonwealth Court that gave CYS access to the family's home.

Status: Victory!

Last Updated: July 12, 2005

 Other Resources

Click here to read the Superior Court Opinion (Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Pennsylvania: Social Worker Search Violated Constitution