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January 18, 2005

Requirement for California Social Workers to Advise of Complaints or Allegations

On August 24, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 2749 into law. The new law will require all California social workers to inform individuals, subject to a child abuse and neglect investigation, of the complaint or allegation made against them at the initial time of contact. 

This language is contained in Penal Code §11167(e). The section reads as follows:

"Notwithstanding the confidentiality requirements of this section, a representative of a child protective services agency performing an investigation that results from a report of suspected child abuse or neglect made pursuant to Section 11166, at the time of the initial contact with the individual who is subject to the investigation, shall advise the individual of the complaints or allegations against him or her, in manner that is consistent with laws protecting the identity of the reporter under this article."

The effect of this new law is that it is now mandatory for social workers to divulge the nature of the complaint or allegations against the party being investigated. Additionally, the complaint or allegation must be disclosed at the initial contact with the person suspected of abuse or neglect.

HSLDA interprets this to mean that before the interrogation of the suspected child abuser, the social worker shall advise the individual of the complaints or allegations against them. This is a prerequisite to being able to conduct a further investigation.

This information can be downloaded from HSLDA's website and provided to a social worker who is not familiar with the new law or refuses to accept your explanation.