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November 28, 2007

Social Worker Ignores Federal Law

The Lewis family (name changed to protect privacy) in Colorado Springs received a visit from a case worker who claimed she was there to “make sure [their daughter] was safe in the home.” Mrs. Lewis, who answered the door, knew better than to let the case worker in her home. Mrs. Lewis proceeded to ask what the allegations were, but the caseworker refused to say.

According to the amendments Home School Legal Defense Association successfully lobbied to have included in the federal Keeping Children Safe Act of 2003, all social workers in the United States are required to inform the individual they are investigating, at the initial time of contact, what the specific allegations are. They also are to be “trained in their duty to protect the Constitutional and statutory rights of those they investigate.”

The Lewis family called HSLDA and spoke with Senior Counsel Chris Klicka, who sent the case worker a letter demanding that she reveal the allegations so that the family could resolve the matter. He warned the case worker that she was in violation of federal law.

The letter also promised that the Lewis family would provide names and phone numbers of their medical doctor and counselor so that the case worker could verify that the daughter was doing well. The letter also reiterated that the Lewis family was declining the case worker’s offer to come into their home—in order to protect their Fourth Amendment right and to not unnecessarily traumatize their daughter in her fragile condition.

In the meantime, Klicka had the family fax 10 or more letters from individuals who know them well, that vouched for their good parenting and love of their daughter.

After receiving the letter from Klicka, as well as the letters of reference from people who could vouch for them, the Lewis family has been left alone.

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.