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May 15, 2006

Illinois Social Worker: 'What Are You Trying To Hide?'

The Romo family in Aurora, Illinois, were homeschooling their seven children. They were following all the requirements of Illinois law.

Both parents had disabilities, and were finding it difficult to keep making ends meet. However, they trusted in the Lord for their daily provision, and He was taking care of them.

In February, a social worker from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) visited them, accusing the father of "abusing the children." The family immediately contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. Attorney Chris Klicka wrote a letter to the DCFS, explaining that the family was innocent, and that the allegations from the anonymous tipster were completely bogus.

Nonetheless, the DCFS continued to contact the family, insisting on interviewing all the children separately.

A local attorney who dealt frequently with the DCFS for the last 10 years advised the family to let the children be interviewed, in order to make the accusations "all go away."

Attorney Klicka talked with this attorney to find out why she was giving this advice. She explained, "You don't want to have this father taken away from his children and the children removed, so you better cooperate." When Klicka asked her if she ever advises families not to cooperate, she explained, "Yes, if they are guilty."

Attorney Klicka discussed the situation with the family, explaining that since they were innocent, the only way social workers could force their way into the house and interview the children is if the officials had probable cause. Neither the family nor Klicka could possibly think how social workers could have probable cause. The Romos decided to refuse the demand for entering their home and interviewing their children.

When Klicka contacted DCFS, the social worker said, "Why won't they cooperate with us? What are they trying to hide?" This is a common statement from social workers trying to get the families to "cooperate their way."

Nonetheless, the family did provide statements from many other families in their church who vouched for them being good parents, and also an interview between their pastor and their children, indicating no abuse. The family stood on their Fourth Amendment rights and the recent law that HSLDA helped pass in Illinois, requiring social workers to be trained in their duty to protect these very same constitutional rights.

Finally the family received a letter from the DCFS stating that the case was unsubstantiated and was closed. They did this in spite of their insistence that the "law" required them to interview the children personally. We praise God for this outcome!

 Other Resources

The Social Worker At Your Door: 10 Helpful Hints (HSLDA members only document)