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4/19/01 11:40:02 AM
Dewitt T. Black III, Esq., Senior Counsel of HSLDA
North Carolina Action Alert: Proposed Legislation to Limit Social Worker Access to Private Homes

From the HSLDA@Capitol Hill E-lert Service...

April 19, 2001

Dear North Carolina HSLDA Members and Friends,

North Carolina House Bill 971 was introduced in the North Carolina
legislature on April 4, 2001, by Representative Russell Capps. HB 971
would prohibit a social worker from entering a private residence for
investigation purposes without either (1) the permission of the head
of the household or (2) the accompaniment of a law enforcement
officer acting with legal authority to enter the residence. The
"legal authority" the law enforcement officer would be required to
have would be a court order, search warrant, or an emergency. HB 971
has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary II. This bill
should be supported.

The legal difficulties encountered by the Stumbo family prompted the
introduction of this bill. This North Carolina family's problems
started when a social worker insisted upon entering their home and
interviewing their children in violation of the Fourth Amendment to
the United States Constitution. For more information on the Stumbo
case, visit our website at


1. Call as many members as possible of the House Judiciary II
Committee and give them this message:

"Protect the privacy of North Carolina citizens! Vote 'Yes' on House
Bill 971."

- The Judiciary II Committee members and their phone numbers are
listed below:

Rep. Philip Baddour, Jr., Chair (919) 715-0850
Rep. Milton Fitch, Jr., Vice Chair (919) 715-2241
Rep. Phil Haire, Vice Chair (919) 715-3005
Rep. Joanne Bowie (919) 733-5853
Rep. William Culpepper, III (919) 715-3028
Rep. Michael Decker (919) 733-7208
Rep. Jim Gully (919) 733-5860
Rep. John Hall (919) 733-5898
Rep. Maggie Jeffers (919) 733-5191
Rep. Larry Justus (919) 733-5956
Rep. Paul Miller (919) 733-7760
Rep. David Miner (919) 733-5749
Rep. Art Pope (919) 733-5809
Rep. Wilma Sherrill (919) 715-4466
Rep. Jennifer Weiss (919) 733-5781

2. Also, call your state representative and give him the same

"Protect the privacy of North Carolina citizens! Vote 'Yes' on House
Bill 971."

- You can find your state representative and his phone number by
using HSLDA's Legislative Toolbox at


At about 7 a.m. on September 9, 1999, Jim and Mary Ann Stumbo's two-
year-old failed to put on all her clothes before exiting the front
door to pursue her pet kitten. Her brother brought her back inside
about three minutes later. However, within two hours, a social worker
drove up the dead-end street leading to the family's home on a 10-
acre lot. The social worker did not have a warrant to enter the home
or examine the children as required by the Constitution.
Nevertheless, she demanded to interview each child without the
presence of their mother. When the family refused, the Department of
Social Services filed a petition alleging "interference with a child
abuse investigation."

The trial judge ruled that social workers are not "state actors,"
that a child neglect investigation is not a "search," and that the
Fourth Amendment did not provide the parents with a "lawful excuse"
to refuse entry. However, in an extraordinary move, the North
Carolina Court of Appeals blocked the trial court order, and allowed
the Stumbos time to appeal the case. Michael Farris, HSLDA's General
Counsel, appeared before the North Carolina Court of Appeals on March
13, 2001, arguing that the order to investigate was unlawful in that
it ordered parents to submit to a search and interview without the
requisite showing of probable cause. We are currently awaiting a

For more information on the Stumbo case, visit our website at

To view a complete list of bills HSLDA is monitoring in North
Carolina, visit our website at

Very truly yours,

Dewitt T. Black, III

Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
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 Other Resources

More information on the North Carolina's House Bill 971

More information on the Stumbo case