April 30, 2001

Nevada Family Successfully Handles Hostile Investigation

NEVADA—Mrs. P was at the library around lunchtime with several of her children, who began telling her that they were "starving." Evidently, someone overheard them and called in an anonymous tip to Child Protective Services, claiming that the children were "starving and dirty." This complaint resulted in an aggressive investigation.

A few days later, a social worker visited Mr. and Mrs. P at home. They explained the situation at the library and brought the children to talk to him, so that he could see they were well fed. But that wasn't enough—the social worker then demanded to enter the home, which Mr. and Mrs. P respectfully denied.

When the P family told HSLDA about the investigation, HSLDA contacted the social worker and explained that the Fourth Amendment protected our member's right to deny his entry without a warrant or an emergency.

Several weeks passed. Suddenly, the social worker showed up on the family's doorstep, again demanding entrance. Mr. and Mrs. P called HSLDA and handed the phone to the social worker. After HSLDA reiterated the family's rights and the family showed the official that they had food on hand, he yelled at Mrs. P and left.

The next day, the social worker's supervisor called Mrs. P and, after vigorously complaining that the family had been "uncooperative," informed her that the case was unfounded.

HSLDA Policy Statement—Social Services Investigation Cases