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Bush signs Federal bill to curb Social work abuses CPS, DSS, etc.
June 26, 2003
President Bush Signs 'Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003'
President Bush, yesterday, signed the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of
2003 (S.342). The new law will help protect innocent families against overly
intrusive social workers. "Over the years thousands of homeschool families have
been victimized by social workers operating on nothing more than a tip from an
unknown stranger," said Michael Farris, General Counsel for Home School Legal
Defense Association (HSLDA). Michael Farris joined President Bush along with
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, Senator Judd Gregg, House
Majority Leader Tom Delay and Representatives Boehner and Hoekstra for the
signing ceremony, which was held in the Oval Office.
White House photo by Susan Sterner
President George W. Bush signs S. 342, the Keeping Children and Families Safe
Act of 2003, in the Oval Office Wednesday, June 25, 2003. The act reauthorizes
the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program and other related programs.
(Mike Farris standing far right)
The Keeping Children and Families Safe Act reauthorizes and modifies the Child
Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and related law. These programs
generally support activities to prevent and treat child abuse and family
violence. In his statement the signing President Bush said, "I commend Congress
for passing the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 and am pleased
to sign it into law. The Act will allow us to strengthen state and
community-based programs that prevent child abuse and family violence and treat
HSLDA believes those who abuse children should be severely punished. Yet in its
20-year history, HSLDA has handled thousands of cases arising from anonymous
tips made to social workers concerning the conduct of homeschooling families.
These tips, often supplied by those holding a grudge against home education,
are often investigated aggressively. Social workers frequently demand to
inspect the bodies of homeschool children or to interview very young children
outside the presence of their parents.
"Such aggressiveness, in a system which presumes guilt, can result in needless
pain and anxiety for families," said Farris.
HSLDA championed three new changes in S.342. First, social workers will now be
required to tell families the nature of the accusations against them at their
first contact. With this information, families will be able to legally
challenge the social worker and demand that a warrant be obtained before
interviews or investigations are conducted. Since warrants can only issue from
a judge on the basis of probable cause, overzealous cases can now be
efficiently weeded out.
The second provision will require that social workers be provided with
additional training in the constitutional rights of citizens. Social workers
will be advised that the Constitution protects citizens against unreasonable
searches and seizures. The third pertains to citizen advisory boards which can
hear complaints against overly aggressive social workers.
In November 2001, HSLDA Senior Counsel, Chris Klicka, testified before the
House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Select Education
about this legislation. His testimony was influential in convincing the
subcommittee to add these significant amendments to the bill.
"With these provisions clearly showing the intent of Congress, families in all
50 states will have more protection from overly aggressive social workers,"
said Klicka. "This is a breakthrough for parents' rights and will enable HSLDA
to be better armed to defend members families."
HSLDA will be working with both the federal Health and Human Services
Department and with the state legislatures to implement and codify this new
Visit our Issues Library for more information on this bill and child welfare
http://www.hslda.org Site for homeschoolers
Read NG alt support child protective services
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