References to - Constitution

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References to - Constitution

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:22 pm

References to Constitution ... index.html

American Constitutional Rights Education for Social Workers
Last edited by Marina on Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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State agents violated Const in corporal-punishment probe

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:23 pm ... E_ID=32121

Parents win victory
over social workers
Judges: State agents violated Constitution in corporal-punishment probe

Posted: April 18, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern

By Ron Strom
© 2003

Social workers who entered a private Christian school without a warrant and questioned a 10-year-old boy about corporal punishment violated the U.S. Constitution, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Ruling in favor of parents in Milwaukee, Wis., the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Wednesday the government employees – Carla Heck, John Wichman and supervisor Christine Hansen – in probing alleged child abuse at Greendale Baptist Academy, violated both the Fourth and 14th Amendments.

"This is a tremendous victory for parental rights," said Steve Crampton, chief counsel for the Center for Law & Policy, which represented the parents in the case – John and Jane Doe v. Carla Heck, et al.

Crampton told WND, "This decision puts a stake in the ground telling [social workers], 'The law applies to you, too.'"

The case arose, Crampton says, when social workers from the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, which had been taken over by the state of Wisconsin, forced their way into the school over the objections of Principal Troy Bond, seized a 10-year-old boy with police assistance, and interviewed him about the school's policy of administering a "swat" as discipline in certain cases.

Based on the information obtained from the child, the Center for Law & Policy said in a statement, the social workers targeted the parents' disciplinary practices, questioning their own use of corporal punishment. Eventually, the social workers opened files on numerous families in the school and sought to remove the school's accreditation.

The court also held that the social workers violated the rights of parents when they threatened to remove their children from the home even though, in the words of Judge Daniel A. Manion, they "had no reason whatsoever to suspect that Mr. and Mrs. Doe were abusing their children."

Crampton said Mrs. Doe was forced to buy a cell phone so she could quickly contact her husband if the social workers tried to seize her children. He says she put blankets over the windows of her home for fear the social workers would try to stake out the house in search of information.

The appeals court further found that the statute under which the social workers acted is unconstitutional as applied to the parents and school. The Center for Law & Policy is petitioning the court for a more formal prohibition against the type of action taken by the social workers to prevent similar problems in the future.

Crampton explained that prior to the decision, the social workers were "free to run around like Barney Fife" with a loaded gun.

The case went to the appeals panel after the parents lost the first round in a lower court in September 2001.

Although the defendants originally were sued in their individual capacities so that damages could be determined, the court gave the government employees "qualified immunity," preventing any monetary award.

Crampton is fairly confident the government agency will not appeal this week's decision. "I would be shocked if they do," he said.

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North Carolina Family Holds Social Services to Constitution

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:25 pm ... 031201.htm

North Carolina Family Holds Social Services to Constitution
Posted: 03.12.01

RALEIGH-Home schoolers across the country will be watching when a North Carolina family defends its constitutional right to privacy Tuesday, March 13, in the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Although the facts of the case focus on a child, who, in typical two-year-old fashion, left her house undressed to chase a new pet early one morning, there are critical issues at stake.

Jim and Mary Ann Stumbo of Kings Mountain, North Carolina insist that the Constitution protects the privacy of their home. The Cleveland County Department of Social Services contends that social workers are not subject to the Constitution. The trial court took the side of social services.

The question to be answered by the appeals court is whether social workers are bound to obey the U.S. Constitution. Federal courts have already ruled in other cases that social workers are subject to the Constitution.

The case arose in Cleveland County, NC, on Sept. 9, 1999, when the Stumbo's daughter, behaving as a normal two-year-old, failed to put all her clothes on before running out the front door to pursue her pet kitten. Her older brother saw her and quickly brought the little girl back in the house, but someone was already complaining to the authorities.

Soon, a social worker drove up to the family's home on a 10-acre lot on a dead-end street. 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 examine all the children. The family, after contacting the Home School Legal Defense Association, declined. When the case went to trial, the court ordered the family to immediately comply with the demands of the social worker.

According to the lower court, the Fourth Amendment only "applies to criminal action and to the state," but not to social workers. The lower court also said that social workers investigating child abuse are not "state actors," and are therefore not subject to the Constitution.

"The bottom line is that North Carolina's social workers seem to believe they don't have to obey the Constitution when investigating child abuse," said Michael Farris, chairman and general counsel for the Home School Legal Defense Association. "The federal courts have said that social workers are not a law unto themselves. They must obey the Constitution, just like the rest of us."

Farris will present the Stumbo's case Tuesday, March 13, 2001, at 9:30 a.m. in Raleigh at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

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Constitution applies to child abuse investigations

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:33 pm

Social workers learn that U.S. Constitution applies to child abuse investigations

U.S. Court of Appeals is unanimous: CPS cannot trample home school family’s Fourth Amendment rights

For immediate release
August 27, 1999
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or [email protected]

YOLO COUNTY, CA—Social workers are bound to obey the U.S. Constitution when investigating child abuse cases, said a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an opinion handed down Thursday, August 26, 1999.
“This opinion will have a nationwide impact. With respect to the Fourth Amendment, the Ninth Circuit settled the social worker question once and for all. No longer can social workers enter a home without either a warrant or probable cause of an emergency,” said Michael Farris, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “Child Protective Services agencies have too many times behaved as if there is a social worker exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibitions against illegal searches and seizures,” Farris explained, but there is no such exception, according to the Ninth Circuit ruling in Calabretta v. Floyd, et al.
The Fourth Amendment rights case was originally filed February 24, 1995, by Robert and Shirley Calabretta in the Eastern District of California federal court, after a Yolo County policeman and social worker illegally entered the Calabretta home and strip searched their three-year-old daughter. District Court Judge Lawrence K. Karlton ruled that unless there is evidence of an emergency, a social worker and police officer investigating a report of child abuse must have a warrant. The Ninth Circuit panel unanimously affirmed that decision in Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld’s opinion.
Kleinfeld wrote that forcing the mother to pull down the three-year-old’s pants “invaded...the mother’s dignity and authority in relation to her own children in her own home. The strip search as well as the entry stripped the mother of this authority and dignity. The reasonable expectation of privacy of individuals in their homes includes the interests of both parents and children in not having government officials coerce entry in violation of the Fourth Amendment and humiliate the parents in front of the children.”
“It’s the best possible opinion for the Calabretta family and for the rest of the country,” Farris said. “The family won on every point we raised. Police and social workers cannot force their way into private homes. They were wrong to strip search the three-year-old daughter. This ruling erases the possibility that the law is not clear in the rest of the country.”

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Children's Law Blog

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:36 pm

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The U.S. Constitution: Partially Revived

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:39 pm

The U.S. Constitution: Partially Revived on June 25, 2003
July 4, 2003 by Ed Ward, MD

On June 25, 2003, President Bush signed the "Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003". "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). "Such aggressiveness, in a system which presumes guilt, can result in needless pain and anxiety for families," said Farris. In November 2001, HSLDA reminded the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Select Education of this forgotten piece of paper, The Constitution of the United States of America.

This law will inform Health and Human Services Department's social workers of the Constitution of the United States. Supposedly, social workers will actually have to inform families of the charges of which they are accused, before they remove the children from the parents protection and force the children to a physical inspection of their bodies. Social services will receive "additional training" to inform them that United States citizens have rights against unreasonable search and seizure. There will even be a citizens advisory board to hear complaints about Constitutional rights violations.

It only took a little over a year and half to get the bill signed. There was apparently no rush to restore the Constitutional rights of United States residents and citizens. The basic rights of individuals didn't rate in the political agendas of the elected Democrats and Republicans. After all, it's getting to be election time and the parties needed time to scapegoat their opposition. The judicial branch has had and still has no concern over basic constitutional rights. Their main concern was getting into the bedrooms of Americans to decide on what type of sexcapades citizens would be allowed to have.

During the year and a half period of this slothlike reaction time of our legislative and executive branches of government that was required to grace the people of the United States with their basic Constitutional rights, almost 5 million families were invaded unConstitutionally. That's, at a minimum, 10 million people whose rights were allowed to be violated from the time they were "informed" of these abuses. There is no mention of the fact that these abuses to the Constitution were passed by both parties, which consist mostly of lawyers. They had to know they were passing laws that were destroying the rights of every family in the country and the resulting court battles would be very lucrative to other lawyers and the court system. It's alot easier to sell judgeships in a lucrative environment.

HSLDA dealt mainly with homeschoolers and that is understandable. They stated that many of these unknown strangers that filed unsubstantiated "tips" were from those holding a grudge against home schooling or possibly some financial gain from shutting homeschoolers down. HSLDA did not concern itself with other unsubstantiated, unknown "tips" that might arise from a grudge, vindictiveness or financial gain in other circumstances of Constitutional abuses against individuals, children and families. In those domestic situations, grudges, vindictiveness and financial gain are much more prevalent. Hopefully, Constitutional rights will be "allowed" in more than the area of homeschooling, but, in all aspects of child protection, children, individuals and families.

The United States Constitution has and is being subverted by the 3 branches of our government. We are more an oligarchy than a republic at present. The republic is based on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. When those are denied, we are ruled by those that have caused the violations.

The system of checks and balances has been subverted by the judicial system. The judicial system is supposed to be non political and hold the feet of the executive and legislative branches to the fire by enforcing the Constitution of the United States. How can the judicial system perform that check when the very position of a judge can be sold for the going price of a judgeship.

Our free press has been subverted by allowing a few key corporations to obtain most of the ownership of the media outlets. A fact for which these corporations must be very grateful. Is there an incentive for these conglomerates to inform the public when their basic Constitutional rights are being destroyed? Is there an incentive for these conglomerates to inform the public about any circumstances that might bite the hand that feeds them?

And finally, the public has been subverted by years of political scapegoating, spinning, spending and outright lies. The public seems have lost its outrage against political government injustice when directed at the citizens. Have we become a "sheeple" of a government of political agendas and spin? Will the public take back their individual, familial and Constitutional rights? Are we patriots of the rights and values of our founding fathers or a government's political spin that is subverting those rights and values.

The Constitution is there for a reason. The Bill of Rights is there for a reason and there would have been no Constitution without them. There would be no United States without them. It can not be subverted for a "good cause" or any alleged reason by those that think they are better or know more than our founding fathers. When that happens the principles upon which this nation is founded are destroyed.

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Investigation limits for emotional abuse

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:42 pm ... 118333.DTL

Ruling hinders social workers
Investigation limits for emotional abuse
Chuck Squatriglia, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, June 10, 2002

A federal court ruling that a social worker broke the law when she entered a Berkeley home without a warrant and took away two boys she feared were emotionally abused highlights a growing debate over when and how authorities can intervene when they suspect such harm.

In a ruling last week, U.S. Magistrate Bernard Zimmerman said the U.S. Constitution and California law allow social workers to enter a home without a warrant only if there is an imminent threat of physical -- but not mental -- abuse to a child.

Child welfare experts said the law doesn't recognize mounting evidence that emotional abuse is as detrimental to children as physical abuse, nor does it consider the obligation of social workers to move quickly when investigating such allegations.

But some family law attorneys praised the ruling as reaffirmation of the sanctity of the home and parental rights at a time when social workers increasingly intervene in matters that are none of their concern.

The issue has grown so thorny that it has come before the Child Welfare Services System Stakeholders Group, a state panel charged with improving California's child welfare bureaucracy.

"The more we learn, the more likely it is that the definition of what constitutes an immediate threat will change" to include emotional harm, said Andrew Ross, a spokesman for the California Department of Social Services. "It's something that's being discussed."

The question of when social workers can enter homes uninvited has been litigated several times in California and other states in recent years.

A New York woman recently filed a $2 million federal lawsuit against social workers in Oswego County, claiming they illegally removed her four children. A case questioning the authority of social workers to enter a home is pending before North Carolina's supreme court, and a federal judge in Utah dismissed a similar suit in September.

In a case from Yolo County, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in 1999 that constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure apply to social workers as well as to police.

The ruling prompted California lawmakers to require social workers to obtain a warrant before entering a home uninvited unless there is "immediate danger" of physical or sexual abuse. The court bolstered its decision in a ruling last year in a San Bernardino County case.

But the law does not define "immediate danger." Such definitions are left to Child Protective Services agencies in each of California's 58 counties.

That apparently is where Alameda County social worker Carolyn Black ran afoul of the law when she paid a visit to Patricia Moodian's Berkeley home on April 20, 2000.

County officials and attorneys for Moodian and her two sons declined to comment, citing the confidentiality of child welfare proceedings. But court documents show that a San Francisco Superior Court judge hearing a custody dispute between Moodian and the boys' father expressed concern for the youngsters' emotional well-being. She asked Alameda County authorities to investigate.

Black did not have a warrant when she arrived with police, and Moodian reluctantly allowed her into the house. After observing Moodian's behavior and interviewing her children, Black concluded the children were in imminent danger of emotional harm and placed them in foster care for almost four months.

Zimmerman ruled that Black violated the constitutional rights of Moodian and her children, described by attorneys as "middleschool-aged," when she entered the house without a warrant because there were no allegations of physical abuse. The ruling sets the stage for a trial, scheduled to begin Aug. 19, during which a jury will decide whether the county should pay damages to the family.

Alameda County Counsel Richard Winnie declined to discuss specifics of the case, but said it raises difficult issues about a welfare agency's ability to protect children from emotional abuse.

"We are working in an area where there is a responsibility to protect children but not absolute clarity in how to proceed," he said.

Social service experts agreed.

"It will make it harder for (social workers) to do their jobs if there are no physical signs of abuse," said Lahne Matas-Curry, a spokeswoman for the National Association of Social Workers. "It's a fine line, and there must be some way for the law to allow social workers to do their job."

But some family law attorneys said the ruling will keep social workers from overstepping their authority for fear of letting a child "slip through the cracks."

"They'd rather be more aggressive than less in their mission, and the public seems willing to go along with that," said Jan Saalfield, a Sausalito attorney who specializes in child welfare cases.

Many of the allegations of emotional abuse social workers investigate stem from divorces and custody disputes, which are inherently stressful for children, Saalfield said.

Saalfield and others concede there are plenty of cases where children truly suffer emotional abuse and must be helped. But case workers have an obligation to respect parental rights and obey the law.

Child welfare authorities throughout the Bay Area said only on rare occasions do social workers have to seek a warrant to enter a house.

"I can only think of one case in the past several years, and we didn't prevail," said Danna Fabella, director of Children and Family Services in Contra Costa County. "We asked for the warrant and the judge did not agree and we didn't go any further."

E-mail Chuck Squatriglia [email protected].

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When The Social Worker Comes Calling

Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 3:48 pm

When The Social Worker Comes Calling

By Chris Klicka, Esq.

More and more frequently, home schoolers are turned in on child abuse hotlines to social service agencies. Families who do not like home schoolers can make an anonymous phone call to the child abuse hotline and fabricate abuse stories about home schoolers. The social worker then has an obligation to investigate. Each state has a different policy for social workers, but generally they want to come into the family's home and speak with the children separately. To allow either of these to occur involves great risk to the family.

The home school parent, however, should be very cautious when an individual identifies himself as a social worker. In fact, there are several tips that a family should follow:

1. Always get the business card of the social worker. This way, when you call the Home School Legal Defense Association (you must be a member), the HSLDA attorney will be able to contact the social worker on your behalf. If the situation is hostile, immediately call HSLDA and hand the phone out the door so an HSLDA lawyer can talk to the social worker. We have a 24-hour emergency number.

2. Find out the allegations. Do not fall for the frequently used tactic of the social worker who tells the unsuspecting victim that he (the social worker) can only give you the allegations after he comes into your home and speaks to your child separately. You generally have the right to know the allegations without allowing a social worker in your home.

3. Never let the social worker in your house without a warrant or court order. All the cases that you have heard about where children are snatched from the home usually involve families waiving their Fourth Amendment right to be free from such searches and seizures by agreeing to allow the social worker to come inside the home. A warrant requires "probable cause," which does not include an anonymous tip or a mere suspicion. This is guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the courts. (In extremely rare situations, police may enter a home without a warrant if there are exigent circumstances, i.e., police are aware of immediate danger or harm to the child.)

However, in some instances, social workers or police threaten to use force to come into a home. If you encounter a situation which escalates to this level, record the conversation if at all possible, but be sure to inform the police officer or social worker that you are doing this. If entry is going to be made under duress you should say and do the following: "I am closing my front door, but it is unlocked. I will not physically prevent you from entering, and I will not physically resist you in any way. But you do not have my permission to enter. If you open my door and enter, you do so without my consent, and I will seek legal action for an illegal entry."

4. Never let the social worker talk to your children alone without a court order. In nearly every incident, HSLDA has been able to keep the social worker away from the children. On a few occasions, social workers have been allowed to talk with children, particularly where severe allegations are involved. In these instances, an attorney, chosen by the parent, has been present. At other times, HSLDA had children stand by the door and greet the social worker, but not be subject to any questioning.

5. Tell the official that you will call back after you speak with your attorney. Call your attorney or HSLDA, if you are a member.

6. Ignore intimidations. Normally, social workers are trained to bluff. They will routinely threaten to acquire a court order, knowing fully well that there is no evidence on which to secure an order. In 98 percent of the contacts that HSLDA handles, the threats turn out to be bluffs. However, it is always important to secure an attorney or HSLDA in these matters, since there are occasions where social workers are able to obtain a court order with flimsy evidence.

7. Offer to give the officials the following supporting evidence:

· A statement from your doctor, after he has examined your children, if the allegations involve some type of physical abuse;

· References from individuals who can vouch for your being good parents;

· Evidence of the legality of your home school program. If your home school is an issue, HSLDA attorneys routinely convince social workers of this aspect of an investigation.

8. Bring a tape recorder and/or witnesses to any subsequent meeting. Often times HSLDA will arrange a meeting between the social worker(s) and the parents after preparing the parents on what to discuss and what not to discuss. The discussion at the meeting should be limited to the specific allegations and you should avoid telling them about past events beyond what they already know. Usually, anonymous tips are all they have to go on, which is not sufficient to take someone to court. What you give them can and will be used against you.

9. Inform your church, and put the investigation on your prayer chain. Over and over again, HSLDA has seen God deliver home schoolers from this scary scenario.

10. Avoid potential situations which could lead to a child welfare investigation.

· Conduct public relations with your immediate neighbors and acquaintances regarding the legality and success of home schooling. · Do not spank children in public. · Do not spank someone else's child unless they are close Christian friends and you have permission. · Avoid leaving young children at home alone.

In order for a social worker to get a warrant to come and enter a home and interview children separately, both state statute and the U.S. Constitution normally require him to prove that there is some "probable cause." Probable cause is reliable evidence which must be corroborated by other evidence if the tip is anonymous. In other words, an anonymous tip alone and mere suspicion is not enough for a social worker to obtain a warrant.

There have been some home-schooled families who have been faced with a warrant even though there was not probable cause. HSLDA has been able to overturn these in court so that the order to enter the home was never carried out.

- - - - - - - -

This has links to the court cases.

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Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:00 pm ... advice.htm


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Postby Marina » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:01 pm


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