Monday, December 12, 2011

Urgent Action Must Be Taken!!

Do we want the United States to develop a police-state environment? Urgent action must be taken, now!

S. 1877—Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid Act

Action Requested:
Urgent calls are needed to senators on the Subcommittee on Children and Families to oppose S. 1877. If either of your two U.S. senators are on the subcommittee, HSLDA urges you to call with some or all of the following message (there is no need to identify yourself as a homeschooler):

    “I am concerned that S. 1877, which is scheduled for a committee hearing this Tuesday, will lead to privacy violations and allegations of abuse and neglect against innocent families because of the mandatory reporting requirement for all adults. Additionally, S. 1877 will greatly increase the federal government’s role in social services investigations, cluttering the system, and making it hard to find children who are truly at risk.”

Senators on the Subcommittee on Children and Families:
Barbara Mikulski (MD)  
Patty Murray (WA)     
Bernard Sanders (VT)    
Robert Casey (PA)     
Kay Hagan (NC)      
Jeff Merkley (OR)  
Al Franken (MN)     
Michael Bennet (CO)    
Richard Blumenthal (CT)  
Tom Harkin (IA)      
Richard Burr (NC)  
Lamar Alexander (TN)  
Johnny Isakson (GA)  
Rand Paul (KY)    
John McCain (AZ)  
Pat Roberts (KS) 
Mark Kirk (IL)   
Michael Enzi (WY) 

You may identify and contact your two U.S. senators using HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox.

Please note that it is not necessary to call your senators if they are not on the list above; however, it will not hurt to send them an email or letter sharing your concerns about S. 1877.

S. 1877 will require new federal reporting mandates of child abuse or neglect to social services, including requiring every adult to be a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect.

Sponsor: Senator Bob Casey (PA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (CA)

Bill Summary— S. 1877

HSLDA’s Position:

S. 1877 will amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) to require—for the first time ever—every single state that receives federal funding under CAPTA to force every single adult to be a mandatory reporter of child abuse or neglect. Currently, most states only require certain people (e.g., doctors and teachers) to be mandatory reporters. HSLDA opposes this for the following reasons:

    The federal government should not force the states to make every single adult a mandatory reporter of child abuse and neglect as a condition for receiving certain federal money. This is a violation of the principle of federalism. The federal government has no constitutional authority to force the states to make every adult a mandatory reporter.

Forcing the states to make every single adult a mandatory reporter with no exceptions will lead to a police-state environment, where every adult is forced to act as an informer against friends, family, and neighbors, or face possible charges. There are grave threats to liberty and personal privacy that could result from this.

Forcing every adult to be a mandatory reporter will likely lead to a massive increase in child abuse and neglect accusations and subsequent investigations. Individuals will likely report suspected child abuse and neglect out of an abundance of caution so they do not face possible charges. Instead of protecting children, this will (1) harm innocent families as they face baseless investigations, and (2) waste the time of social workers on baseless investigations, instead of protecting children who are actually being abused or neglected.

S. 1877 also creates a massive federally funded educational campaign and training program to inform citizens about the new mandatory reporting of child abuse laws in the states. HSLDA opposes this for the following reasons:

    In a time of federal budget deficits, the federal government should not be spending $5 million to $10 million per year on a program that should be left to the states.

Although the program is established in S. 1877 as a federal grant program to the states, the secretary of Health and Human Services is given the authority to “develop and disseminate guidance and information on best practices for” the entire educational campaign and training program. This could easily lead to the federal government mandating to the states the entire reporting campaign.

In conclusion, S. 1877 will lead to a massive increase in child abuse and neglect investigations upon families. The stated purpose of S. 1877’s mandatory reporting expansion, along with the education campaign and training program is to “improve reporting” of child abuse and neglect. The bill will give states new federal grants to set up “experimental, model, and demonstration programs for testing innovative approaches and techniques that may improve reporting of and response to suspected and known incidents of child abuse or neglect by adults to the State child protective service agencies or to law enforcement agencies.”

Not only will S. 1877 require every single adult to be a mandatory reporter, S. 1877 will incentivize states to create untested, “experimental” programs that will increase the number of child abuse and neglect reports to CPS agencies.

HSLDA has seen firsthand how malicious or ignorant child abuse and neglect allegations have destroyed innocent families. A family has few protections against the power of CPS agencies. And even if a CPS investigation is closed as unfounded, the trauma to a young child, to an innocent family as a stranger (albeit maybe a well-intentioned stranger) enters the home and threatens to remove the children, is lasting and profound.

S. 1877 is unnecessary. The states—using federal money under the existing CAPTA statute—are fully capable of protecting children from legitimate abuse and neglect. S. 1877 will create a massive police state of reporting and will lead to unnecessary abuse and neglect investigations.

(read more at the HSLDA website) Pin It Now!

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