Families gain new protections [USA Arizona]
Homeschoolers across the country have been striving to make some small but necessary changes to the laws governing child abuse and neglect investigations. On June 25, 2003, Congress enacted the Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003, which requires social workers to inform parents of the allegations against them at the time of initial contact, and also requires social workers to be trained regarding the legal rights of the parents they investigate. The Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) worked hard to convert this federal legislation into specific protections for Arizona families. Arizona has now adopted these new federal requirements into state law and has made other significant changes as well.At Home School Legal Defense Association’s urging, CAP added a provision to the law that allows families who have been falsely accused to discover the identity of the person who reported them. A similar law is on the books in Virginia and has proven to be a valuable safeguard for homeschool families. The inclusion of the Virginia language in Arizona’s new law shows how homeschoolers can make a difference by working together at the state and national level.The new law also makes it a crime to knowingly and intentionally make a false report of child abuse or neglect, and requires family courts to consider whether either parent has ever made a false report in custody cases. Taken together, these provisions are a step forward in stopping the flood of false and malicious reports that now overwhelm our child abuse and neglect investigation system.