Fishing Expedition

Fishing Expedition

by Craig Smith
Below is a story from the USA about their CYFsequivalent
making false charges, being shown that they are false
charges, then proceeding to file court orders to inspect
the children privately away from the parents (what is
known as a “fishing expedition”), and all the paperwork
being done illegally, that is, without the required
This kind of stuff happens all the time over there. It
happens here too, by the way, and Barbara and I have
had the unpleasant experience on a number of
occassions to review such cases that happen right here
in Kiwiland.
CYFs has legal powers to enter homes and remove
children apart from, over and above court or police
findings. You must understand this. It is because of this
the lady in Timaru (the riding crop case) had her son
taken and, even though found not guilty in court, CYFs
continues to hold her son in another town at a boarding
school being paid for by your taxes and mine.
Fortunately the father in this case below had a few
clues and trumped the social worker trying to do them
in by simply having the social worker return the next
day giving them time to tidy up, remove the children to
another place and get legal advice. We too must
become aware of what’s what and have a plan to
thwart CYFs workers’ objectives when they appear to
be less than above board. If Section 59 is repealed or
amended according to the ridiculous suggestions of the
Select Committee, virtually all parents will be suspect,
for it will be illegal to correct your child using any kind
of force, no matter how reasonable or light….and how
many parents will quite happily stop correcting their
children, I ask, simply because the state says you
shouldn’t do it? And since our children our out of the
sight of the normal eyes and ears of the state’s
agents—state school teachers—our children and our
families will become the most mysterious and because
of that, the most suspected.
It is scary that the case was dropped on a technicality
rather than the facts. Note that in the case below, in the
land of the free, the lawyers for the family (and these
are Christian lawyers, home schoolers every one of
them) suggested the family take the children for a
pediatrician’s inspection and report to get the social
worker off their back. I’ve noticed they suggest this
fairly routinely in such cases over there. I would
personally take that as an insult, assuming as it does
that the social worker may be onto something and has a
right to know the children’s bottoms are not covered in
bruises and welts even though the original complaint
was of untidy bedrooms! Freedoms and personal and
family integrity is apparently given away rather freely.
Let us not allow that sort of thing here, please.
By the way, do be aware that the ERO, when they enter
your home for a review, are also on “fishing
expeditions”, looking, listening, smelling for anything
that might cause them to have “reasonable grounds for
believing” that a child “is suffering or is likely to suffer
ill treatment” or other such undefined “abuse”. They
are probably not going to be as aggressive about it as a
CYFs social worker, but ERO staff in head office have
told me that they would be obliged to pass on to the
appropriate state agent any concerns they may have as
a result of encountering something in your home.
That’s just the way state agents, state bureaucrats are.
They are getting worse because of the breakdown of
our society; that is, they suspect more people more
often because of the escalating violence of our
dysfunctional society. But since we almost assuredly
represent the least dysfunctional segment of society,
since our entire families are generally so eagerly
focussed on this big family enterprise of home
education, we have less reason to give way to their
invasive requests, exposing our homes and lifestyles to
their ideological judgementalism and exposing our
families to possible further interventions by other
agencies and exposing our children to the possible
trauma of inspections and interviews by aggressive,
unfriendly strangers hoping to find something wrong.
Sadly these are the times in which we live.

Social Worker ‘Fishing Expedition’

Case Dismissed

The Warner* family was faithfully homeschooling
their eight children in Lenawee County, Michigan.
Little did they know the trouble that was around the
corner—false allegations, threats, an attempted fishing
expedition, an improper court order—and a happy
ending with the case dismissed!
It all started when an anonymous tipster contacted
social services to report the Warners for allegedly
having housing that was inadequate, particularly the
family’s sleeping quarters. The social worker visited
the home unannounced, but the father wisely refused
entry and set a time the next day for her to come back.
The father then voluntarily let the social worker into
their home—but had the rest of the family gone. The
social worker found the family’s home to be very
clean, neat and adequate, especially the sleeping
quarters. The social worker also mentioned that she
was looking for neglect and abuse, but she did not find
anything that evidenced that. However, the social
worker was not satisfied because she had not
completed her protocol in interviewing the children
separately and alone. The Warners, shocked that the
investigation did not close immediately because it was
obviously false, contacted Home School Legal Defense
HSLDA’s Senior Counsel Chris Klicka immediately
drafted a letter on the family’s behalf, stating he
believed the anonymous tipster to be malicious, since
the allegation was so absurd. Klicka also instructed
the Warners to give a number of character reference
letters from people in the community who could vouch
for them being good parents. In addition, he instructed
the parents to take their children to their pediatrician to
prove that all eight of their children were in perfect
Klicka’s letter explained to the social worker that an
interview was not necessary since the social worker
would receive doctor’s reports, as well as letters from
the community vouching for the family’s innocence.
He also indicated that since the social worker had
already determined the allegation to be false, he was
advising the family that they were under no legal
obligation to have their children interviewed. The
social worker has a track record of getting her way, but
the family remained steadfast, refusing an interview in
order to protect their children from a fishing
Finally, a month later, the social worker contacted
them again, insisting on an interview or else. But the
family held firm, refusing this unnecessary trauma to
their children.
Then surprise! On the evening of November 6, the
Warners were served with a court order. Apparently
the social worker had a hearing with the prosecutor and
the court referee and asked for a court order—without
the other side being present.
The court order stated, “it appears to the court upon the
filing of a petition, together with further proofs as
required by the court, that there are reasonable grounds
for removal of the children… Because conditions or
surroundings of the children are such as to endanger
the health, safety or welfare of the children, and it is
contrary to the welfare of the children to remain in the
home because the Department of Human Services is
asking to talk to the Warner children per Department
policy. Parents have refused to let the Department talk
with the children… it is ordered the Department of
Human Services may talk to the children… without the
parents being present within 72 hours of service.”
However, the court order had no petition attached,
which is required by law. The social worker by petition
has to present actual evidence of wrongdoing—not just
verbal complaints about the family not cooperating
with the social worker’s unconstitutional demands.
Parents have the right in Michigan to refuse an
interview if there is no evidence of a crime or neglect.
Also, the court order did not have a case number as
required by law. Upon being secured to represent the
Warners, Michigan attorney Dave Kallman immediately
called the court referee to ask for a hearing to cancel
the court order. But he first inquired why the order did
not have petition or case number.
The court referee said, “that is just the way we do it
here.” But as Kallman pushed the impropriety of the
court order further, the court referee began to falter.
Then he finally said he would check on it and talk with
the judge.
The next day, Kallman checked with him and he said
the court order was withdrawn. Praise God! The
Warner family was elated.
*Not their real name.
Used with permission

From Keystone Magazine

January 2007, Vol.XIII No.1

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