Two cases involving the agency called Child Protective Services are now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The High Court has agreed to take a case involving the interrogation of a 9-year-old child at school by an agency caseworker and a deputy sheriff about possible sexual abuse at home. They interviewed her for two hours at school without a warrant, court order, parental consent, or exigent circumstances. This case could have a significant impact nationwide.
The other case now before the Supreme Court involves the constitutionality of the child abuse index, or list, maintained by Child Protective Services in California. More than 800,000 people are now listed on California's child abuse index. These listings are very hurtful to individuals since employers consult the list before hiring employees to work with children. People are put on this list from agency reports that are based on anonymous tips and suspicion, not proof. It's mighty easy for a malicious wife or ex-wife to allege child abuse as part of her game plan to get child custody or increased child support.
The issue in this case is the fact that there are no procedures, no standards, and no criteria for a wrongly accused man to get his name off the child abusers index. The Ninth Circuit ruled that a man named Craig Humphries (whom a court pronounced innocent of all charges) had a "nightmarish encounter" with the California system, and "There is no effective procedure for Humphries to challenge this listing."
In 2006, Congress considered a plan to create a national child abuse registry. The plan was abandoned because of the unreliability of state lists and lack of due process. Mr. Humphries has been trying to clear his name for nine years. Congress should defund these abusive registries and we hope the Supreme Court declares them unconstitutional.
Listen to the radio commentary here: