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Homeschooling: All Things

California Homeschoolers

I am not sure if all of you have seen this from HSLDA or not, so I thought I would re-post it here. This is from the President HSLDA, Michael Smith.

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Great News In California!

AB 717 is a huge step toward restoring constitutional principles.

From: Family Protection Ministries and HSLDA

Bill AB 717: Child Abuse Central Index

Author: Assembly Member Ammiano

Status: Signed by the governor—a monumental victory!

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends: AB 717 is a great victory for parents and a huge step in correcting a long-standing law that has ignored the constitutional principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” This unprincipled law in the California Penal Code has ruined the lives of many good, innocent parents for many years. Innocent parents who have been wrongly accused of abusing or neglecting their children have had their lives effectively placed on hold, and in some cases, destroyed. No parent is immune from being falsely accused of child abuse and facing an invasive, frightening, costly, and drawn-out legal investigation.

The penal code requires the Department of Justice to maintain the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI). The CACI maintains a list of not only “substantiated” child abusers, but also of innocent parents and other individuals who have been accused of child abuse and whose allegation of abuse has not been determined to be “unfounded” by the caseworker. No due-process hearing was provided to give parents an opportunity to prove their innocence before being placed on the child abuse registry (CACI).

AB 717 has corrected this practice by specifying that only “substantiated” reports of child abuse or neglect shall be maintained in the Child Abuse Central Index.

FPM and HSLDA have worked in partnership to achieve this very significant change in the law. This victory is the result of long hours spent behind the scenes over the last 10 years to regain lost freedom. We praise God for this amazing and critically important victory!

Background Summary:

Five major positive technical changes to the law from AB 717:

(1) Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, only those reports of suspected child abuse or neglect that are “substantiated” will be forwarded to the California Dept. of Justice for retention in the Child Abuse Central Index (CACI).

(2) All reports now in the CACI, other than “substantiated,” are required to be removed as of Jan. 1, 2012.

(3) Anyone whose name remains in the CACI, after Jan. 1, 2012, may challenge the finding with the county social services agency that forwarded the report. This is required to be done in a due process hearing consistent with current guidelines for such hearings on other matters in California. If they win the challenge, the report will be removed from the CACI.

(4) Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, those individuals whose cases are determined to be “substantiated” and whose case report is forwarded to Dept. of Justice for retention in the CACI will also have a right to a due process hearing.

(5) The definition of “substantiated” is clearer and is more protective for those accused of committing child abuse or neglect.

Parents can now assert constitutional protections offered by the Fourth Amendment without the fear of being reported to the CACI, and even if reported, will have the right to a due process hearing to challenge the report. No action is required on AB 717.

Very truly yours,

Michael Smith, President HSLDA

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