A bill in a Senate committee currently seeks to require all adults in every state to be made “mandatory reporters” for “suspected” child abuse or neglect cases. The Home School Legal Defense Association alerted its readers yesterday, requesting immediate action. The committee hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:15am EST on Tuesday.
While protecting against child abuse and neglect sounds good in general, this particular bill creates a high level of social danger. Making every adult a “mandatory reporter” means that the government can hold people criminally negligent for failure to report cases. While previously reserved to people who have intimate and extensive contact with children—doctors, teachers, etc.—this bill extends the government’s reach in this respect to every adult.
The practical consequence of this will certainly be a massive increase in reports, even if only “suspected” cases, because all adults will naturally fear consequences should they fail to report even the slightest thing they suspect. It will lead to many innocent families’ lives being invaded needlessly due to strangers’ reports made out of fear of repercussions from the state. Thus, HSLDA suggests the following message to relevant Senators:
“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.”
At this point, the bill is in committee, which means it is only necessary to contact those Senators in the relevant hearing. These and their phone numbers are:
Barbara Mikulski (MD) 202-224-4654
Patty Murray (WA) 202-224-2621
Bernard Sanders (VT) 202-224-5141
Robert Casey (PA) 202-224-6324
Kay Hagan (NC) 202-224-6342
Jeff Merkley (OR) 202-224-3753
Al Franken (MN) 202-224-5641
Michael Bennet (CO) 202-224-5852
Richard Blumenthal (CT) 202-224-2823
Tom Harkin (IA) 202-224-3254
Richard Burr (NC) 202-224-3154
Lamar Alexander (TN) 202-224-4944
Johnny Isakson (GA) 202-224-3643
Rand Paul (KY) 202-224-4343
John McCain (AZ) 202-224-2235
Pat Roberts (KS) 202-224-4774
Mark Kirk (IL) 202-224-2854
Michael Enzi (WY) 202-224-3424
But it will also be good to write, fax, or email all other Senators as well.