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 Legislators may finally be beginning to understand that the powers that be in family court, child protective services and other related activities of government have gotten WAY out of hand and overzealous. The system has been set up with all kids of conflicts of interest, unqualified people, unbridled power and other flaws that not only allows but encourages abuse of power. It is time for the states to back off, respect the U.S. Constitution and get out of our homes. Te only reason to interfere is to protect the physical safety of children. Divorce, discipline within reason that does not show real harm to a child and other activites do NOT provide a state interest and therefore the state can not interfere.

U.S. Citizens are taking back their rights to no be interfered with in their own homes and families. Join the cause!!

Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 23:38:45 -0800 (PST)
From: sue harbor <flyingnun2nun@yahoo.com>
Subject: Utah HB 202 - may take effect on January 1, 2006

According to The Salt Lake Tribune on Wednesday, February 23, 2005, article title, "House bill redefines child abuse" (front page and on "C4"):

New grounds for removing a child from home
House bill 202 redefines abuse criteria the state uses as grounds to remove a child
Under the bill,
* Threats of Physical harm no longer merit state intervention.
* Mental harm must rate as mental cruelty.
* Neglect must be chronic.
HB 202 also safeguards the right to seek medical opinions from nontraditional health care providers.

By Kirsten Stewart

House passes the bill, but Senate may be a tougher sell

A child welfare overhaul that redefines abuse passed the full house on Tuesday, despite criticism from House members who say it goes too far, and those who say it doesn't go far enough to protect falsely accused parents.

After an hour of debate that one lawmaker remarked was "more confusing than enlightening", House Bill 202 was approved by a solid 18-vote margin. An attempt to strike the enacting clause failed, but the bill was amended so it would not take effect until January 1, 2006.

Democrats and some moderate Republicans opposed to the 100-plus-page measure -- twice substituted and amended half-a-dozen times -- say it's confusing and could put children at risk. Under the bill, threatened physical harm no longer merits state intervention, mental harm must rate as mental cruelty, and neglect must be chronic.

"We don't see the faces of those children who are abused or who might be abused if this bill passes," said Rep. Patricia Jones, D-Holladay.

Rep. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, criticized the "whittled, revised and reworked" bill as too soft on preserving parents' rights to rear their children they see fit. The bill no longer requires higher standards of evidence before a court can remove children from the home or terminate a parent's rights.

But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Wayne Harper, said that after hours of peace talks with child welfare officials and parental rights advocates, he struck "a careful balance."

"Child abuse is wrong. Children need to be protected. But families also have rights," said the West Jordan Republican, who has been a foster parent and adopted a child out of foster care.

"This bill will lessen the unnecessary caseloads so caseworkers can focus on the truly needy and abused," he said.

HB 202 safeguards the right to seek medical opinions from non-traditional health care providers. It establishes that disciplining a child, including "withholding privileges" and "reasonable physical restraint," does not necessarily constitute abuse. And under the bill, a "dirty or unkempt" home does not qualify as grounds for removal of a child.

Rep. Lorie Fowlke, R-Orem, an attorney who as represented abused children, supports the measure because it standardizes training for Utah's Division of Child and Family Services [DCFS] caseworkers and allows parents to participate in the drafting of court-ordered steps to regain custody of their children.

"A problem with juvenile court is that many parents who come in don't know what rights they have or how to exercise them," Fowlke said.

Officials with DCFS say the measure no longer risks violating the David C. v. Leavitt lawsuit that has driven welfare reform in Utah since 1994, when the foster care system was deemed unconstitutionally neglectful.

But they say it tackles too much and competes with other pending legislation that proposes smaller changes.

"We are continually improving the system. This is not the time to be looking at major over-hauls," said DCFS Direct Richard Anderson.

Rep. Karen Lawrence fears the bill is a "knee-jerk" reaction to isolated complaints. For two years, the East Millcreek Republican has surveyed her constituents, who say, "2 to 1, we have a balanced system."

But Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, calls it a "long over-due" look at righting "violently" unbalanced child welfare system, that in the wake of the David D. lawsuit, has piled unfair restrictions upon parents.

The bill now heads to a Senate committee, where it is expected to run into opposition.

Kirsten Stewart, The Salt Lake Tribune

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