Monday, July 11, 2016

Filing a Complaint Against a Social Worker

Social worker review complaint link / HHS civil rights complaint form / social worker/agency

Report to the State Board
  • Review the current code of ethics for social workers to ensure that the social worker is in violation. Find a copy on the National Association of Social Workers website.
  • Contact the social work board that has jurisdiction where the alleged unethical social worker works and request a complaint form or locate a state-specific form online. You can find a list of state boards and their contact information on the National Association of Social Workers website.
  • Complete the form and submit it to the appropriate social work board along with any supporting documentation.
  • Wait for a response and be available to answer follow-up questions. The social work board will respond by letter to inform you if an investigation is not necessary. If an investigation is necessary, the social work board may or may not inform you, depending on state policy. Some social work boards post the violation on their websites.

Report to NASW

  • Contact the appropriate chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (typically the one in the area where the social worker works) or the NASW Office of Ethics and Professional Review for assistance. Contact information is listed on the website.
  • Request a professional review.
  • Complete all the forms the NASW gives you, sign the "Confidentiality Pledge/Statement of Understanding" and attach any supporting documents before returning the forms. Include information regarding exactly how the social worker violated the NASW Code of Ethics and cite the violated standard. (The standards are on the NASW website.)
  • Work with the NASW consultant assigned to your case. Follow any additional instructions from the consultant

How to File a Civil Rights Complaint

Complaint Requirements

Your complaint must:
  • Be filed in writing by mail, fax, e-mail, or via the OCR Complaint Portal
  • Name the health care or social service provider involved, and describe the acts or omissions, you believe violated civil rights laws or regulations
  • Be filed within 180 days of when you knew that the act or omission complained of occurred. OCR may extend the 180-day period if you can show "good cause"

File a Civil Rights Complaint Online

Open the OCR Complaint Portal and select the type of complaint you would like to file. Complete as much information as possible, including:
  • Information about you, the complainant
  • Details of the complaint
  • Any additional information that might help OCR when reviewing your complaint
You will then need to electronically sign the complaint and complete the consent form. After completing the consent form you will be able to print out a copy of your complaint to keep for your records

File a Civil Rights Complaint in Writing

File a Complaint Using the Civil Rights Discrimination Complaint Form PackageOpen and fill out the Civil Rights Discrimination Complaint Form Package in PDF format. You will need Adobe Reader software to fill out the complaint and consent forms. You may either:
  • Print and mail the completed complaint and consent forms to: Centralized Case Management Operations U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Room 509F HHH Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20201
  • Email the completed complaint and consent forms to (Please note that communication by unencrypted email presents a risk that personally identifiable information contained in such an email, may be intercepted by unauthorized third parties)
File a Complaint without the Civil Rights Discrimination Complaint Form PackageIf you prefer, you may submit a written complaint in your own format by either:
  • Mail to Centralized Case Management Operations U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Room 509F HHH Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20201
  • Email to
Be sure to include:
  • Your name
  • Full address
  • Telephone numbers (include area code)
  • E-mail address (if available)
  • Name, full address and telephone number of the person, agency or organization you believe discriminated against you
  • A brief description of what happened, including how, why, and when you believe your (or someone else's) civil rights were violated
  • Any other relevant information
  • Your signature and date of complaint
  • The name of the person on whose behalf you are filing if you are filing a complaint for someone else
You may also include:
  • Any special accommodations for us to communicate with you about this complaint
  • Contact information for someone who can help us reach you if we cannot reach you directly
  • If you have filed your complaint somewhere else and where you’ve filed
If you mail a complaint, be sure to send it to:Centralized Case Management Operations U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. Room 509F HHH Bldg. Washington, D.C. 20201


42 U.S. Code § 13001

The Congress finds that—(1)over 2,000,000 reports of suspected child abuse and neglect are made each year, and drug abuse is associated with a significant portion of these; (4)in such cases, too often the system does not pay sufficient attention to the needs and welfare of the child victim, aggravating the trauma that the child victim has already experienced;
  1. U.S. CodeTitle 42Chapter 132Subchapter I › § 13005

42 U.S. Code § 13005 - Accountability

(B)AuditThe Inspector General of the Department of Justice shall conduct audits of recipients of grants under this subchapter to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of funds by grantees. The Inspector General shall determine the appropriate number of grantees to be audited each year. Department of Health and Human ServicesThe Honorable Daniel Levinson, Inspector GeneralMain Phone Number: (202) 619-3148Mailing Address: 330 Independence Avenue, S.W.; Washington, D.C. 20201Hotline Number: (800) 447-8477; HOTLINE: Email: hhstips@oig.hhs.gov 42 U.S.C. § 1983 IMMUNITY Besides authorizing official capacity suits against state and local officials for structural injunctive relief, 42 U.S.C. § 1983authorizes claims against those officials in their individual capacity for compensatory and punitive damages. Although, as discussed above, the Eleventh Amendment limits official capacity claims against state officials to prospective injunctive relief, it does not affect damage claims against those officials in their individual capacity.1 In this section, we discuss when absolute and qualified immunity limits individual capacity suits against public officials.

8.2.B. Qualified Immunity: Executive Officials

Qualified immunity is an affirmative defense. Early cases required a public employee to establish both that he did not violate clearly established law and that he acted without malicious intent.83 Because proof of subjective good faith was incompatible with summary judgment, the Supreme Court modified the defense to shield public employees performing discretionary government functions “insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”84 Apart from special needs and administrative search cases, the Court has cautioned against examination of subjective intent.85 Because public employees86 almost always perform discretionary functions,87qualified immunity really turns on two issues: (1) whether the action in question violated a constitutional right and (2) whether that action violated clearly established law.88 Although the former question may involve disputed facts, the latter is a question of law subject to early resolution. This involves a historical inquiry into whether the law was clearly established when the defendant acted. Reasoning similarly, the Court subsequently held in Groh v. Ramirez that a search warrant that failed to describe either the person or things to be seized was facially invalid under the Fourth Amendment Clarity is shown when "existing precedent must have placed the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate."109 8.2.B.2. The Reasonable Official and Scope of DiscretionThe question of whether a reasonable official should have believed that the conduct in question violated clearly established law is largely a function of whether the law in question was clearly established. In that sense, the determination of whether the official’s belief that his conduct was reasonable is redundant; it is reasonable whenever the law is not clearly established.110 The existence of reasonable grounds for the belief formed at the time of the action and in light of all the circumstances then present is what affords a basis for qualified immunity. an official who acts outside the scope of his discretionary authority and who violates the Constitution cannot assert qualified immunity even if his conduct did not violate then clearly established law.112 Given the Court’s expansive interpretation of qualified immunity, you should allege the facts that defeat qualified immunity in detail when suing a public official for damages. Advocates should refrain from suing officials for damages in the absence of evidentiary support that will allow a claim to overcome qualified immunity.

8.2.B.3. Qualified Immunity, Intentional Discrimination, and Retaliation

To avoid summary judgment on the merits of the underlying constitutional claim, the plaintiff must produce sufficient evidence, usually circumstantial, from which a reasonable jury can infer that the defendant intentionally discriminated or retaliated; without that evidence, the plaintiff cannot establish unconstitutional conduct.113 With no evidence of unconstitutional conduct, the defendant will prevail without reaching the question of qualified immunity. But if the plaintiff has sufficient evidence of unconstitutional motive to avoid summary judgment, qualified immunity generally will not benefit a defendant because the constitutional prohibition against intentional discrimination or retaliation has long been clearly established law.114 WORKER IMMUNITY/ NOT ENTITLED TO IMMUNITY42 U.S.C. sections 1983, 1985, 1986
  1. In these federal circuits, social workers are absolutely immune from suit under federal law for actions in preparing for, initiating, and prosecuting dependency proceedings. See Beltran v. Santa Clara Cnty., 514 F.3d 906, 908–09 (9th Cir. 2008) (en banc) (discussing the absolute immunity of social workers when making make discretionary, quasi-prosecutorial decisions, but holding that social workers are not entitled to absolute immunity from claims that they fabricated evidence during an investigation or made false statements in a petition affidavit signed under penalty of perjury); Abdouch v. Burger, 426 F.3d 982, 989 (8th Cir. 2005); Rippy ex rel. Rippy v. Hattaway, 270 F.3d 416, 422–23 (6th Cir. 2001); Ernst v. Child & Youth Servs., 108 F.3d 486, 495 (3d Cir. 1997), cert. denied. 522 U.S. 850 (1997); Millspaugh v. Cnty. Dep’t of Pub. Welfare, 937 F.2d 1172, 1176 (7th Cir. 1991); Vosburg v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 884 F.2d 133, 135 (4th Cir. 1989). See also Spielman v. Hildebrand, 873 F.2d 1377, 1382–1383 (10th Cir. 1989) (10th Circuit positively discussing, without deciding, absolute immunity for social workers in the judicial context). See also Baca v. City of New York, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11810, (S.D.N.Y. June 30, 2003) (2nd Circuit district court positively discussing, without deciding, absolute immunity for social workers in the judicial context). But see V.S. v. Muhammad, 581 F. Supp. 2d 365, 401 (E.D.N.Y. 2008) reversed on other grounds, V.S. v. Muhammad, 595 F.3d 426, 431, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 3017, 10–11 (2d Cir. 2010) (2nd Circuit district court refusing to extend absolute immunity to social workers in the judicial context). The U.S. Supreme Court has not directly decided whether social workers have absolute immunity in any context, but Justice Thomas has expressed skepticism regarding it. See Hoffman v. Harris, 511 U.S. 1060, 1062–63 (1994) (Thomas, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari). Social workers have qualified immunity in all other contexts.
False reporting is usually classified as a low level misdemeanor, which is a crime. In some states, filing a false child abuse report is a higher-level crime—a felony. People who make false reports can be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $5,000 or sentences from 90 days to five years in jail or prison. Reporters who are found to have filed multiple false reports may be subject to even harsher penalties (See Child Welfare Information Gateway for information on your particular state). Besides criminal penalties for making a false report, reporters can also be subject to civil liability in the form of compensatory and/or punitive damages. Compensatory damages are meant to pay for any actual losses the family incurs as a result of the false report. Losses are not limited to the financial kind, but the damage award will generally be in the form of money. Compensatory damages can include damage to reputation, disruption caused by the investigative process, and even assault and battery for unwarranted physical examinations of children in response to a false report (Lau, Krase, & Morse, 2009). In addition to compensatory damages, punitive damages may be awarded for a false report. Punitive damages “punish” bad behavior, and usually involve a large monetary award, above and beyond the actual damages caused by the report.

42 U.S. Code § 13001a

(5)the term “child abuse” means physical or sexual abuse or neglect of a child, including human trafficking and the production of child pornography; (7)the term “multidisciplinary response to child abuse” means a response to child abuse that is based on mutually agreed upon procedures among the community agencies and professionals involved in the intervention, prevention, prosecution, and investigation systems that best meets the needs of child victims and their nonoffending family members;(8)the term “nonoffending family member” means a member of the family of a victim of child abuse other than a member who has been convicted or accused of committing an act of child abuse; and (Pub. L. 101–647, title II, § 212, as added Pub. L. 102–586, § 6(b)(2), Nov. 4, 1992, 106 Stat. 5029; amendedPub. L. 114–22, title I, § 104(1), May 29, 2015, 129 Stat. 236.)

42 U.S. Code § 13001b

(a)Establishment of regional children’s advocacy programThe Administrator, in coordination with the Director and with the Director of the Office of Victims of Crime, shall establish a children’s advocacy program to—(1)focus attention on child victims by assisting communities in developing child-focused, community-oriented, facility-based programs designed to improve the resources available to children and families;(2)provide support for nonoffending family members; (2)Grant recipientsA grant recipient under this section shall—(A)assist communities—(i)in developing a comprehensive, multidisciplinary response to child abuse that is designed to meet the needs of child victims and their families;(iii)in preventing or reducing trauma to children caused by multiple contacts with community professionals;(iv)in providing families with needed services and assisting them in regaining maximum functioning;

42 U.S. Code § 13031

(a)In generalA person who, while engaged in a professional capacity or activity described in subsection (b) of this section on Federal land or in a federally operated (or contracted) facility, learns of facts that give reason to suspect that a child has suffered an incident of child abuse, shall as soon as possible make a report of the suspected abuse to the agency designated under subsection (d) of this section (c)DefinitionsFor the purposes of this section—(1)the term “child abuse” means the physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or negligent treatment of a child;(2)the term “physical injury” includes but is not limited to lacerations, fractured bones, burns, internal injuries, severe bruising or serious bodily harm;(3)the term “mental injury” means harm to a child’s psychological or intellectual functioning which may be exhibited by severe anxiety, depression, withdrawal or outward aggressive behavior, or a combination of those behaviors, which may be demonstrated by a change in behavior, emotional response or cognition;(4)the term “sexual abuse” includes the employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a child to engage in, or assist another person to engage in, sexually explicit conduct or the rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children;(5)the term “sexually explicit conduct” means actual or simulated—(A)sexual intercourse, including sexual contact in the manner of genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or of opposite sex; sexual contact means the intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify sexual desire of any person; (B)bestiality; (C)masturbation; (D)lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a person or animal; or (E)sadistic or masochistic abuse;(6)the term “exploitation” means child pornography or child prostitution;(7)the term “negligent treatment” means the failure to provide, for reasons other than poverty, adequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care so as to seriously endanger the physical health of the child; and(8)the term “child abuse” shall not include discipline administered by a parent or legal guardian to his or her child provided it is reasonable in manner and moderate in degree and otherwise does not constitute cruelty. (Pub. L. 101–647, title II, § 226, Nov. 29, 1990, 104 Stat. 4806.)

42 U.S. Code § 12371

  1. U.S. CodeTitle 42Chapter 127Subchapter II › § 12371
(a)FindingsThe Congress finds that—(1)children and youth are inherently our most valuable resource and their welfare, protection, healthy development, and positive role in society are essential to the Nation;(2)children and youth deserve love, respect, and guidance, as well as good health, shelter, food, education, productive work, and preparation for responsible participation in community life;(3)an increasing opportunity for children and youth to participate in the decisions that affect their lives is essential;(4)the family is the primary caregiver and the source of social learning which must be supported and strengthened, but when families are unable to ensure the satisfaction of the needs of children and youth, it is society’s responsibility to assist them; (Pub. L. 101–501, title IX, § 982, Nov. 3, 1990, 104 Stat. 1280.)
  1. U.S. CodeTitle 42Chapter 6 › § 192

42 U.S. Code § 192The Children’s Bureau shall be under the direction of a chief, to be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The said bureau shall investigate and report to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, upon all matters pertaining to the welfare of children and child life among all classes of our people, and shall especially investigate the questions of infant mortality, the birth rate, orphanage, juvenile courts, desertion, dangerous occupations, accidents and diseases of children, employment, legislation affecting children in the several States and Territories. But no official, or agent, or representative of said bureau shall, over the objection of the head of the family, enter any house used exclusively as a family residence. The chief of said bureau may from time to time publish the results of these investigations in such manner and to such extent as may be prescribed by the Secretary. (Apr. 9, 1912, ch. 73, § 2, 37 Stat. 79; Mar. 4, 1913, ch. 141, §§ 3, 6, 37 Stat. 737, 738; 1946 Reorg. Plan No. 2, § 1, eff. July 16, 1946, 11 F.R. 7873,60 Stat. 1095; 1953 Reorg. Plan No. 1, §§ 5, 8, eff. Apr. 11, 1953, 18 F.R. 2053,67 Stat. 631; Pub. L. 96–88, title V, § 509(b), Oct. 17, 1979, 93 Stat. 695.)

  1. U.S. CodeTitle 42Chapter 7Subchapter IVPart E › § 671

42 U.S. Code § 671

(15)provides that—(A)in determining reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child, as described in this paragraph, and in making such reasonable efforts, the child’s health and safety shall be the paramount concern;(B)except as provided in subparagraph (D), reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve and reunify families—(i)prior to the placement of a child in foster care, to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from the child’s home; and (ii)to make it possible for a child to safely return to the child’s home; (15) (D)reasonable efforts of the type described in subparagraph (B) shall not be required to be made with respect to a parent of a child if a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that—(i)the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances (as defined in State law, which definition may include but need not be limited to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse);(ii)the parent has—(I)committed murder (which would have been an offense under section 1111(a) of title 18, if the offense had occurred in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States) of another child of the parent; (II)committed voluntary manslaughter (which would have been an offense under section 1112(a) of title 18, if the offense had occurred in the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States) of another child of the parent; (III)aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or such a voluntary manslaughter; or (IV)committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent; or(iii)the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily; (19)provides that the State shall consider giving preference to an adult relative over a non-related caregiver when determining a placement for a child, provided that the relative caregiver meets all relevant State child protection standards (20)(A)provides procedures for criminal records checks, including fingerprint-based checks of national crime information databases (as defined in section 534(e)(3)(A) 1 of title 28), for any prospective foster or adoptive parent before the foster or adoptive parent may be finally approved for placement of a child regardless of whether foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments are to be made on behalf of the child under the State plan under this part, including procedures requiring that—(i)in any case involving a child on whose behalf such payments are to be so made in which a record check reveals a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, for spousal abuse, for a crime against children (including child pornography), or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault, or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery, if a State finds that a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the felony was committed at any time, such final approval shall not be granted; and (ii)in any case involving a child on whose behalf such payments are to be so made in which a record check reveals a felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense, if a State finds that a court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the felony was committed within the past 5 years, such final approval shall not be granted; and (28)at the option of the State, provides for the State to enter into kinship guardianship assistance agreements to provide kinship guardianship assistance payments on behalf of children to grandparents and other relatives who have assumed legal guardianship of the children for whom they have cared as foster parents and for whom they have committed to care on a permanent basis, as provided in section 673(d) of this title;(29)provides that, within 30 days after the removal of a child from the custody of the parent or parents of the child, the State shall exercise due diligence to identify and provide notice to the following relatives: all adult grandparents, all parents of a sibling of the child, where such parent has legal custody of such sibling, and other adult relatives of the child (including any other adult relatives suggested by the parents), subject to exceptions due to family or domestic violence, that—(A)specifies that the child has been or is being removed from the custody of the parent or parents of the child; (B)explains the options the relative has under Federal, State, and local law to participate in the care and placement of the child, including any options that may be lost by failing to respond to the notice; (C)describes the requirements under paragraph (10) of this subsection to become a foster family home and the additional services and supports that are available for children placed in such a home; and (D)if the State has elected the option to make under paragraph (30)provides assurances that each child who has attained the minimum age for compulsory school attendance under State law and with respect to whom there is eligibility for a payment under the State plan is a full-time elementary or secondary school student or has completed secondary school, and for purposes of this paragraph, the term “elementary or secondary school student” means, with respect to a child, that the child is(A)enrolled (or in the process of enrolling) in an institution which provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the institution is located; (B)instructed in elementary or secondary education at home in accordance with a home school law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the home is located; (C)in an independent study elementary or secondary education program in accordance with the law of the State or other jurisdiction in which the program is located, which is administered by the local school or school district; or (D)incapable of attending school on a full-time basis due to the medical condition of the child, which incapability is supported by regularly updated information in the case plan of the child;(31)provides that reasonable efforts shall be made—(A)to place siblings removed from their home in the same foster care, kinship guardianship, or adoptive placement, unless the State documents that such a joint placement would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings; and (Aug. 14, 1935, ch. 531, title IV, § 471, as added Pub. L. 96–272, title I, § 101(a)(1), June 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 501; amended Pub. L. 97–35, title XXIII, § 2353(r), Aug. 13, 1981, 95 Stat. 874; Pub. L. 97–248, title I, § 160(d), Sept. 3, 1982, 96 Stat. 400; Pub. L. 98–378, § 11(c), Aug. 16, 1984, 98 Stat. 1318; Pub. L. 99–514, title XVII, § 1711(c)(2), Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2784; Pub. L. 100–485, title II, § 202(c)(1), Oct. 13, 1988,102 Stat. 2378; Pub. L. 101–508, title V, § 5054(b), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1388–229; Pub. L. 103–66, title XIII, § 13711(b)(4), Aug. 10, 1993, 107 Stat. 655; Pub. L. 103–432, title II, § 203(b), Oct. 31, 1994, 108 Stat. 4456; Pub. L. 104–188, title I, § 1808(a), Aug. 20, 1996, 110 Stat. 1903; Pub. L. 104–193, title I, § 108(d)(2), title V, § 505, Aug. 22, 1996, 110 Stat. 2166, 2278; Pub. L. 105–33, title V, § 5591(b), Aug. 5, 1997, 111 Stat. 643; Pub. L. 105–89, title I, §§ 101(a), 106, title III, §§ 306, 308, Nov. 19, 1997, 111 Stat. 2116, 2120, 2132, 2133; Pub. L. 105–200, title III, § 301(a), July 16, 1998, 112 Stat. 658; Pub. L. 106–169, title I, § 112(a), title IV, § 401(o), Dec. 14, 1999, 113 Stat. 1829, 1859; Pub. L. 109–171, title VII, § 7401(c), Feb. 8, 2006, 120 Stat. 150; Pub. L. 109–239, §§ 3, 4(a)(1), 10, July 3, 2006, 120 Stat. 508, 513; Pub. L. 109–248, title I, § 152(a), (b),July 27, 2006, 120 Stat. 608, 609; Pub. L. 109–432, div. B, title IV, § 405(c)(1)(B)(i), Dec. 20, 2006, 120 Stat. 2999; Pub. L. 110–351, title I, §§ 101(a), (c)(2)(A), (B)(i), 103, 104(a), title II, §§ 204(b), 206, title III, § 301(c)(1)(A), title IV, § 403, Oct. 7, 2008, 122 Stat. 3950–3952, 3956, 3957, 3960, 3962, 3969, 3979; Pub. L. 111–148, title VI, § 6703(d)(2)(B), Mar. 23, 2010, 124 Stat. 803; Pub. L. 113–183, title I, §§ 101(a), 102, 104, 111(a)(2), (b), 112(b)(2)(A)(ii), title II, § 209(a)(1), Sept. 29, 2014, 128 Stat. 1920–1922, 1924, 1927, 1941.)
  1. U.S. CodeTitle 42Chapter 21Subchapter I › § 1983

42 U.S. Code § 1983 - Civil action for deprivation of rights

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.(R.S. § 1979; Pub. L. 96–170, § 1, Dec. 29, 1979, 93 Stat. 1284; Pub. L. 104–317, title III, § 309(c), Oct. 19, 1996, 110 Stat. 3853.)___________________________________________________________ U.S. Attorneys' Manual » Title 8: Civil Rights www.justice.gov8-2.000 - Enforcement Of Civil Rights Civil Statutes

8-2.261 - Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons

The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997, et seq., authorizes the Attorney General to enforce the constitutional and federal statutory rights of persons confined to state and local institutions. These include facilities for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, nursing homes, prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. The investigations and litigation focus on a broad range of issues depending on the type of institution and the nature of alleged unconstitutional conditions. Issues include, for example, abuse, crowding, medical and mental health care, fire safety, sanitation, security, adequacy of treatment and training, and education.To initiate suit under the Act, the Attorney General must have reasonable cause to believe that the deprivation of rights is part of a pattern or practice of denial rather than an isolated or accidental incident. At the time of commencing the civil action, the Attorney General must personally certify to the court (1) that he/she has previously notified, in writing, the appropriate state officials of the alleged deprivation, supporting facts, and possible remedy; (2) that he/she has notified, in writing, the appropriate state official of his/her intent to conduct an investigation of the state institution and that the Attorney General has made a good faith effort to consult with the appropriate state officials to advise them of federal assistance that may be available, encouraged the appropriate state official to correct the alleged conditions and pattern or practice, and that the appropriate officials have had reasonable time to take appropriate corrective actions; and (3) that this action is of general public importance.CRIPA also authorizes the Attorney General to intervene in any action commenced in any court of the United States when the Attorney General has reason to believe that such deprivation is pursuant to a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of such rights, privileges, or immunities. A motion to intervene may not be filed until 90 days after the commencement of the action. In the motion to intervene the Attorney General must certify to the court that the appropriate state officials have been notified of (a) the alleged conditions and pattern or practice; (b) the supporting facts giving rise to the alleged conditions; and (c) the minimum measures that may remedy the alleged conditions and pattern or practice. Motions to intervene and certifications must be signed by the Attorney General personally.When complaints of widespread deprivation in conditions of confinement are received by a United States Attorney, they should be forwarded to the Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, for evaluation and review prior to any request for investigation.[cited in USAM 8-2.140]_____________________________________________________________ Reunification; www.childwelfare.gov42 U.S. Code § 671 Federal law has long required State agencies to demonstrate that reasonable efforts have been made to provide assistance and services to prevent the removal of a child from his or her home and to make it possible for a child who has been placed in out-of-home care to be reunited with his or her family Under the provisions of ASFA, reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify the family are not required when the court has determined any of the following: • The parent subjected the child to aggravated circumstances as defined by State law. The definition of aggravated circumstances may include, but is not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse. • The parent committed murder of another child of the parent. • The parent committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent. • The parent aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter. • The parent committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent. • The parental rights of the parent to a sibling of the child were terminated involuntarily. In all States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, reasonable efforts are not required under these circumstances. In addition, several States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands provide one or more additional grounds for not making reasonable efforts. The following are examples of these additional grounds: • The parent abandoned the child (33 States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).4 Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming • The parent abandoned an infant (10 States).5 Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming • The parent was convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child’s other parent (12 States and the Virgin Islands).6 Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia. • The child was removed from the home previously due to abuse or neglect and was removed again due to a subsequent incident of abuse or neglect (nine States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).7 Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, South Dakota, and Utah. • The parent was convicted of a sexual offense that resulted in the child’s conception (three States).8 California, Connecticut, and Washington • The parent is a registered sex offender or required to register on sex offender registry (eight States and the District of Columbia).9 Arkansas, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia • The parent failed to comply with the terms of a reunification plan (seven States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).10 Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia • The parent has been incarcerated for a substantial term in relation to the child’s age, and there is no suitable relative to care for the child (eight States).11 Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, and South Dakota • The parent suffers from a mental illness of such duration or severity that there is little likelihood that the parent will be able to resume care for the child within a reasonable time (eight States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).12 Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Kentucky, South Carolina, Utah, and West Virginia • The parent suffers from chronic abuse of drugs or alcohol and has refused or failed treatment (nine States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).13 Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia • The parent has subjected the child to prenatal exposure to alcohol or a controlled substance (three States).14 Florida, North Dakota, and Utah • The parent indicated a lack of interest in reuniting with the child (two States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).15 Alabama and California Other grounds found in one or two States include: • The parent repeatedly withheld medical treatment or food from the child (Ohio). • A putative father has failed to establish paternity of the child (Montana and Nevada). • The parent allowed the child to be present where a clandestine illegal laboratory is operated (North Dakota and Utah) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(31) Adoption by Relatives In approximately 10 States, State agencies must give preference to relatives when making adoptive placements for children in their custody.16 Arkansas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. However, in four States, if the child has been placed in foster care with a nonrelative and has been living with the same foster parent for significant period of time when he or she becomes available for adoption, the nonrelative foster parent may be given first preference to adopt.17 California, Missouri, New York, and Tennessee In approximately 33 States, when a parent places the child directly with a relative, the laws provide for a streamlined adoption process, such as not requiring a preplacement assessment or home study unless specifically ordered by the court.18 Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia In 14 States, the child must have resided with the relative for a period of time or have established a significant relationship with the relative in some other way.19 Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Virginia. Approximately 23 States require a criminal records check of the adopting relatives and other adult household members .20 Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Min nesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, and Vermont. 10. national policy should strengthen families to prevent child abuse and neglect, provide support for needed services to prevent the unnecessary removal of children from families, 2. the term ‘child abuse and neglect’ means, at a minimum, any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm; KINSHIP CARE.— The Secretary may award grants to public and private entities to assist such entities in developing or implementing procedures using adult relatives as the preferred placement for children removed from their home, where such relatives are determined to be capable of providing a safe nurturing environment for the child and where such relatives comply with the State child protection standards 2. CONTENTS.—A State plan submitted under paragraph (1) shall contain a description of the activities that the State will carry out using amount received under the grant to achieve the objectives of this title, including— x. provisions which allow for public disclosure of the findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect which has resulted in a child fatality or near fatality; It is required by federal law public disclosure. Just say no to Gov. Browns bill to hide details from journalists and the public....2. CONTENTS.—A State plan submitted under paragraph (1) shall contain a description of the activities that the State will carry out using amount received under the grant to achieve the objectives of this title, including— x. provisions which allow for public disclosure of the findings or information about the case of child abuse or neglect which has resulted in a child fatality or near fatality;
Read these sources for further language to cite in your complaint ;
If police misconduct is involved; cite from this source;
Reporting fraud of Federal grant funding to the State agency ____________________(name your agency and address) in denial of reunification or kinship placement in accordance with Federal Code requirements under grant funding;

You may also mail a written copy of the complaint and materials you submitted to the FBI to the Criminal Section at:
US Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Civil Rights Division Criminal Section รข PHB Washington, DC 20530

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