Bill description: HB 170 would require the state Department of Health and Welfare to notify parents or guardians of their rights when it initiates a child protection investigation.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?
HB 170 would require the state Department of Health and Welfare to provide the parents or guardians of a child with information about their rights when it starts an investigation and comes into contact with the parents. Specifically, parents and guardians would be notified that they have the right to:
Remain silent during questioning;
Refuse entry to their home or other premises;
Seek the counsel of an attorney; and
Refuse the questioning of a minor child under their care.
Child protection investigations can be tense, emotionally fraught experiences for parents, guardians, and children. Many parents and guardians do not know their rights in such situations and could fall victim to investigators who take advantage of that fact. HB 170 would ensure that parents know that their Fourth and Fifth amendment rights apply just the same in a child protection investigation as they would in any criminal or civil investigation by government entities.