If a child is taken away from his/her parents, is that a civil rights violation? The answer to that question is a very complex maybe. Government employees such as social workers, police and prosecutors have both qualified and absolute immunity depending on the precise activity they are performing at the time. Just investigating an allegation of abuse that turns out to be false is not necessarily a violation of a parent’s civil rights, even if the children were removed from their home. While the Supreme Court of the United States has declared that the right of a parent to the care, custody and control of their children is a fundamental right, it is not an absolute right and the law says you do not have a right not to be investigated for child abuse.
You do have a right to what is called procedural due process which means that your right to the care custody and control of your child cannot be curtailed unless you are properly notified of what you are accused of doing and are given the opportunity to defend yourself. In some cases, social workers may have violated a parent’s right to due process. The analysis of whether your right to due process has been violated is complex and fact intensive. You also have a right to what is called substantive due process. This means there are some actions by social workers can be so egregious that they lose immunity and may constitute a civil rights violation, even if the parent was afforded all of the procedural due process provided by law. If you are interested in exploring whether you may have a civil rights claim email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a civil rights lawsuit reported by the media and filed when doctors failed to do a complete workup for alternative medical explanations for the child’s condition and jumped to the false conclusion of abuse. Civil rights complaint