Social Workers Immune from Liability for Failure to Adequately Investigate and File Documents Concerning Reported Child Abuse; Ruling Not Disturbed

Forrester v. Bass, 397 F.3d 1047 (8th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, 126 S. Ct. 363 (2005)

Every state has a mechanism for the reporting and investigation of child abuse and neglect, with many states, including Virginia, establishing similar mechanisms for abuse and neglect involving "aged or incapacitated adults." The United States Supreme Court in DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dep't of Soc. Servs., 489 U.S. 189 (1989), held that although a state may violate the federal constitution when it fails to protect individuals who are placed in state custody or who are exposed to danger created by the state, the Constitution does not require a state to protect individuals from abuse committed by private actors. A series of lawsuits since then have attempted to find means by which DeShaney can be side-stepped to hold state officials responsible under the federal constitution for a failure to adequately investigate reports of child abuse in the community...

Found in DMHL Volume 25 Issue 1