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The providers' rights movement believes that basic rights of providers and due process before the law need not be sacrificed to protect the vulnerable. We like to say that enough justice exists to protect everyone.

We understand that that those charged with protecting a vulnerable group-- such as day care children-- may be tempted to err on the side of the children. If a child protection worker suspects child abuse the temptation is to close the day care, warn the parents, and perhaps neglect the rights of the child care provider.

The providers' rights movement claims that curtailing the rights of providers and neglecting due process of law is shortsighted. Improperly harming providers to supposedly protect the helpless actually does more harm than good, including more harm to those we are trying to protect.

We believe that a wise policy protects providers as well as those we care for. The details of this belief takes many forms.

Child protection workers and adult protection workers must follow established protocols when investigating abuse or neglect allegations.

All interviews must be tape recorded.

Providers must be properly informed of their rights.

In Minnesota right now we have licensing workers violating the basic constitutional rights of family day care providers. This is being done with the best of intentions.

In an attempt to make sure that providers are following all of the day care licensing rules, the licensing workers have instituted a policy of "un-announced licensing visits". This is perhaps scarry for the providers, but it is also legal.

The big problem is that over-enthusiastic licensing workers are apparently entering child care homes without knocking, uninvited by the child care provider/homeowner. The last time we checked only police in hot pursuit of a criminal or police in possession of a search warrant are allowed to enter your home without your permission.

This right is called freedom from unlawful searches. It means that the licensing worker has to knock, and she must be invited in. If you refuse to invite her in, she cannot force her way in. However, the licensing worker may deny your day care license, if you refuse to let her in after she knocks and asks to come in.

A child care license,or any other license, is still considered to be a priviledge that must be earned by the applicant.

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