SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The Ninth Circuit agreed to rehear a Santa Clara County case involving the immunity of social workers who provide false information to juvenile court judges making custody decisions.
The case involves a child who was temporarily taken from a mother who allegedly suffered from Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a condition in which a parent intentionally keeps her child ill to get medical attention. The mother claimed the diagnosis was false and accused two social workers of making up evidence and hiding information favorable to the parents. A circuit panel held that social workers have absolute immunity for statements they submit to the court, including dependency and custody petitions, even if the statements are false. See ruling in Beltran v. Santa Clara County.