When a social worker is taking the consent or relinquishment of a birth mother or father, should the social worker “swear in” the birth mother or father? For example, should the social worker ask the birth mother or father to place their hand on the Bible and say, “Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth?”
I think the swearing-in process can have the positive effect of arousing the law of God written on someone’s heart (i.e., their conscience) and may potentially deter them from lying.
However, it is doubtful that it has any additional legal effect. When someone signs a document before a court, such as an affidavit, this is in effect what they are doing. They are swearing, under penalty of perjury, that what they are signing is true.
The same principles would apply for a social worker taking an affidavit. Although, as discussed in my blog, Alabama Adoption Law: Will the Consent of the Husband Need to be Obtained in the Case of a Common Law Marriage?, the legal validity of a social worker taking an affidavit is questionable.
Photo by Nostri Imago.