Dear CPS: Please Follow State Policy!
by Scott Woodruff • November 6, 2018
By taking our advice, a family was able to defuse a very tense situation and get back to homeschooling.
The trouble arose after someone anonymously accused an Idaho homeschool mom of neglecting her child’s education. The CPS investigator assigned to the case contacted the family, said she was coming to the home, demanded to see the children, and insisted that the father be there. The father told his boss he had an emergency and needed to take off work and go home.
The CPS investigator frightened the mom, implied she could be committing educational neglect, and—even though it was summer—gave her 30 days to get an approved curriculum or get under government oversight.
The mom asked Home School Legal Defense Association for help. The CPS investigator’s demands seemed out of touch with the homeschool laws of Idaho.
I urged the mom to email the CPS investigator and ask her to put in writing what she had told her she must do within 30 days. I was very curious as to how the investigator would respond.
It produced a huge change in tone. Probably after speaking to someone in her office more knowledgeable about homeschooling, the investigator called the mom and apologized. She followed up with a letter saying she had absolutely no concerns about the family and said a letter ruling the allegations “unfounded” would be coming soon.
Under a policy developed by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, here is what should have happened: if the person who called in the report did not provide credible sufficient, detailed information that would lead one to reasonably conclude that there was educational neglect, it should have been recorded as “information only” and closed without any investigation of the family at all. If the CPS investigator had been trained on this policy, the mom would never have gone through this experience.
I emailed the investigator and gave her a copy of the policy so she could be guided appropriately in any future interactions with homeschool families. The family subsequently received a letter closing the investigation.
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