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July 31, 2014

Bogus Neglect Charge Overturned on Appeal

Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Massachusetts. He and his wife homeschool. Read more >>

As a criminal lawyer in Massachusetts, one particular homeschooling father is no stranger to litigation. However, he is used to defending others—not himself. So when the Department for Children and Family (DCF) initiated an investigation against his family for alleged “neglect” related to their home education—he turned to HSLDA for help.

The situation began after a local doctor evaluated the family’s teenage daughter for depression. Upon learning she was homeschooled, the doctor contacted DCF because he assumed the girl was being isolated.

An investigating social worker substantiated that the family had “neglected” their daughter, and the family appealed.

Good News

HSLDA Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly consulted with the family regarding the specific legal issues they faced. After the administrative appeal hearing, where the hearing officer overturned the social worker’s finding of “neglect,” the mother contacted HSLDA with good news.

“I just wanted to thank you guys for giving us so much in preparing what we were going to say to [social services],” she said. “It was all very helpful. You guys do great work, and we are very grateful!”

Social service investigations can happen at any time to families from all walks of life. Whether the allegations are false, malicious, or even true, HSLDA works with our member families to assist in navigating the process—especially, but not only, when homeschooling, or issues related to it are involved.

Tapping Expertise

As members of HSLDA, this family was able to access expert advice from lawyers who are familiar with the key legal issues and who handle hundreds of similar cases every year. In the words of the family whose story is recounted here, HSLDA membership afforded them “a lot of peace of mind.”

Do you want the same confidence that your family is only a phone call away from legal experts who can advise you if confronted with government intrusion? Members of HSLDA have around-the-clock access to legal staff who are experts in resolving homeschooling and parental rights legal issues. Peace of mind is only a click away. And for less than what most people spend on coffee in a week—you can have peace of mind every day of the year. Join us online.

HSLDA recognizes that there are instances, rare in the homeschool community, of actual child abuse or neglect. If you have questions or concerns about this please visit our website for more information.

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Protect Your Family

If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support for our work enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>