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August 31, 2006

Social Worker Investigates Child Left Home Alone

The mother of a member family in Boerne, Texas, needed to drive her 14-year-old daughter to her summer job. Knowing the trip would take just a few minutes, the mother left her 10-year-old at home alone. By accident, the 10-year-old dialed 911, then hung up.

Not long after, a police officer visited the family’s home to make sure everything was OK. The mother explained, and the officer was satisfied, but the social worker with him wanted to talk to the child because the mother left her unsupervised for a few minutes.

Unfortunately, the social worker ended up asking irrelevant questions, such as if the 10-year-old wanted to attend public school!

Realizing the social worker was stepping over the boundaries, the family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for help.

Attorney Chris Klicka sent the social worker a letter explaining that the mother did not normally leave her 10-year-old home alone, and after this incident, intended never to do it again. (The letter did point out that 10-year-olds can be left alone safely for short periods.) Klicka also had the family send letters of references from people in the family’s community who would vouch for the family being excellent parents, who constantly supervise their children.

In addition, Klicka explained in the letter the family’s Fourth Amendment rights, as well as their legal right to homeschool.

The family has not heard from the social worker since.