May 8, 2001

New Mexico Social Worker's Investigation Defused

Home School Legal Defense Association recently assisted Mr. and Mrs. G. in dealing with a child neglect investigation. The situation developed last weekend, when Mr. and Mrs. G.'s daughter accidentally locked herself out of Mr. G's office building. Within a few minutes, a passerby contacted security to let her back in, but reported the incident to social services. After Mr. and Mrs. G. and their lawyer met with the social worker the next day to explain the circumstances, everything appeared to be going well. In fact, the social worker was going to close the case, until she found out that the family was home schooling. Suddenly, she insisted that a full investigation was needed, including a home visit and interviews with the children.

Seeing no valid reason for this full investigation, and being concerned that the social worker might be prejudiced against home schooling, Mr. and Mrs. G. called HSLDA for assistance.

HSLDA faxed a letter to the social worker's supervisor, denying access to the home without a search warrant. In a follow-up telephone conversation, the supervisor expressed her approval of home schooling and agreed that a home visit would not be necessary. Although insisting that the other children still needed to be interviewed, she eventually agreed instead to accept references from friends of the family stating that the children were not left unsupervised.

Since investigations like this can turn into "fishing expeditions" all too often, HSLDA recommends that our members contact us immediately for advice in dealing with social services.

 Other Resources

HSLDA's CPS Policy Statement