A grandmother in New York who is the legal guardian of her grandchildren works hard to provide them with a customized homeschool education. But New York CPS investigators claim that, because she was late filing some of her homeschool paperwork, she is guilty of neglect.

Our member has been homeschooling her two grandchildren for three years. Last year, she contacted the local public school district to inform officials of the dates she would submit the quarterly reports that New York requires. Unfortunately, due to her mother’s sickness and death in the fall, her first quarterly report for her grandchildren was late.

The school contacted Child Protective Services, which began an investigation.

During the investigation, our member fully cooperated with CPS. A review of the children’s workbooks and schedule showed that they were working on par with their age and ability, and the grandmother verified that they would be evaluated at the end of the 2019–20 school year.

Two months later, CPS sent a letter stating that the investigation had “indicated” the report of maltreatment or abuse, because “[Grandmother] failed to hand in the proper paperwork for the children to be homeschooled. [She] was supposed to hand in the children’s letter of intent to home school before July 1, 2019 and she handed in the letter on July 2, 2019.”

The notice of intent—late by a single day—and a late quarterly report were the only evidence of alleged neglect cited by investigators. So for late paperwork, the grandmother was placed on the New York State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register as “maltreating” her children.

HSLDA is representing our member in her appeal, which is scheduled for early next year.

Our litigation team is especially determined to help this grandmother, because we find the accusations against her ridiculous. A minor delay in filing paperwork does not mean that she is neglecting the education of her children.

The case seems additionally ironic, considering that New York City’s education officials have admitted that the surge in homeschooling sparked by COVID-19 has put them behind in processing paperwork. 

If you would like to help families like this grandmother protect their right to homeschool, please consider donating to HSLDA or joining as a member today!