In July 2018, Lithuania passed a new child protection act allowing institutions to take children from their families for reasons such as homeschooling.
Vilma and her three sons were one of the first families to be affected by this new law.
The two oldest sons had learned from home, but under the new act authorities questioned whether homeschooling was appropriate for Vilma’s 8-year-old.
“According to . . . the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport,” said Vilma, homeschooling her youngest son now “requires a recommendation from the Department for the Protection and Adoption of Children’s Rights, which has not been a problem so far, because the family provides all the necessary conditions for education.”
However, this year officials recommended Vilma’s 8-year-old son undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Results showed that the boy is developing better than his peers.
Nevertheless, officials ordered the mother to enroll her son in school. If she refuses, she may lose custody of him.
Vilma and her family considered challenging the order in court, but given the legal climate in Lithuania, they have decided to leave the country.
“Institutional terror continues to run against our family, because we have declared [we intend to leave] Lithuania to avoid persecution,” said Vilma. “This is a great trauma for our child and family because the child will be separated from his beloved father.”