Despite complying with state homeschool law, a family’s move from one end of New York’s Long Island to the other triggered a CPS investigation. At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, this HSLDA member family moved from eastern Suffolk County to Nassau County.
As required by law, the family completed their final homeschool quarterly report and submitted it, along with an annual student assessment, to the public school district they used to live in. They also informed the district they were moving and promptly began reporting to their new school district.
Knowing that they had diligently followed New York law completely, they were shocked to be contacted this month by Suffolk County Social Services for allegations of educational neglect.
Failure to Communicate
The CPS investigator accused the family of failing to provide the address of the home they had moved to.
The family informed the CPS investigator that they had moved over a year ago and that they had notified their old school district of their move with their final homeschool reports back in 2021. The family had also forwarded documentation from their new school district, which verified that they had been following the New York homeschool law for all of 2021-2022.
After our office spoke with the family, I was frustrated to learn that this undeserved harassment actually dated back to nearly a year before when the school district failed to act properly. Upon hearing that the family had moved, school officials should have removed the student from the rolls.
Instead, a school official left a voicemail for the family in May 2022 stating that there was a question about paperwork.
While trying to return the call, our member left a message reminding the school official that they had moved, but they were still on Long Island and had been reporting to their new school district for over a year. Our member left their phone number and email for the school official in case there were any more questions.
The next they heard from their previous school district was through the report to CPS.
It's Not in the Law
The investigator explained that the family’s previous school district claimed they had failed to notify them of the district they had moved to. This meant that officials in the old district were unable to request a transfer of information from the new district.
In response, I wrote a letter to the CPS investigator pointing out that New York law does not have any procedures for a homeschool parent to transfer their program from one school district to another. I informed the investigator that our member family had followed New York law exactly. We also provided additional evidence that the family had been in compliance with New York law the entire time.
Finally, I urged Suffolk County Social Services to close this investigation. I pointed out that the allegation was clearly false and even malicious, as the school officials in the reporting school district knew that the family had moved.
While most CPS investigations in New York last for 60 days, we are hopeful that this investigation will be closed quickly and without further disruption to the tranquility of our member family’s life.