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HSLDA’s mission is primarily to advance homeschooling rights, and this extends to helping families whose decision to homeschool subjects them to suspicions of abuse or neglect.

For example, sometimes a report to child protective services (CPS) arises from a misunderstanding about homeschooling—a neighbor may see children playing outside during school hours and think that the parents are allowing them to be truant. Whether the report indicates actual abuse is occurring or not, some CPS investigators and law enforcement personnel then insist they be allowed to interview the children and search the family’s home without a warrant. They may refuse to tell the parents the allegations against them and, if the parents are hesitant about allowing the interview or home visit, may use threats of removing the children to get the parents to comply.

We agree with what the United States Court of Appeals said in the Calabretta case: “The government’s interest in the welfare of children embraces not only protecting children from physical abuse, but also protecting children’s interest in the privacy and dignity of their homes and in the lawfully exercised authority of their parents.”

However, current CPS and judicial practice often treats child abuse investigations as an exception to traditional constitutional rules that protect children and parents from unnecessary government intervention, especially during the early stages of a CPS investigation. We assist our members in these initial contacts with CPS investigators to ensure that their constitutional rights are protected.

HSLDA provides assistance and advice to our member families in every initial contact by a CPS investigator or police officer regarding allegations of abuse or neglect. Call HSLDA immediately if an official visits or otherwise contacts you to investigate alleged child maltreatment; we will assist you in responding. If the investigation focuses on homeschooling, we may continue to provide representation until the matter is resolved. Should court action result in nonhomeschooling matters, we likely won’t remain involved beyond consulting with your retained lawyer.

HSLDA has in the past, and may choose in the future, to take cases that are not materially related to homeschooling but in which there has been a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. We reserve the right to accept such cases at our sole discretion.


Responding to an Official at Your Door (HSLDA Member Guidelines)

These guidelines help homeschool families be prepared if a CPS investigator, police officer, truant officer, or other official contacts them to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect.

Is homeschooling a risk factor in child abuse cases?

The tragic case of Matthew Tirado prompted the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate to issue a report on homeschooling in relation to child abuse. But as a reliable study, it falls well short of the mark.

How Can I Help Prevent Child Abuse?

Being aware of and informed about child abuse is the first step toward keeping children safe. Here are specific steps you can take . . .

If You Suspect Child Abuse

Here are some guidelines to help you evaluate your concerns about possible abuse and determine the best way to respond.

Child Safety Resources

A compilation of additional articles, helplines, and materials to help you in identifying and preventing child sexual abuse.

Why This Homeschool Mom’s Ordeal Can Help Everyone

A paperwork delay landed a mother on the child abuse registry. This injustice illustrates why the law needs to change.

Am I a Mandatory Reporter?

Every state has laws that require certain people to report all suspected child abuse and neglect to the proper authorities or be liable to prosecution. Find out if this applies to you.

On the shoulders of giants...

HSLDA has been protecting the freedom of homeschooling families for 37 years. And, every once in the while, the small victories of the past coalesce into something much, much bigger.

Protecting Children from Abuse

Do you want to protect your children from abuse and create a safe community for the kids in your home, neighborhood, church, and homeschool group? In this series:

The Homeschool Parent's Guide to Protecting Kids from Sexual Abuse

Licensed Professional Counselor Stephanie Adams shares practical steps and resources to help prevent or respond to sexual abuse situations.