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Child Services and Unschooling

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Please help me...

If someone threatens to turn you into child services because they dont agree with unschooling, what can you do?

What information does one need to be armed with in order to prove you are not abusing your child?

Thank you
post #2 of 17
I don't really know, but I would think that if someone was concerned about 'educationial neglect' or whatever... you could just show them what you *do* do.

Unschoolers just don't sit around and do nothing. They read books, go on 'field trips,' do 'unit studies,' etc... They are learning all the time, so there has to be tons of stuff they could use as examples to show learning.

As long as everything else is okay and you are meeting your state standards, I don't see what anyone could do.

Is someone threatening to turn you in?!
I would try to educate them on unschooling, emphasize all that you do (maybe in a letter), and then stay far, far away from that person.
post #3 of 17
It would be a good idea to look up your state codes.In ohio it's called:
Ohio Revised codes.
Most are online these days.You can then look up the laws regarding educational neglect and if(and how) children and family services would handle this. They also cover cps policies and procedures,so you will know when they are over stepping their bounds(they sometimes threaten you to comply with entry into the home or to agree to case plans).

There is the one page on homeschoolers and legal issues....http://www.hslda.org/
that could help.

Whoever is harassing you may also say you are neglecting or abusing the children in other ways.. My friends ex-dh and ex-in-laws are always calling CPS on her(she does ps ),and every time they come out and check out her kids,look in the kitchen for food,rate the status of the home,and so on. Very annoying.
I hope you get things worked out. I swear it is sad that some people having nothing better to do than cause such chaos for another.
post #4 of 17
Could you keep a journal of your days? I bought one of those weekly daytimer journals and wrote down what we covered each day like this:

Math: used allowance money to purchase a toy- addition, subtraction, budgeting

English: read 2 chapters in Blah, Blah by Susie Blah and discussed plot development with Mom
read 2 short books aloud to younger brothers and sisters (Book 1 by Sue Smith and Book 2 by Jim Jones)
looked up the meaning of word used not known (chastize)

P.E.: Rode bike for 1 hour

History/Social Studies: Discussed the nightly news with dad and compared how the recent war resembled and differed from previous wars

Science: learned how a shark's anatomy works (watched Discovery Channel special)

Socialization: Played with neighborhood children for 2 hours
discussed gardening with 60 year old woman across the street

These are just examples, but you get the idea how your everyday activities can be recorded to show what "learning" is going on.
post #5 of 17
What state are you in? One thing I've learned early on, in regards to both not vaccinating and homeschooling, is to know your rights. Know what the laws in your state are, specifically. Be prepared to stand up for yourself because, as with many things, people are willing to harass you and even persecute you if you don't know what your rights are.

I'm lucky because Indiana is a pretty cool state in regards to homeschooling. My children must be taught an "equivalent" to what they would learn in public school and they must be taught 180 days of the year. I keep loose records of what they're working on and how many days we're "learning". I'm registered as a private school, which I did online. I have a school ID.

Know your rights, sweetie, and stand up for them. Don't let yourself be bulldozed by ignorant and judgemental people.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
The person doing this is a "friend" of mine. This doesn’t totally come out of no where. She has made little comments here and there over the last few months. I just recently found out from someone else her intentions to call CPS.

I have offered her unschooling links, books, and online groups. I wanted her to research for herself but I don’t believe she ever did.
She thinks we are just sitting here watching television and playing online games.

I am really happy I have this forum to turn to.
post #7 of 17
I would not want to be in your position. I would just make sure you have all of your ducks in a row and know what your state laws and follow them to the letter.

I was afraid of this in 1987 when I first homeschooled my DD. Years later when my children were in school, I wanted to homeschool again, but someone called CPS on me and I did not want to do anything out of the ordinary, do I kept my head low and "watched my p's and q's", and jsut kept them in school until the investigation passed.

CPS is nasty. Depends on the social worker they send out, the family court, and the original complaint. Also they change social workers on you all of the time, so do not be compacent if you get a nice one to start.
post #8 of 17
what state are you in??

Your Rights ~~~
A public school official can only enter your home if you voluntarily allow him to enter or he has a warrant or court order. Public school officials requiring access to a home-based, private school to determine if you are breaking the compulsory education laws, are violating your 4th amendment rights, your right to privacy and to due process.

The California Education Code sections 48222, 48415, and 33190, allow public school officials the right to verify that the Private School Affidavit or alternative form have been filed. They have no right to evaluate your curriculum or examine your school or student records. They can verify attendance of a child if they can provide you with the name of the child they suspect of being truant.

you can make attendance records using the forms st http://www.donnayoung.org

the rules, *** do not answer the door if you know she has called CPS
make a door sign-
"Kindly respect the wishes of this family by not disturbing us. We do not answer our door unless we know you or are expecting you. US Mail and UPS are welcome, as are friends. Others should make an appointment."
*** if you open the door you do not let anyone in
no one can enter your home w/o your permission w/o a warrent
CPS, truant officer, cop etc.. no one and no one can force you to show school records, you simply state that you homeschool and your home is a private school, the records and student information is confidential, keep telling them-- tell them that "The information you are requesting is confidential."

print this out and put it by your door-
Calabretta v. Floyd
HSLDA Press Release
August 26, 1999

Yolo County, CA—Social workers are bound to obey the U.S. Constitution when investigating child abuse cases, said a unanimous three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in an opinion handed down Thursday, August 26, 1999.

"This opinion will have a nationwide impact. With respect to the Fourth Amendment, the Ninth Circuit settled the social worker question once and for all. No longer can social workers enter a home without either a warrant or probable cause of an emergency," said Michael Farris, lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

I gotta say I would lose that friend so fast, but would tell her off to her face with other people around so you can sue her if she makes a false report.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am in Georgia.

I feel much better knowing what my rights are. I printed off a lot of what was posted here so I can refer back to it if need be.

Thank you to everyone that posted. I feel better knowing that I am armed with information and knowing the law makes me feel more confident.
post #10 of 17
Just make sure you stay with in your states laws.

This might take some creative writing and thinking.

Keep a log/record. Even if it is not for legal reasons it can really help you see what you have done and are doing.
post #11 of 17

I am so sorry

you are having to deal with this
It stinks when those we thought were friends turn on us
post #12 of 17
CL oh yes, I think I would be stressed out from the back stabbing friend thing as much or more then the CPS issue

that just hurts
post #13 of 17
CPS will most likely call you to schedule a visit because it is not based on abuse. When they call agree to an appt. and immediatly take them to the dr. and explain what's going on and have complete physicals on all children. Then HAND DELIVER the dr.s findings to the social worker and their superior. This will often nip things in the bud. You could also include the laws about homeschooling etc. if you felt like it.

I do believe there are some counter measures that you can take for falsely reporting abuse or neglect.
post #14 of 17
I'm in GA too.. you need to look at www.heir.org

on the left side, if you look under contents, there's a section on DFACS.

Where in GA are you? I'm in Duluth
post #15 of 17
Hi Lindsey,
My little brother is social worker for CPS in San Diego.

They - CPS- don't call first to make appts, the truant officer also does **not** usually call ahead cause they want to see if the kids are home alone. Sometimes if a relative calls in a report they will call ahead cause then they have a phone number, or if a ps turns someone in - but an anon call gets a drop in visit.

My mom taught there from the early 50s on, I have taught in the SD ps system as well -so I have an pretty good idea of the mandatory reporting and how it works.

applejuice is right on with her advice -- don't get complacent, keep all the i s dotted for a while even after things get resolved

post #16 of 17
In South Dakota, CPS *does* call ahead and make appointments, even on abuse cases, so it does vary state to state. Are you unschooling *under the radar* or registered with the local school district? If you're registered, you've got that form giving you *permission* (as it were) to homeschool your children. Did you pick up the school's curriculum? (Ours is merely decor, but it's here ) Is your home (like mine, like most unschoolers) rich in mainstream acceptable educational materials?
I can't imagine someone coming into my house (other than family, I guess they already do this to me : ) to *check up.* With the strewn books, lego projects, drawings, drying clay (and that's just what I can see from my 'puter), I don't know how anyone could proclaim this an *educational neglectful* environment.
Oh, and don't count on help from HSLDA, they are (don't know how to say this without offending someone, but I'm gonna go ahead anyway) really there to support the middle-class, conservative, Christian, school-at-homers; they've a bad rap with unschoolers and non-trad homeschoolers in general.
I hope this helps. I'll be sending lots of calm & loving vibes your way!
post #17 of 17
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