Simply homeschooling or having a large number of children can now apparently get a family investigated by a social worker in some states. In fact, one homeschool mom says that a social worker visited her home because her children allegedly were “unsocialized.”
The unidentified mom, called “Amy,” gave the account to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)
“When the social worker stopped by this afternoon I asked her what the accusations are, and she said: ‘Well, it looks like we’ve got a report here of unsocialized homeschoolers,’” the woman told Mike Donnelly, an HSLDA staff attorney.
Donnelly was so astounded by the allegations that he asked Amy to clarify the remark. He even asked, “Did you say she is investigating ‘unsocialized homeschoolers?’”
“Yes, sir,” Amy replied.
“Unsocialized” apparently means that someone thinks the kids are not spending enough time with other children or in the community.
“Here we are in 2016,” Donnelly wrote on the HSLDA blog, “with over two million homeschoolers in the United States, and social services agencies are still investigating homeschooling families for concerns about ‘socialization’! But this isn’t the first call we’ve received about this, and I doubt it will be the last.”
Donnelly told Amy that lack of socialization is not considered neglect or abuse under state laws. He suggested that she ask the social worker to reveal everything she was investigating. Social workers sometimes fail to do that “even though federal law and most state law requires them to do so at their first contact,” Donnelly wrote.
“She said that in addition to the unsocialized homeschoolers, the allegations included that our back yard was a mess, and that there was no way there could be enough beds in our house for our 10 children,” Amy told Donnelly after she had contact again with the social worker.
Amy told Donnelly that she thinks a neighbor – one she was not getting along with — called the social worker on her family. Complaints to social workers are anonymous.
Thankfully, the incident ended amicably, with the social worker, after a follow-up visit, telling Amy she had a nice-looking family and that she was closing the case.
The incident, Donnelly said, is a reminder that families – especially homeschoolers — should understand the law before a social worker visits.
“It is striking how many people are not aware of their rights,” Donnelly wrote. “And sadly, too few social workers or government officials actively seek to protect the rights of citizens they are investigating.”
HSLDA is a nonprofit advocacy organization that defends the constitutional right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
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