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This bill would prohibit a family from homeschooling a child if the child is under the "care, custody or supervision" of the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) unless DYFS gives approval. It gives the Department of Education power to create regulations to implement this provision.
This bill is deeply flawed in that it is not narrowly tailored to situations where it would make sense for DYFS to have input on education. It is far too broad.
Children can be placed under DYFS care, custody or supervision for many reasons totally unconnected with education. For example—say a child gets in a fight at the local park, and a judge gives DYFS supervision of the child. It makes no sense whatsoever for DYFS to have power to veto the famiy's homeschool program and force the child into public school. Or what if a baby gets sick and a judge decides the family waited too long to go to the emergency room, and places all the family's other kids under DYFS supervision. There is no reason DYFS should have the power to force them to stop homeschooling. Or say a family is remodelling and the house is so messy that a judge gives DYFS supervision of the kids. Is there any reason to force them to stop homeschooling? Obviously not. OR say a family with 6 biological children adopts a 10-year old orphan from Russia who starts making up bizarre stories about maltreatment, and a judge gives DYFS supervision over all kids as a result. There is absolutely no reason for DYFS to have power to force all the kids into public school.
But we could also envision some situations where it woud make sense for DYFS to have power to place a child in public or private school. But the bill takes a shot gun aproach rather than a laser approach and gives DYFS way too much power in way too many situations.
This bill is moving at an extremely rapid pace that is nearly unheard of. The text of the bill is not even publicly available on the legislature's website as of May 11 at 9:30 AM.
Check your email frequently for updates—the situation is in flux and developing extremely quickly. We are working with other organizations to develop a unified response.
5/10/2012 (Assembly) Introduced, Referred to Assembly Women and Children Committee, scheduled for hearing Monday, May 14, 10 AM.
5/14/2012 (Assembly) Committee approved bill
This bill is probably unnecessary. If a judge ever actually takes jurisdiction of a child, which usually happens in serious cases, the judge probably already has the power to make decisions about the child's education.
This bill may make people afraid to accept services from DYFS.
The bill provides no definition of "care, custody or supervision," so we don't even know for sure what situations would cause a family to come under DYFS' power to prohibit homeschooling. Nor does the bill define "homeschool." This could allow a judge power to define homeschooling in a way that threatens the freedom of families.
The bill gives the Department of Education power to create regulations to carry out the bill's provisions. Regulations are created by the will of bureacrats, not by a democratic process. Because of this, they can be hostile to the rights of individuals.
The bill's language starts by saying "notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, ..." This means that all other state laws must give way to this new billl. Every other right you have under state law will be below this bill.
The New Jersey Home School Task Force is united in opposing this bill.
Thank you for standing with us for freedom!
| Other Resources|
E-lert May 11, 2012: Attend Hearing Monday to Block New DYFS Threat!
E-lert May 31, 2012: Update on A 2881