The Home School Court Report
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New Mexico
Social worker's investigation defused

Home School Legal Defense Association recently assisted a member family in dealing with a child neglect investigation. The situation began during a weekend, when their daughter accidentally locked herself out of her father's office building. Within a few minutes, a passerby contacted security to let the girl back in, but reported the incident to social services. After the family and their lawyer met with the social worker the next day to explain the circumstances, everything appeared to be going well. In fact, the social worker was going to close the case, until she found out that the family was home schooling. Suddenly, she insisted that a full investigation was needed, including a home visit and interviews with all the children.

Seeing no valid reason for this full investigation, and being concerned that the social worker might be prejudiced against home schooling, our members called HSLDA for assistance.

HSLDA faxed a letter to the social worker's supervisor, denying access to the home without a search warrant. In a follow-up telephone conversation, the supervisor expressed her approval of home schooling and agreed that a home visit would not be necessary. Although insisting that the other children still needed to be interviewed, she eventually agreed instead to resolve the investigation by accepting references from friends of the family stating that the children were not left unsupervised.

Since investigations like this freqently turn into "fishing expeditions," HSLDA recommends that our members contact us immediately for advice when dealing with social services. (See HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy on page 14.)

- Darren A. Jones