March 1, 2004
Wayward Toddler Draws Attention from Authorities

The Lewis* family homeschools in the Orlando area and they were recently subjected to an investigation for child neglect. The Lewis's three year old wandered out of the house and was stopped by a passing motorist, who called the police on his cell phone. Just after the call was placed, the child's thirteen year old brother caught up with him. The passerby insisted that they all wait for the police. After the police conducted a brief investigation, they turned the matter over to the Department of Children and Families.

The family was then contacted by a social worker from the local DCF office. The family was not home when she first visited but they found the business card she left.

The family called HSLDA's legal department and discussed their rights and how to proceed. When the social worker contacted the family for the second time, they gave her HSLDA's number. The social worker called HSLDA's legal staff and discussed the situation. We explained that the family did not wish to have a home inspection or to allow the social worker to speak alone with the thirteen year old.

The social worker agreed to respect the family's rights and to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. She arranged to have a brief conversation with the parents and the son.

This meeting took place with no trouble and the situation was resolved with a minimum of impact on the family. We are glad that the Lewis family acted quickly to call HSLDA and inform themselves about their rights.

*Name changed.