Dear Katy,

An unschooling friend asked me to reply to your post.

I went through what you are now experiencing 4 years

I was leaving to take my oldest to a friend's house
when 2 young women drove up and confronted me in the
front yard.

I won't go into the details, except to say that it was
a family member, on my side, that made the report.

CPS gets a lot of these types of erroneous reports, so
if that's what happened in your case, it wouldn't
surprise me.

It's very Sad, but some people would rather betray you
and endanger your children and family than accept the
fact that you have chosen a path different from

Back to The Subject. If you consult with persons who
have been through this before, or lawyers that
represent homeschool families, they will tell you in
no uncertain terms: DO NOT EVER invite CPS into your
home. Never ever.


Right now, you are upset, confused, dismayed, feeling
betrayed, frightened, vulnerable and threatened.

I know. I have been there.

I don't want my Insistent Advice to further disturb
you. It's not my intention to add insult to injury

It IS my intention to give you the Best, hard earned,
solid and sound advice available. I know it is
because I spent an entire week researching, e-mailing
and calling,(all over the country), those in the know.
What I got was a Unanimous call for Not Allowing CPS
in my door.

I did not, at the time. I had heard it mentioned
casually online, so I used that advice. The worker
threatened to come back with the police and enter my
home against my will, if that's what it took to
interview each of my children -Alone- in our home.

Before my research, I called her office and arranged
for her to come to my house a few days later. After
my research, I canceled that arrangement.

Where you live is important. Where are you? That is
a consideration.

However, in most states, CPS is not the regulatory
agency for homeschoolers. If you are legal, then you
need to assemble all the documents that prove your
legality. Get copies of everything the law requires.

(In my state, SC, all that must be shown to prove
legality is an Association membership. They got a
copy of my certificate. Nothing else.)

Secondly, "messy house" is NOT Criminal. It was on my
report too : "physical neglect" was the check box
marked. It was only after the case was resolved
that the worker admitted that wasn't applicable to
"dishes in the sink" and "undone laundry", which was
all the complainant asserted. An "office worker
erred" in checking that item.

None the less, I took all 4 of my children to my
nurse practitioner and had her give them complete
physicals to refute their being "neglected". Your
doing the same wouldn't be a bad idea as a
comprehensive refutation of the "bad mother" image.

CPS has no ability to evaluate educational programs.
That is not their job. Furthermore, they do not want
it. They have too many cases of Real Abuse that keep
them busy every day. So, it is Your Job to help them
complete their mandatory "investigation" and be on
their merry way to save the children who are in really
scary life-threatening situations.

Once you have your documents: proof of legal
compliance certification- whatever that is in your
stat, a physical, proving that your child is well
cared for and whatever highest diploma you hold, (if
it's required in your state), xerox'd all nice and
neat and tucked into a manila envelope, take them to
your worker's office and hand deliver them to her.

Do it face-to-face. Inform her, very kindly,
pleasantly and with the parental authority that is
yours, that you discovered that you do not need to
replicate your reporting to CPS in order to fulfill
your state's homeschool requirements. But, since you
know she's required to investigate even the most
frivolous claims, that you have assembled all the
documents that she should need to complete her

At that point, there is precious little that she can
do besides closing the case. No judge will issue a
warrant with the documents in front of him that you
have supplied- and she Must present them to him if she
decides to pursue invading your home, without your

Additionally, as workers are Required to remove
children from "imminent danger", you have already
passed that test. She was in your home and left
without your child, so she gave you her stamp of
approval so far as your home not being beyond the
"normal house with children" messy.

This Should end the investigation.

Btw, do you have a copy of the report? CPS is
Required by law to give it to you- minus the name of
the reporting individual. They do not always offer
it. It took us over a week to get a copy, as the
worker knew we did not know the law in the beginning.

That is how I discovered who'd made the report- no one
I knew- but my crazy family- would refer to me the way
that the "reporting individual" did.

It may offer clues as to who has behaved so
egregiously toward your family. They tend to quote
the person who called it in.

Please, please, please Katy, DO NOT let any government
official into your home, unless they have a warrant.

In doing so, you give up a constitutional right that
cannot be reclaimed afterward. You passed the first
time. If she comes back and sees something that
bothers her or hears something that she doesn't
understand, you could find yourself watching your
child leave with a social worker.

I am not an alarmist, but there are cases of exactly
that happening all over the country. Since my
experience, I have subscribed to several national
legal homeschooler lists. It does happen to Good
People. The best way to avoid it is to not make
yourself vulnerable by letting them in the door.

Please post your result when you are up to writing
about it. This is a traumatic experience that you
will have to deal with emotionally. Following the
proper steps will assure that it ends well for you and

Please feel free to email me off-list and I will give
you my ph #, if you'd like an empathetic ear.

For eveyone who's reading this now and breathing a big
sigh of relief because you know it could never happen
to you, don't be so sure. I was as shocked as anyone
would be. After all, I'd been a member of an electic
group, was a charter member of another and
co-founder of a state- wide unschoolers group.

Just remember, NEVER LET THEM IN YOUR HOME. Even as
rare as it may be in your area, that is the first
action that every wrongly-reported parent takes before
their child and their family is forever traumatized by
CPS removing a child from the home.

Good Luck.

Melinda Nolan,
co-founder School's Out Support,
(unschooler's group)

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

[email protected]


Is there a webpage by any chance with advice gathered? I've saved your
response for the next time someone asks, but is there a place we could send them
for additional advice too?

Thanks. I'm really sorry it happened to you, and thanks for sharing it here.


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



I was wondering if it would be okay for me to forward your email to my local
homeschooling group? It was full of great advice. One of our members also
recently had a run in with DCF here in FL. She too let them in out of fear.
I have also always heard to never let anyone in you don't have to.

Anyway, I would like to send your email on so that those who think it could
never happen to them can at least be aware of what to do if.

Mary B

Pam Sorooshian

I've put some things into our files area, in a folder called "CPS

Katy - please read these carefully. They are written BY attorneys who
are also homeschooling parents.


Penne & Buddies


Don't bother with pouring your heart out to CPS; I'm convinced that
the majority of these people really don't care whether you're legit
or not. It's all about the money (foster care and adoption is big
business, as callous and unbelievable as that seems.) I learned the
hard way to stick to the facts and never discuss my personal
business without at least two friendly and knowledgeable witnesses
(preferably, one being a reputable, private attorney) by my side.

Thank God you made it to your son before they interviewed him
without you there -- and no, they have absolutely no right to talk
to _your_ child without your permission (nor to you) without legal
counsel. The CPS agent declined to answer my request for
representation in front of a police officer (who also declined to
acknowledge my rights) and after he departed, threatened to take the
kids away if I didn't comply with her demand to interview us
separately. I refused and after the interrogation, she ended up
taking them anyway (worst 48 hours of my life.)

This woman lied through her teeth to me (never had any official
papers to snatch my kids in the first place) and to the judge at the
hearing, but thankfully, we had a well-known lawyer representing us
and our children were returned -- though not without their own tales
of abuse and neglect at the foster home and shelter(!) Little did I
know that we'd have one of those homeschool horror stories of our
own to tell someday. But there's much, much more to this saga. My
best advice is to turn all that fearful energy into pro-activism and
keep the faith that God will see you through this as he did our

Greg Hession's MassOutrage is the best site I have ever found on the
subject of dealing with CPS/DCF/DSS, or so-called Child Protective
Services by any other name:

What to do if the DSS Comes to Your Door

How to Fight False Allegations of Abuse and Neglect

DSS Dirty Tricks Series

Vayan con Dios, Amigos ~