Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Homeschoolers: You Don't Have to Answer the Door to Child Protective Services (SRS, DFS) Like I Did

Let's sit down together and have a cup of coffee or tea and have a chat, fellow homeschool mom, young or seasoned, new to homeschooling or veteran.

So you’re going along thinking you are a rockin’ parent and that your spouse is also a rockin’ parent. You are amazed that nobody has given you too much crap for homeschooling and for parenting in a fun, laid-back-ish manner and for having 5 small kids ages 10 and under (oh, and for tandem nursing and child-led weaning)! After all, the kids are well-fed, healthy, smart, kind, and, well, just normal kids who happen to be loved very much. A couple sleep together, one sleeps on her own and you still have two in your bed. Your kids are SAFE and very well cared for.

Then there is a knock on your door and it is a state child agency saying they want to talk to you. You are a rockin’ parent, like I said, so you have nothing to hide and so you let them in. They proceed to share lies told to them by an anonymous someone, but you know who it is based on some things that have happened before and specific words that are said that have been said before by nobody else. 

(*Update 2016: Whew, so nice that I can now call these people out: that "someone" were our neighbors behind us and thankfully they have finally moved!) 

(*Update 2021: Life is still awesome, the kids are now aged 11-19, and we have moved to the country! Those neighbors divorced and the woman who called CPS on us continued her sociopathic ways, snagged a new guy, and moved to Las Vegas.)

The things that are said by this stranger that are true are things like the fact that your kids go barefoot in their own backyard (no dog poo or heroin needles out there, by the way, to step on) or that your son wears shorts on 50-degree winter days. 

(At one point the worker asked my kids point blank if they owned any shoes since they don't wear them. I can tell you at that point in time my kids had TONS of shoes that had been given to us by family and friends with older children; but it was nice weather and WE DO NOT WEAR SHOES OFTEN! If that's a crime, handcuff me now.)

The state worker then pulls down your baby’s cloth diaper as you are nursing him so they can check him for some horrible skin thing you have never heard of called scabies. They ask your children crazy questions, even the youngest ones, and won’t let you explain that when your 3-year-old daughter says she cries when you leave her home “alone”—what she means is that she cries when you go grocery shopping and leave her with her dad and siblings because she misses you. 


(If a worker needs to speak to your children, they may do so in front of an attorney, thank you very much. Little children don't always understand the questions they are being asked and shame on this grown woman for interviewing my very young kids in front of me and not letting me explain their answers.) 

Also, if a worker is DRIVING UP TO YOUR HOUSE and handing your children a letter to give to you, something is VERY WRONG WITH THIS SYSTEM. Because we all know kids lose crap so why give something that important to a kid? If you really have a concern, you will come back when the parent is around or find another way to contact them. Maybe ask the "concerned" neighbor what the family's schedule is ... but then, maybe that was already given to you, given the fact that you dropped by when the parent was gone.

What a nightmare that happened to our family ONCE and never again, thankfully. We were never charged with a thing (neglect? We are with our kids constantly!), but the fear is there daily that the knock will come again. And that two-week waiting period while they I have no clue what they did during those two weeks to investigate us further investigated us further was HELL.

Now I know you do not have to answer the door. I will not do it again. If there are things to be discussed, they can be discussed NOT at a surprise meeting at my house and with a surprise TOUR OF MY ENTIRE HOME while we are in the middle of homeschooling. I don't even answer the door to someone I know who pops by in the middle of a homeschool day without letting me know first.

You do not have to answer the door unless there is a warrant, and in that case you are either doing something suspect or else someone is lying about you really well and we have to pray for them and believe in karma.

Haters gonna hate. Watch your back because even the best parents get called out. And if you are a homeschooler I might suggest joining Homeschool Legal Defense Association because it's cheap and they would help you out if there was an issue so you really can tell a worker that you are going to CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY IF THERE IS AN ISSUE that is worthy of that.

Do not be intimidated like I was. I was brought up to think that those in authority are EVERYTHING and you obey them. That is not always the case. A CPS worker is not a cop and is not there to arrest you. They are there to gain information and inspect something and protect kids and most of them are great people but, like in any profession, you have those who are on POWER TRIPS or have seen all sorts of crazy crap and they assume the worst of you before ever setting foot in your home so if you can avoid that, do it.

P.S. If you have kids who are older (mine were not at the time), please tell them to NEVER answer the door. I tell mine to not even answer the door if they see Jesus Himself is here because Jesus can just come through the door anyway, but you get where I'm going with this.

P.S. #2 If you receive a letter to call CPS, consider yourself lucky! You have time to compose yourself and can calmly call them and ask them, "Hey, what's up?" Okay, more like, "Yes, may I help you?" And then they say that they got a call about a concern because someone saw your kids doing X, and then you calmly (see a pattern here?) explain what was going on and hopefully it is dropped. If not, join HSLDA right now and you can refer them to your lawyer once you get in contact with someone at HSLDA. 

My bet is they won't want to mess with that junk over something like a call that your teenager is home alone for a couple of hours at a time. Big whoop, anyway. The things people call on these days were NORMAL AS APPLE PIE in the 1950s, friends.

*This was really hard for me to write and took me almost two years to work up the courage to write about it. It gives me a slimy feeling when I think about it and makes my heart race to this day. I have also never seen my husband that angry in 25 years of knowing him. A touch of PTSD, anyone, at the thought of having your kids taken away and given to God-knows-who?

Originally written July 31, 2013

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