How to Report Educational Neglect in Homeschool Settings in Each State

Reporting a homeschool family for educational neglect should not be done lightly. Please read our Recognizing a Problem page for help recognizing educational neglect in a homeschool setting. However, if you have reasonable cause to suspect that educational neglect is occurring, please report your concerns. You may make a positive impact in a child’s life by doing so. While some states have assessment requirements, most states rely on concerned friends, neighbors, or relatives to notice educational neglect and make a report, and that means you.

If you have concerns about the education being provided in a homeschool setting, you may report those concerns to state or local education authorities or social services, depending on the state. How to report—and what is required of homeschool parents under the law—varies from state to state. Click on your state on the map, choose from the list below, or scroll down to learn more.

 States with Educational Neglect Statutes.      States without Educational Neglect Statutes.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
D. C.
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

For more information on reporting child abuse or neglect, see our page on the topic.


Alabama

Alabama does not have a homeschool statute. Instead, most homeschool parents in the state enroll their children in church schools and then educate them at home. These schools are required by law to provide instruction but are exempted from many of the requirements that apply to regular private schools, including those governing what subjects must be taught. Many church schools have been created solely to enroll homeschooled students, sometimes providing only a website presence and other times offering organized activities or play dates. They generally do not provide homeschool families with curriculum, existing to provide a legal “umbrella” for homeschooling rather than to facilitate instruction. The Alabama Department of Education does not have the authority to oversee these schools in any way. Parents may also homeschool by engaging a certified teacher as a private tutor. See§ 16-28-16.

If a student is not attending school and is not either enrolled in a church school or being tutored by a certified teacher, that student is considered truant and may be reported to their local school district and investigated by the local attendance officer for truancy. School officials will ensure that students not attending school are either enrolled in a church school or instructed by a qualified private tutor (the two legal options used for homeschooling) but will not investigate the quality of the education they are receiving at home. There is no state or local oversight of church schools and very little oversight of private tutors. See § 16-28-16.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect. As a result, the Alabama Department of Human Resources does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Alabama, see our state brief.

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Alaska

Many Alaskan children who are educated at home are enrolled in one of the state’s numerous popular public and charter school correspondence programs. Concerns about the education of a child being homeschooled through a correspondence school may be reported to the child’s correspondence school, then the school district that oversees the school, and finally the board of education for that school district.

Families that homeschool under Alaska’s minimalistic homeschool law rather than through a correspondence school are not required to have any contact with their local school district or state education officials. Because the law does not lay out any requirements for homeschooling, parents have free reign in deciding both how and whether to educate their children. Individuals concerned about failure to educate in a homeschool setting may contact a lawyer about challenging the law. Alternatively, if other forms of neglect are involved, or if abuse is suspected, concerned individuals may make a report to to Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services at 1-800-478-4444.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect. As a result, Alaska’s Office of Children’s Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Alaska, see our state brief.

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Arizona

Homeschool parents must file a one-time affidavit with the county superintendent and provide required instruction in reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies, and science. Arizona’s homeschool statute has no mechanism for ensuring that this required instruction is provided, and does not state how much instruction must be provided. However, parents who do not provide this instruction are guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor and parents who fail to file a notice of intent to homeschool are guilty of a petty offence. See § 15-802.

Homeschool families who do not submit the one-time affidavit may be reported to the child’s local school district. Homeschool parents who do not provide instruction may be reported to the local police, who may investigate their violation of the statute and charge them with a class 3 misdemeanor. However, in order to successfully prosecute, law enforcement must prove that the required instruction is not being provided, which is difficult given that the amount of instruction required is vague.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect. As a result, Arizona’s Division of Children, Youth, and Families does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Arizona, see our state brief.

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Arkansas

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family has failed to provide annual notice or that a homeschooled child is not participating in the required annual standardized testing may be reported to the local school district.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may be reported to Arkansas’ Child Protective Services at 1-800-482-5964.
  • Some professionals are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect, including educational neglect. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Homeschooling parents must file an annual notice with their local school district and have their children tested following grades 3 through 9. Parents must provide a curriculum plan when they file their notice, but there are no subject requirements or required hours of instruction, there is no monitoring of homeschooling, and students’ scores on the standardized tests are recorded only for state data purposes and are not provided to local school districts. Failure to provide annual notice or failure to participate in the required annual testing may be reported to the local school district, but the district will not investigate the quality of education being provided. See § 12-18-103 and § 6-15-501 to § 6-15-508.

Arizona’s definition of neglect includes “failure to ensure a child . . . is enrolled in school or is being legally home schooled.” As a result, violations of the state’s homeschool statute may be reported to Arkansas’ Child Protective Services. However, that agency will only ensure that homeschool parents have filed the required annual notice and that homeschooled students are participating in the required annual testing.

For more on homeschooling in Arkansas, see our state brief.

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California

In California, most homeschools operate as individual private schools or as satellite programs of supervising private schools (“umbrella schools”). Each private school must file an annual notice, keep attendance records, and provide instruction in English that covers “the several branches of study required in public schools.” In cases where parents have teacher certifications or hire a regular tutor with a teaching certificate, homeschooling may also take place under the private tutor statute. See §33190,  §44237, §48222, and §48224.

Because there is no mechanism for ensuring that the required instruction is provided, it is up to concerned individuals to notice and report failure to educate in homeschool settings. Individuals may report their concerned to the child’s local school district, which is responsible for ensuring that children are enrolled in school and has the final authority over exemptions from compulsory school attendance.

Children being homeschooled through an independent study program are considered to be public school students and are monitored by school officials. Concerns about the education of these children should be reported to the local school district.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that California’s Child Protective Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in California, see our state brief.

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Colorado

Colorado’s homeschool statute includes annual notice, required subjects, and assessment via standardized test or portfolio evaluation at the end of grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. This process is designed to ensure that homeschooled students are making academic progress. Suspicions that a homeschool is not following these requirements should be reported to the the local school district. See § 22-33-104.5.

Because Colorado’s definition of educational neglect includes cases where the parent “fails or refuses to provide the child with proper or necessary . . . education,” the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Division of Child Welfare may also respond to reports of educational neglect in homeschool settings, even in cases where the family is following the homeschool law and meeting its requirements. See § 19-3-102.

Some Colorado children may be enrolled in an independent or parochial school while pursuing a course of home study. These schools are required by law to provide a “sequential program of instruction” in reading, writing, and speaking, mathematics, history, civics, literature, and science. In some cases these schools may be operated by homeschool groups in order to avoid the requirements of the state’s homeschool statute. Given that independent and parochial schools are required by law to provide “a basic academic education” and that the law defines this as “the sequential program of instruction provided by an independent or parochial school,” the legality of operating an independent school that enrolls homeschooled students without providing those students with instruction is questionable. The Colorado Department of Education offers this advice to individuals with concerns about independent or parochial schools:

“A non-public school is considered a private business. If you would like to file a complaint against a non-public organization, please contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Unit at (720)508-6006 or click here to visit their website and file an electronic complaint.”

For more on homeschooling in Colorado, see our state brief.

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Connecticut

Connecticut’s compulsory education statute states that a child is exempt from public school attendance if “the parent or person having control of such child is able to show that the child is elsewhere receiving equivalent instruction in the studies taught in the public schools.” See§ 10-184. There is no state law requiring parents to provide notification of intent to homeschool or to have their children’s progress assessed. Instead, the Connecticut State Department of Education leaves it up to the individual school districts to develop policies for implementing the law in this area. Concerned individuals may report failure to educate in homeschool settings to the local school district.

Concerned individuals may also report failure to educate in homeschool settings to the Connecticut Department of Children and Families. Connecticut’s neglect statute includes cases where children are “being denied proper care and attention . . . educationally.” See§ 46b-120. As a result, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families may investigate cases of educational neglect in homeschool settings.

For more on homeschooling in Connecticut, see our state brief.

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Delaware

Homeschools in Delaware are considered “nonpublic” schools and are under the jurisdiction of the Delaware Department of Education. Homeschools are required to submit annual enrollment and attendance reports, but there is no assessment requirement. See tit. 14 § 2703A, § 2704. Homeschools operating without filing the required enrollment and attendance reports may be reported to their local school districts.

Delaware’s neglect statute includes failure to provide “necessary care with regard to . . . education.” See tit. 10 § 901. As a result, failure to educate may be reported to Delaware’s Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families. Delaware’s homeschool law does not state what has to be taught, but the implication is that something has to be taught. In cases where families have filed the proper paperwork but a report has been made alleging failure to educate, it is up to the parents to demonstrate that education is taking place.

For more on homeschooling in Delaware, see our state brief.

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District of Columbia

The District of Columbia has a detailed homeschool statute that includes annual notice, parental qualifications, required subjects and hours of instruction, attendance records, and a portfolio requirement. However, as portfolios do not undergo regular review, it is up to concerned individuals to notice and report cases where homeschooled students are not receiving “thorough, regular instruction.” Parents who have not filled out the required paperwork may be reported to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).

Failure to educate in a homeschool setting should be reported to the Child and Family Services Agency. The District of Columbia’s neglect statute includes children who are “without proper … education as required by law.” See § 16-2301. As a result, failure to educate in homeschool settings falls under the jurisdiction of the Child and Family Services Agency, which may investigate reports to determine whether a family is following the requirements of the homeschool statute.

For more on homeschooling in the District of Columbia, see our state brief.

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Florida

  • Suspicions that a homeschool is not providing the education required by law should be reported to their local school district at the main contact number.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may be reported to Florida’s Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873.
  • Because Florida is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who “knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect is required by law to report it. See § 39.201. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Florida’s homeschool statute requires parents to provide notice of homeschooling and submit annual standardized test results or portfolio evaluations to their local school district. This process is designed to ensure that homeschooled students are making academic progress. Homeschool parents may also choose to enroll their children in a private school serving as a legal “umbrella.” School districts may ensure that a student is in fact enrolled in a legal private school and that the student has the required attendance records, but because the children are officially private school students school districts will not evaluate their academic progress.

Suspicions that a family is not either (a) following the legal requirements for homeschooling through the school district or (b) enrolling their children in a legal private school should be reported to their local school district.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Florida’s Department of Children and Families does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Florida, see our state brief.

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Georgia

Georgia law requires homeschooling parents to file an annual notice of intent with the Georgia Department of Education and requires parents to write annual progress reports and have their children tested every three years. However, the progress reports and standardized test results are not turned in to state or local education officials, and these officials do not have the authority to provide oversight of homeschooling.

Georgia’s Child Protective Services will investigate cases of neglect that involve “the failure to provide . . . education as required by law.” See §15-11-2 (48). Therefore, homeschooling families that are not providing the education required by law—which includes “a basic academic educational program” reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science—may be reported to that agency.

In addition, failure to comply with the state’s homeschool statute is a misdemeanor and may be prosecuted by a district attorney. See § 20-2-690.

For more on homeschooling in Georgia, see our state brief.

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Hawaii

Hawaii has a detailed homeschool statute that includes annual notice, required subjects, and periodic testing, and annual progress reports. This process is designed to ensure that homeschooled students are making adequate progress and requires local schools to intervene when a family does not provide the required education. See § 8-12-13 through § 8-12-22. Nevertheless, because parents are permitted to write their children’s annual progress reports and may oversee their children’s testing themselves, concerned individuals are should report suspicions of educational neglect to the principal of the child’s local public school. If a principal suspects that educational neglect is occurring in a homeschool, he or she is required by law to investigate. If, at the conclusion of the investigation, the principal believes educational neglect is occurring, he or she must submit an educational neglect petition to the Family Court.

Some families may homeschool under the radar, failing to comply with the requirements of the Hawaii’s homeschool law. These children are considered truant and should be reported to the principal of the local public school.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Hawaii’s Child Welfare Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Hawaii, see our state brief.

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Idaho

Idaho’s compulsory education statute requires that homeschooled students be “instructed in subjects commonly and usually taught in the public schools of the state of Idaho.” See § 33-202. Because Idaho law does not require parents to provide notice of homeschooling or have their children assessed, it is up to concerned individuals to notice and report homeschooling families who fail to provide the instruction required by law. These concerns may be reported in several ways.

First, reports of failure to educate in a homeschool setting may be investigated by the local school district as a violation of the compulsory education statute. When a child is determined to be truant (i.e. out of compliance with the compulsory education statute), the district board of trustees will notify the local prosecuting attorney, who may the case before the juvenile court. See § 33-207. Once before the juvenile court, the prosecuting attorney is “responsible for providing the evidence to support the allegations made in the petition.” See § 20-510.

Failure to educate in a homeschool setting may also be reported to the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare. Idaho law includes educational neglect in its definition of neglect, defining it as any instance where a child not attending a public, private, or charter school is “without proper education because of the failure to comply with” the compulsory education statute. Therefore, the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare may also respond to reports of failure to educate in homeschool settings. See § 16-1602.

Finally, concerned individuals may also contact the local police or an attorney. The police may send a truancy officer to investigate the situation, and a local attorney may be able to provide additional legal advice.

For more on homeschooling in Idaho, see our state brief.

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Illinois

Illinois has a minimal homeschool law that requires parents to provide their children with instruction in “the branches of education taught to children of corresponding age and grade” in public schools but does not require parents to report that they are homeschooling. It is therefore up to concerned individuals to notice and report homeschooling families who do not provide the required instruction. See § 5/26-1.

When a complaint is called in regarding an individual homeschool, the regional superintendent will investigate. Should the regional superintendent find sufficient evidence to justify further investigation, he or she will contact the state’s attorney of the county in which the homeschool is located. The state’s attorney may obtain a search warrant and visit the home to ascertain whether state requirements are being met. If needed, the state’s attorney will then bring charges.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Illinois’ Department of Child and Family Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Illinois, see our state brief.

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Indiana

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services via the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may also be reported to the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.
  • Because Indiana is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “reason to believe” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, including educational neglect, is required by law to report it. See § 31-33-5.

Indiana requires that homeschooled students (who are educated under the state’s private school law) be provided with “instruction equivalent” to that provided in the public schools. Because the state has no assessment mechanism for homeschooled students, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschooling families who do not provide the required instruction. See § 20.33.2.

Suspicions that a homeschool family is not providing the required instruction should be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services. Indiana code includes a parent’s failure “to supply [a] child with necessary…education” in its definition of neglect and thus places failure to educate in a homeschool setting under the jurisdiction of the Indiana Department of Child Services. This agency will investigate reports of failure to educate in homeschool settings to ensure that the required instruction is being provided. See § 31-34-1.

For more on homeschooling in Indiana, see our state brief.

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Iowa

Iowa offers several homeschooling options. Children homeschooled under the independent private instruction option, which is likely most common, must be provided with instruction in math, science, reading and language arts, and social studies. Because the state has no assessment mechanism for students homeschooled under this option, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschooling families who do not provide the required instruction. Parents may also homeschool under the competent private instruction option, either being supervised by a certified teacher or providing 148 days of instruction with optional notice and assessment. See §299.

Reports that a homeschooling family is not providing the required instruction will be investigated by the child’s district superintendent or by the district attendance office, if there is one. Children who are deemed truant are subject to a mediation process to ensure compliance with the law. Should the mediation process fail, the case will be referred to a county attorney for prosecution. If you have concerns about a homeschooling family, you may report your concerns to the superintendent’s office, the attendance office, or the county attorney.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Iowa’s Department of Human Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Iowa, see our state brief.

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Kansas

  • Concern that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to the county attorney of the county where the family resides. Suspicions may also be reported to the Kansas Department for Children and Families at 1-800-922-5330 or to the district superintendent, who will forward reports to the county attorney.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may be reported to the Kansas Department for Children and Families at 1-800-922-5330.
  • Some professionals are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Homeschooling takes place under Kansas’ private school law. Homeschools operating as private schools must register their homeschools with the State Board of Education and provide instruction for a period of time “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools. See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 72-1111(a)(2)In 1983, the Supreme Court of Kansas ruled that a homeschool that did not involve testing, planning, and scheduling did not qualify as a private school. In 1985, an attorney general opinion stated that these three factors should be used to determine whether a given homeschool qualifies as a private school should any question arise.

Because the state has no assessment mechanism for homeschooled students and because there is no state accountability for individuals homeschool operating as private schools, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschooling families who do not provide the instruction required by law. Such reports may be made to Kansas’ Department of Children and Families, the county attorney, or the district superintendent. See the following paragraph for more explanation. 

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 38-2202 includes children who are “not attending school as required by K.S.A. 72-977 or 72-1111” in its definition of “child in need of care.” This means that the Kansas Department for Children and Families will take reports of educational neglect and may initiate proceedings in cases where homeschools fail to meet the qualifications for private schools. However, it may also make sense to report the concerns straight to the county attorney, who can then investigate to ensure that the required instruction is being provided and, if necessary, prosecute the case. Educational neglect may also be reported to the child’s district superintendent, who will forward the case to the county attorney.

In some few cases, homeschools may operate as satellites of existing private schools. In this case, concerns may be reported to the supervising private school as well as to the agencies and individuals listed above.

 

For more on homeschooling in Kansas, see our state brief.

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Kentucky

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is failing to educate should be reported to the Director of People Personnel (DPP) of the child’s local school district.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may also be reported to Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services at 1-877-597-2331.
  • Because Kentucky is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “reasonable cause to believe” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, including educational neglect, is required by law to report it. See § 620.030. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Homeschooling in Kentucky takes place under the state’s private school law, which requires annual paperwork and sets requirements for record-keeping, hours of instruction, and subjects to be covered. Because the state has no assessment mechanism for homeschooled students, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschooling families who do not provide the required instruction. See §159.080.

Concerns about the education provided in a homeschool should be reported to the local school district’s Director of People Personnel (DPP), who has the authority to enforce the compulsory attendance statute. See §159.140. While you make make your report to the DPP directly, reports are also accepted by the local school principal, Kentucky’s Health and Family Services, and the homeschool liaison at the Division of Consolidated Plans and Audits, who may be contacted at (502) 564-3791.

Kentucky’s neglect statute includes educational neglect, which it defines as any situation where a parent does not provide a child with “adequate . . . education . . . for the child’s well-being.” As a result, parents who do not provide the required instruction may be investigated by Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services in conjunction with the DPP. See § 600.020.

For more on homeschooling in Kentucky, see our state brief.

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Louisiana

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family has not filed the required paperwork or is not providing the instruction required by law should be reported to the Office of Child Welfare and Attendance at the child’s local school district or to Louisiana’s Department of Children & Family Services at 1-855-452-5437.

Louisiana’s home study law requires parents to submit an annual application to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Parents are required to provide a required amount of instruction and have their children assessed each year. These assessments, which are collected and reviewed, must show “a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level.” Failing homeschools may find their application to homeschool denied. This process is designed to ensure that homeschooled students are making academic progress. Families who are not complying with this process may be considered truant and should be reported  to the Office of Child Welfare and Attendance at the child’s local school district.

Parents may also legally operate their homeschools as registered nonpublic schools. In this case, the parents report only their attendance to the Department of Education and operate for a required term of 180 days. Because the state has no assessment mechanism for these students, it is up to concerned individuals to report families who do not provide the required instruction. Families homeschooling under the private school law but failing to educate should be reported to the Office of Child Welfare and Attendance at the child’s local school district, which may investigate them for truancy.

State law includes failure to provide “adequate education” in its definition of criminal neglect, and specifies that this includes both private schools and homeschools (see here and here). As a result, educational neglect may also be reported to Louisiana’s Department of Children & Family Services at 1-855-452-5437.

For more on homeschooling in Louisiana, see our state brief.

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Maine

Parents who homeschool in Maine must notify the local superintendent, provide instruction in required subjects, and have their children assessed at the end of each year. However, there is no minimum score for assessments, and the parent is the one who determines whether a student is making progress. Homeschools operating as recognized private schools or as satellites of recognized private schools must notify the local superintendent and provide instruction in required subjects, but there is no assessment requirement. See Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 20-A § 5001-A.

If you suspect a homeschooling family of failing to educate or of operating without the knowledge of the school district, you may report them to the child’s local superintendent. Every school in Maine is required to have a truancy policy and a remediation process for dropout prevention. At some point in that process, the superintendent’s office may seek the involvement of the sheriff’s department or Maine’s Child and Family Services.

Because state law includes “deprivation of . . . education” in its definition of abuse and neglect, Maine’s Child and Family Services will accept reports of educational neglect, although it is the child’s superintendent who has jurisdiction. See Ann. Stat. Tit. 22, § 4002.

For more on homeschooling in Maine, see our state brief.

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Maryland

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to the local homeschool coordinator.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may be reported to Maryland’s Child Protective Services at your county office. For assistance in reporting, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
  • Because Maryland is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “reason to believe” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect is required by law to report it. See family law § 5-705.

Maryland’s homeschool statute includes annual notification, hours of instruction and subject requirements, and periodic portfolio evaluations. Homeschools which operate under the supervision of a church school or approved private school must receive curricular materials from the supervising school, and the supervising school must notify the local superintendent of the homeschooled children under its supervision. Further, church school officials must conduct annual site visits while approved private schools must assign each homeschool a supervising teacher. See Md. Code Ann., Educ. § 7-301(a) and Md. Regs. Code tit. 13A §§ 10.01.01 to .05.

Should the superintendent determine based on a portfolio review that a child being educated at home under the homeschool statute is not being educated as required by law, the child’s parents will be given 30 days after receipt of a written notice to to provide evidence “that the deficiency has been or is being corrected.” Should the superintendent determine that the plan to correct the deficiencies is insufficient, the child must be enrolled in school. This process is designed to ensure that homeschooled students are making academic progress.

If you suspect a homeschooling family of operating without the knowledge of the school system or failing to educate their children, you may report them to the local homeschool coordinator, who will pass the report to the county legal office. Noncompliant families may be prosecuted for truancy by a school attorney.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Maryland’s Child Protective Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Maryland, see our state brief.

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Massachusetts

While there are some statewide requirements, such as providing instruction equivalent to that provided in the public schools, homeschooling in Massachusetts takes place under the authority of local school districts, who designate a liaison for homeschooling families. Individual school districts may choose what bookkeeping or assessment requirements to impose on homeschoolers in their district. Concerns that a homeschooling family is in violation of the law or is operating without the knowledge of the local school district should be reported to school officials.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that the Massachusetts Department of Children and Familiesdoes not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Massachusetts, see our state brief.

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Michigan

Home schools in Michigan operate under either option [MCL 380.1561] 3(a) or 3(f)  Option 3(a) requires the family to file annual reports with the Michigan Department of Education (MDE). Students in these families may be eligible for certain auxiliary services through the local public school or intermediate school district. Option 3(f) families do not report to the MDE.

While both options require parents/guardians to provide instruction in a list of required subjects, neither option has an assessment mechanism. Parents/guardians do not report grades, transcripts, or diplomas to MDE. Concerned individuals may report failure to educate in a homeschool setting to the student’s local truancy officer. Unfortunately, given that the law does not require parents/guardians to submit any documentation or proof of educational progress, there is often little truancy officers can do.

Michigan Department of Human Services’ Children’s Protective Services intervenes in cases of educational neglect only if abuse or other forms of neglect are also present. To make a report, call 855-444-3911

For more on homeschooling in Michigan, see our state brief.

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Minnesota

Minnesota’s homeschool statute requires parents to provide annual notice to the local superintendent, offer instruction in mandated subjects, and have their children assessed annually via standardized test. However, the standardized test results need not be turned in to the superintendent, and there is no minimum score. See § 120A.24. It is therefore up to concerned individuals to notice and report homeschooling families who violate the law.

Suspicion that a homeschool family is not complying with the homeschool statute’s notification and testing requirement may be reported to the child’s local superintendent, who will investigate to ensure that a homeschool is in compliance with the law. Suspicions of educational neglect may be reported directly to county human services. Suspicions of educational neglect may also be reported to the child’s local superintendent, who is required by law to refer both noncompliance and suspected educational neglect to county human services.

Because Minnesota’s neglect statute includes cases of failure to ensure that the child is educated” in compliance with the state’s homeschool statute, county human services, the county-level offices of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is responsible for investigating reports of educational neglect in homeschool settings to ensure that the required instruction is being provided. See § 626.556.

For more on homeschooling in Minnesota, see our state brief.

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Mississippi

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to the Mississippi State Department of Health at 1-800-222-8000.
  • Concerns that include other forms of abuse or neglect should also be reported to the Mississippi State Department of Health at 1-800-222-8000.
  • Because Mississippi is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “reasonable cause to suspect” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, including educational neglect, is required by law to report it. See § 43-21-353. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Mississippi’s homeschool statute requires homeschooling parents to submit an annual certificate of enrollment to the local school district. See Mississippi Code Annotated § 37-13-91. Families who fail to submit this certificate are considered truant and may be reported to the truancy officer. However, there is no oversight to ensure that families who have submitted the required certificate are providing their children with an education.

Mississippi’s child neglect statute defines a neglected child as one whose parent or guardian “neglects or refuses, when able to do so, to provide . . . education as required by law.” See Ann. Code § 43-21-105. The Mississippi Department of Human Services takes reports of educational neglect in homeschool settings; how these reports are investigated may depend on the county supervisor. Concerned individuals should report educational neglect in a homeschool setting to the Department of Human Services child abuse and neglect hotline at 1-800-222-8000.

For more on homeschooling in Mississippi, see our state brief.

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Missouri

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling parent is not providing the education required by law may be reported to the Missouri Department of Social Services at 1-800-392-3738. If the report is screened in, officials will contact the Children’s Division office in the county where the family lives, and the county office will conduct the investigation.
  • Compulsory attendance violations (including failure to follow the state’s homeschool requirements) may also be lodged with the local school district. The attendance officer may pass the case on to the prosecuting attorney for further investigation.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect other than educational neglect may also be reported to the Missouri Department of Social Services at 1-800-392-3738.
  • Some professionals are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Missouri’s homeschool statute requires parents to provide at least 600 hours of instruction per year in reading, math, social studies, language arts, and science, and requires parents to maintain a portfolio of records and materials. Because homeschooling parents are not required to turn in test scores or proof that education is taking place, it is up to concerned individuals to report suspicions that an education is not taking place to the child’s local school district and to the Children’s Division of Missouri’s Department of Social Services.  

The definition of child neglect laid out in Missouri law includes “failure to provide…education as required by law,” which in the case of homeschooling includes 600 hours of instruction per year in a list of required subjects. The Missouri Department of Social Services will investigate reports of educational neglect to ensure that the required instruction is being provided. See Ann. Stat. § 210.110 and Missouri’s Child Welfare Manual.

If the Children’s Division determines that the only basis for action involves alleged violation of the compulsory attendance statute, Missouri law states that “the local office of the division shall send the report to the school district in which the child resides” and that “the school district shall immediately refer all private, parochial, parish or home school matters to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides.” This attorney has the authority to review the student’s records. See Ann. Stat. § 210.167.

Suspicions of educational neglect in a homeschool setting may also be reported to the local school district. School attendance officers are tasked with investigating violations of the compulsory attendance statute. According to Missouri law, the attendance officer must refer “all cases involving an alleged violation” of this statute “involving a private, parochial, parish or home school to the prosecuting attorney of the county wherein the child legally resides.” See Ann. Stat. § 167.071.

The prosecuting attorney has the authority to investigate the allegations and to review the student’s records. See Ann. Stat. § 167.031.

For more on homeschooling in Missouri, see our state brief.

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Montana

Montana’s homeschool statute requires parents to provide annual notice of homeschooling, offer instruction, and keep certain records. See § 20-5-102 and § 20-5-102. Homeschooled children must be educated in “the subjects, standards and benchmarks found in the accreditation rules” for public schools. However, since there is no assessment mechanism, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschooling families who violate the law to the child’s local superintendent for investigation. While the superintendent and county attorney may determine that a child is in fact truant, the penalties for truancy are very lenient and difficult to enforce.

Because the state’s definition of neglect includes cases where a parent or guardian “fails to supply . . . education . . . though financially able to do so or when offered financial or other reasonable means to do so, ” Montana’s Child & Family Services Division may also investigate reports of educational neglect if the child is between the ages of 7 and 15 and is not properly “enrolled” in a nonpublic or home school, or if the child is working full-time rather than being homeschooled. See § 41-3-102.

For more on homeschooling in Montana, see our state brief.

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Nebraska

Nebraska homeschools operate as private (or ‘exempt’) schools. While they are required to provide annual notification and provide instruction in a list of subjects, homeschooling parents are not required to show proof that education is taking place. See §79-201 through §79-210. Since there is no assessment mechanism, it is up to concerned individuals to report cases where homeschooling parents are not providing the required instruction.

Concern that a family has not submitted the required paperwork for homeschooling may be reported to the child’s school district. Notice of homeschooling is provided at the state level, but the Exempt School Program Office provides school districts with a list of registered homeschooled students in their attendance area. Students not in school and not on this list may be considered truant.

Concern that education is not taking place in a homeschool setting may be reported to Nebraska’s Division of Children & Family Services (DHHS) at 1-800-652-1999. DHHS will investigate to determine whether the family is in compliance with the instruction requirements in Nebraska’s homeschool law. Any juvenile “whose parent, guardian, or custodian neglects or refuses to provide proper or necessary … education” falls under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. See §43-247.

For more on homeschooling in Nebraska, see our state brief.

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Nevada

Nevada’s homeschool statute includes a one-time notice and subject requirements. Homeschooling families who fail to submit their notice are in violation of the law and may be reported to their local school superintendent, who will refer the matter to child services; however, the Division of Child and Family Services prefers that you contact them directly.

Families who have submitted their notice may not legally be investigated by the school district. There is no assessment mechanism, so it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschooling families who fail to teach the required subjects. These reports should be made to the Nevada Division of Child and Family Services, who will investigate and, if necessary, present evidence of educational neglect to the court and obtain a court order to administer services. The state’s definition of neglect includes cases where a child “lacks the … education … necessary for the well-being of the child because of the faults or habits of the person responsible for his or her welfare or because of that person’s neglect or refusal to provide care when able to do so.” See Rev. Stat. § 432B.140.

For more on homeschooling in Nevada, see our state brief.

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New Hampshire

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New Jersey

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New Mexico

New Mexico’s homeschool statute requires parents to file with the state superintendent within thirty days of beginning to homeschool and by August 1st each subsequent year. Children whose parents do not file as required are considered truant. Parents are required by law to provide 180 days of instruction in “a basic academic educational program” that includes reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. However, there is no assessment mechanism to ensure that this instruction is taking place. With no assessment mechanism, it is up to concerned individuals to report failure to educate in a homeschool setting.

New Mexico defines a neglected child as one “who is without … education … necessary for the child’s well-being.” As a result, New Mexico’s Children, Youth, and Families Department (CYFD) investigates reports of educational neglect to ensure that the required instruction is being provided. Suspicion that a homeschooled child is being deprived of an education or educated inadequately should be reported to CYFD at 1-855-333-7233. Local school districts will refer any educational neglect reports they receive to the CYFD.

For more on homeschooling in New Mexico, see our state brief.

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New York

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North Carolina

  • Suspicion that a parent has not registered their home school with the Department of Non-Public Education should be reported to the local school district.
  • Concerns about whether a home school is operating for the required school term or having their children tested as required by law should be reported to the Department of Non-Public Education using the agency’s Citizen Complaint Form. More information can be found here.
  • Concerns that include other forms of abuse or neglect should be reported to the local office of North Carolina’s Division of Social Services. For assistance in reporting, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.
  • Because North Carolina is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “cause to suspect” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect is required by law to report it. See § 7B-301. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

In North Carolina, a “home school” is defined as “a nonpublic school . . . where the parents or legal guardians . . . determine the scope and sequence of academic instruction . . .” Homeschooling takes place under the authority of the Department of Non-Public Education, which has developed a page on its website outlining its procedure for handling complaints and concerns regarding homeschools.

Parents are required to register their home school with the Department of Non-Public Education (DNPE) when first beginning to educate their children at home. If you suspect that a family claiming to homeschool has not registered with the DNPE, this concern should be reported to the local school district. Children whose parents have not registered their home schools with the DNPE are considered truant. Truancy falls under the jurisdiction of the local school district.

If the family has registered with the DNPE, that agency encourages concerned individuals to fill out and mail in a Citizen Complaint Form. Complaints may not be lodged during the months of June, July, and August, and may not be anonymous. The Citizen Complaint Form requires concerned parties to indicate which specific laws the home school they are lodging a complaint against has violated. These include:

  • Failure to register the home school with the NC Division of Non-Public Education
  • Failure to meet the home school legal definition of N.C.G.S. 115C-563(a)
  • Failure to operate on a regular schedule for at least nine calendar months each year
  • Failure to maintain student attendance records
  • Failure to maintain student immunization records or proper religious exemption statement
  • Failure to have administered annually (to each student enrolled) a nationally standardized achievement test
  • Failure to notify the NC Division of Non-Public Education when there are no students of compulsory attendance age enrolled in the school for more than three consecutive months

A copy of the complaint will be sent to the parent, who will then have ten days to fill out and return a Response to Complaint Form. If it appears, based on the complaint and response, that the home school has violated state statute, the DNPE will investigate further and may terminate the home school’s legal status and turn the case over to the local school district.

While state law requires home schools to operate “a regular schedule, excluding reasonable holidays and vacations, during at least nine calendar months of the year” and to have students tested annually by standardized test, it does not list any required subjects of instruction and does not require students to achieve a minimum test score. The DNPE does not require parents to show attendance records or evidence of having their children tested unless a complaint form is filed regarding their home school.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that North Carolina’s Division of Social Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in North Carolina, see our state brief.

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North Dakota

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Ohio

Ohio’s homeschool statute requires parents to file with the local superintendent at the beginning of each school year. Homeschooling parents are required to provide 900 hours of instruction in a list of required subjects and must submit evidence of the student’s academic progress to the superintendent when filing their paperwork for the next school year. If a student does not demonstrate reasonable proficiency, the superintendent may require the parents to create a remediation plan and, ultimately, require the child to attend school.

Ohio’s assessment requirement is designed to catch cases of educational neglect in homeschool settings, but this system only works if homeschooling families file with the superintendent as required by law. Some families may choose not to file, homeschooling “under the radar” to avoid the state’s assessment requirement. If a family fails to file with the superintendent, they are considered truant. Suspicion that a family has failed to turn in the required paperwork for homeschooling should be reported to the local school district.

While Ohio’s assessment requirement is set up to catch cases of educational neglect, there may be times when it is not sufficient to do so. Suspicion that a homeschooled child is receiving a deficient education should be reported Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services’ Office of Families and Children. Ohio statute defines a neglected child as one whose parent or guardian “refuses to provide proper or necessary … education.” The Office of Families and Children investigates cases of educational neglect in homeschool settings.

While this is comparatively rare, some homeschooling parents who have a bachelor’s degree may opt to operate their homeschools as “08 schools,” filing paperwork with the Ohio Department of Education and avoiding the oversight of the local school district. Suspicion of educational neglect in families homeschooling as “08 schools” should also be reported to Ohio’s Department of Job and Family Services’ Office of Families and Children.

For more on homeschooling in Ohio, see our state brief.

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Oklahoma

Oklahoma law requires homeschooling parents to provide 180 hours of instruction, which the attorney general has stated must be “in good faith” and “equivalent” to instruction provided in public schools. Since there is no assessment mechanism, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschools that are not in compliance with the law. The Oklahoma State Department of Education does not oversee homeschooling.

Educational neglect should be reported to Oklahoma’s Child Protective Services. The state’s definition of neglect includes failure to provide “appropriate education” and thus gives the agency the authority to intervene in homeschool settings if education is not taking place.

For more on homeschooling in Oklahoma, see our state brief.

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Oregon

  • Suspected educational neglect should be reported to the child’s school district and Education Service District (ESD).

Homeschooling parents are required register their children with their Education Service District (ESD) when they begin homeschooling. If you suspect that a child is being homeschooled but not educated, you should report this to the child’s school district and to their Education Service District (ESD), which will ensure that the parents are in compliance with Oregon’s homeschool law. Educational neglect reports regarding children with special needs may be made to the school district, which may be able to check whether the child has an IEP or has requested services.

Children who are being homeschooled in compliance with Oregon’s homeschool law are tested after grades 3, 5, 8, and 10; the Education Service Districts (ESDs) use the results of these tests to assess children’s process. Children who score above the 15th percentile are considered to be making adequate progress; when children score below this level, the ESD takes action to ensure that they show progress the following year.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect. However, Oregon’s Department of Human Services does investigate reports of educational neglect when the family in question is on public assistance.

For more on homeschooling in Oregon, see our state brief.

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Pennsylvania

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to school officials

Pennsylvania’s homeschool statute includes more oversight than most other states. Parents must file annual notice of homeschooling, provide required hours of instruction in a list of subjects, have their children evaluated by a certified teacher or other individual each year, and submit this evaluation to the local superintendent. However, there is no accountability for the individuals conducting the evaluations, and as a result, some evaluators may sign off on children’s portfolios even though educational neglect is occurring. 

If you suspect a homeschooling family of operating outside the knowledge of the school system, you should report this to the local school district. Children whose parents do not submit an annual notice of homeschooling are considered truant. 

If you suspect a homeschooling family of educationally neglecting their children, you should report this to the local school district as wellShould the superintendent have “a reasonable belief, at any time during the school year, that appropriate education may not be occurring in the home education program,” he or she is responsible for investigating and may call a hearing if needed.

See section (i) through (m) of the home education statute here

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Pennsylvania, see our state brief

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Rhode Island

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South Carolina

Most South Carolina homeschoolers operate as members of a homeschool association with fifty members or more, of which the largest is the South Carolina Association of Independent Home Schools. Members of these associations must have parental qualifications and follow hours of instruction and subject requirements. There are no assessment requirements. Parents who fail to follow the requirements may be reported to the governing homeschool association.

Some South Carolina homeschoolers operate with the approval of their local district’s board of trustees. They have parental qualifications, recordkeeping, hours of instruction and subject requirements, and an annual assessment mechanism with a remediation process.

If you suspect a homeschooling family of violating the law or operating outside the knowledge of the school system, you should report them to the district office of their local school district and ask to speak to the attendance supervisor, attendance coordinator, or whoever deals with truancy and attendance. This person has the authority to investigate and, if necessary, take the case to the legal system.

Because South Carolina’s definition of neglect includes instances where the parent or guardian “fails to supply the child with adequate … education as required by law,” South Carolina’s Department of Social Services may investigate reports of educational neglect to ensure that the required instruction is being provided. See Ann. Code § 63-7-20. For both parents homeschooling through associations and those homeschooling through the school district, reports of educational neglect may be made to the county DSS office, which will investigate and may refer the matter to external support agencies.

For more on homeschooling in South Carolina, see our state brief.

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South Dakota

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family has not filed homeschool paperwork with the local school district may be reported to local school officials.
  • Evidence that a child is not being educated may be submitted to the Office of the Secretary 605-773-5669; the Office of the Secretary has the authority to investigate and determine whether instruction is taking place.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect other than educational neglect may be reported to the South Dakota Department of Social Services at 877-244-0864.
  • Some professionals are required by law to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

South Dakota’s alternative instruction provision requires parents to submit an annual notice to the local school district; each school district maintains a record of these forms. Parents must provide instruction in language arts and mathematics and have their children tested in grades 4, 8, and 11. If a family claims to be homeschooling but has not submitted the required notification, their children may be reported to the local school district as tuant.

The school board has the authority to revoke the student’s excuse from compulsory attendance; this typically happens if the child’s test results fail to show satisfactory academic progress or upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Education. The Office of the Secretary has the authority to inspect a homeschool’s records when presented with “probable cause to believe the program is not in compliance” with requirements, and based on the results of their investigation may make a recommendation that the school board move to revoke. See Ann. Laws § 13-27-3.

While the state’s definition of neglect includes situations where a parent or guardian “fails or refuses to provide proper or necessary … education”, the Department of Social Services does not have the authority to recommend that the school district revoke a student’s excuse from compulsory attendance. We therefore recommend contacting DSS only if there are other concerns in addition to educational neglect. See Ann. Laws § 26-8A-2.

For more on homeschooling in South Dakota, see our state brief.

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Tennessee

  • Suspicions of educational neglect in a homeschool setting should be reported to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) at 1-877-237-0004.
  • Suspicions of educational neglect in a family homeschooling through a church-related “umbrella” school may be reported to the administration of the church-related school.
  • Concerns that include other forms of abuse or neglect should also be reported to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services at 1-877-237-0004.
  • Because Tennessee is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has knowledge that a child has been harmed by abuse or neglect or “reasonable cause to suspect” that a child pas been sexually abused is required by law to report it. See § 37-1-403 and § 37-1-605. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Because Tennessee has multiple homeschooling options, the process for reporting failure to educate in a homeschool setting can vary. However, Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) will investigate reports of educational neglect in a homeschool setting regardless of which homeschool option is used. If you have concerns, you may call DCS at 1-877-237-0004 to make a report.

Parents who homeschool through the school district must file with the school district at the beginning of each year and have their children tested after grades 5, 7, and 9. If a student is significantly behind grade level in reading, language arts, mathematics, or science, the parents will be required to design remedial coursework and/or have the child tested again the following year. If the student does not make progress, the director of schools may require him or her to attend school. While concerned individuals may contact local school officials about suspected educational neglect, they will likely be advised to contact DCS.

Many homeschool parents in Tennessee homeschool in association with or as satellite campuses of church-related schools. These parents register with a church-related school rather than with the school district, but homeschool like any other parent. Church-related schools vary in their approach to home educated students; some have minimal oversight while others require testing. In addition to contacting DCS, concerned individuals may also contact the church-related school, which may look into the education being provided.

A smaller number of homeschooling parents may educate their children at home through a distance learning program. These students receive curriculum and grades from the program in which they are enrolled. Suspected educational neglect in families using distance learning programs should be reported to DCS.

For more on homeschooling in Tennessee, see our state brief.

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Texas

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to the child’s local school district.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may be reported to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services at 1-800-252-5400.
  • Because Texas is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect” is required by law to report it. See family code § 261.101. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Texas homeschools operate as private schools. Apart from subject requirements, there are no legal requirements. If you suspect a family of failing to follow the subject requirements, you should report them to their local school district. Larger districts may have a designated truancy officer, while in smaller districts you may need to ask for the person who handles compulsory attendance and truancy issues. This person would have the authority to investigate violations of the homeschooling statute and bring charges if necessary.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect, meaning that Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Texas, see our state brief.

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Utah

  • Cases where parents claim to be homeschooling but have not submitted the affidavit required by law should be reported to the local school district.
  • Suspicion that a homeschooled child is being educationally neglected should be reported to Utah’s Child & Family Services at 1-855-323-3237.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect other than educational neglect should also be reported to Utah Child & Family Services at 1-855-323-3237.
  • Because Utah is a universal mandatory reporting state, every person who has “reason to believe” that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, including educational neglect, is required by law to report it. See § 62A-4a-403. For more information, see Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect.

In Utah, homeschool parents assume sole responsibility for their children’s education. The state’s education law does not require parents to educate their children. Prior to 2014, homeschool parents were required to provide instruction in the same subjects as public schools and for the same length of time as in public schools. However, this requirement was repealed. Local school boards are prohibited by law from requiring homeschool parents to maintain records, requiring homeschool parents to have credentials, inspecting homeschool facilities, or testing homeschool students. Homeschool parents are required by law only to submit a one-time affidavit; families that fail to submit this notice are considered truant and can be reported to their local school district. See 53A-11-102.

Under the juvenile court section of Utah’s code, “failure or refusal of a parent, guardian, or custodian to provide proper or necessary . . . education . . . or any other care necessary for the child’s health, safety, or well-being” is considered child neglect. However, the code goes on to specify that “the aspect of neglect relating to education” applies to cases where parents have violated the compulsory attendance code and failed to cooperate with the school district in resolving the problem. See 78A-6-105(27)(a,b). In other words, the juvenile court code is not set up to handle cases in which a homeschool family is meeting the extremely minimalistic requirements of the education code but not providing their children with an education. Educational neglect in a homeschooling family should be reported to Utah’s Child & Family Services nonetheless. The hotline number for making such a report 1-855-323-3237.

If a homeschooled child is being educationally neglected and Utah’s Child & Family Services declines to intervene, it may be possible for a relative or other concerned individual to speak with a lawyer about challenging the lack of protections for homeschooled children in court.  

For more on homeschooling in Utah, see our state brief.

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Vermont

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Virginia

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing an adequate education should be reported to the district superintendent.
  • Concerns that include abuse or neglect (other than failure to educate) may be reported to the Virginia Department of Social Services at 800-552-7096.

Virginia’s homeschool statute requires parents to file paperwork with their local school district by August 15th of each year. While the law does include a list of required subjects, it does require homeschooling parents to provide instruction “during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools.” At the end of each school year, parents must have their children’s academic progress assessed by either standardized test or portfolio review; the results of this assessment must be turned in to the school district by August 1st. If a student does not show “an adequate level of educational growth and progress,” the parents will be given a probationary year; if remediation requirements are not met, homeschooling will be discontinued after the probationary year.

If you suspect that education is not taking place in a homeschool setting, you should report your concerns to the district superintendent. While Virginia law requires academic assessments and includes probation for parents whose children are not making adequate academic progress, there are situations where children may still receive an inadequate education. For this reason, you should always report your concerns.

  • The parents may be homeschooling “under the grid,” neglecting to file paperwork with the school district. Children homeschooled “under the grid” are considered truant.
  • Some children may receive an inadequate education while meeting the technical requirements of the law. Students assessed by standardized test are required to score at at least the 24th percentile overall, but there are no requirements for individual subjects. Similarly, the standards of the certified teachers or other individuals who review portfolios of homeschooled students’ work may vary.
  • The parents may have obtained a religious exemption from compulsory education. Under the state’s religious exemption law, the school district provides no oversight and the parents are not legally required to educate their children. However, once they reach a certain age children are legally permitted to have a say in whether or not they are homeschooled under this exemption.
  • Some parents homeschooling in Virginia may operate under the state’s private tutor statute. While these parents are not required to submit evidence of their student’s progress, they are required by law to to provide instruction “during the period of each year the public schools are in session and for the same number of days and hours per day as the public schools.”

Virginia’s Department of Social Services does not investigate educational neglect and will not become involved unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also present.

For more on homeschooling in Virginia, see our state brief.

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Washington

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law should be reported to the local school district.

Washington’s homeschool statute includes annual notification, parental qualifications, hours of instruction and subject requirements, and annual assessments. Homeschooling parents are not required to submit their students’ annual assessments and there is no minimum score. Parents who follow the state’s laws regarding filing, bookkeeping, and completing (but not submitting) annual assessments are presumed to be providing instruction as required by law; the school district does not require any further proof that education is being provided. See RCW § 28A.200.020(2). Homeschools in Washington may also operate as satellites of umbrella schools, where they must follow hours of instruction and subject requirements and be supervised by a certified teacher

Because students’ annual assessments are not submitted or evaluated, it is up to concerned individuals to report situations where homeschooled students are not making adequate educational progress. If you suspect a homeschooling family of violating the state’s homeschool law by not providing the required instruction or of operating outside the knowledge of the school system, you should report them to their local school district. How the school district proceeds when receiving a report is up to the school district.

Failure to educate is not included in the state’s definition of neglect. As a result, Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services does not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also involved.

For more on homeschooling in Washington, see our state brief.

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West Virginia

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Wisconsin

  • Suspicions that a homeschooling family is not providing the education required by law may be reported to the local school district.

Wisconsin’s homeschool statute includes annual notification, hours of instruction, and subject requirements. Since there is no assessment mechanism, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschoolers who are not making adequate educational progress, or who are operating outside the knowledge of the school system.

Suspicion that education is not taking place in a homeschool setting may be reported to the student’s local school district. School officials may ask to meet with the family and may request proof that the family’s children are being educated. If the family has filed the required form and the district does not have proof that education is not taking place, there may be little the district can do. For this reason, it is important for concerned individuals to provide as much detail about their concerns as possible. 

Concerns may also be reported to Wisconsin’s Department of Children and Families at the county level, but this agency does not handle educational neglect and will not intervene in homeschool settings unless abuse or other forms of neglect are also present.  

For more on homeschooling in Wisconsin, see our state brief.

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Wyoming

Wyoming’s homeschool statute requires parents to submit an annual curriculum plan to their local school district and to provide a “sequentially progressive curriculum of fundamental instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, civics, history, literature and science.” However, there is no assessment mechanism to ensure that homeschooling parents provide the required instruction. As a result, it is up to concerned individuals to report homeschoolers who are not making adequate educational progress, or who are operating outside the knowledge of the school system.

If you suspect a homeschooling parent of failing to educate their children, you should report your concerns. If you call the local school district, the administration will be able to check their list to determine whether the parents submitted the required curriculum plan. If they did not, they will be considered truant and the administration will pass their information on to Wyoming’s Department of Family Services (DFS). Concerns of educational neglect in families that did submit the required curriculum plan will also be passed on to DFS. In addition to calling the local school district, you may call DFS to report your concerns directly.

Wyoming law defines neglect as “a failure or refusal by those responsible for the child’s welfare to provide adequate … education” and places the authority to investigate educational neglect in the hands of the Department of Family Services (DFS). As a result, suspected educational neglect in homeschool settings is investigated by DFS rather than by the local school district. When they receive a credible report, DFS will investigate reports of educational neglect to ensure that the required instruction is being provided. See Ann. Stat. § 14-3-202.

For more on homeschooling in Wyoming, see our state brief.

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This analysis does not constitute the giving of legal advice. This page is current as of August 2016.

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