Reporting Educational Neglect

Note: This page has been replaced. See How to Report Educational Neglect in Homeschool Settings in Each State for the most up to date information. 

Reporting a homeschool family for educational neglect should not be done lightly. Please read our Recognizing a Problem page when considering whether your concerns merit reporting. However, if you have reasonable cause to suspect that educational neglect is occurring, please report it. You may make a positive impact in a child’s life by doing so.

We recommend you start by looking at your state’s legal requirements for homeschooling (for a look at each individual state, see Current Law). Some states have an assessment requirement designed to ensure that homeschooled children make adequate educational progress commensurate with their abilities, but most states either have no such requirement or do not require assessments to be turned in or evaluated. Many states rely on concerned friends, neighbors, or relatives contacting social services, the local school district, or the state department of education about homeschooling families who are not providing the required instruction. This makes it all the more important that concerned individuals take action.

Some parents may homeschool “under the radar” in an effort to avoid state requirements. These children are technically truant. Failure to comply with legal notification or assessment requirements should be reported to the child’s local school district (which can be found here) or the state department of education (which can be found here).

Concerns about the quality of a homeschooled child’s education may be reported to the child’s local school district or to social services, depending on the state. According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, twenty-four states have neglect statutes that include educational neglect. These states are Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The language of these statutes varies. See Educational Neglect Statutes. The remaining states use different terms as they go about enforcing their compulsory attendance laws.

In states with educational neglect statutes, failure to educate may be reported to social services. For information on how to report, see the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s State Child Abuse Reporting Numbers page. For the text of these states statutes, see Educational Neglect Statutes.In any state, including those with educational neglect statutes, homeschooled students who are not making academic progress may also be reported to local, regional, or state education officials. To report concerns, please contact the child’s local school district (which can be found here) or the state department of education (which can be found here). For more information on each state’s homeschool law, see Current Law.

Thank you for being there for children who need an advocate.

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