Recommendations and Model Legislation: At-Risk Homeschooled Children

In the right settings, homeschooling can offer a positive and child-centered educational environment that encourages children to thrive and achieve. Such homeschooling should be encouraged. However, when abusive or neglectful parents homeschool, the consequences can be severe. In 47% of school-aged cases examined in a 2014 study of child torture the victim was removed from school to be homeschooled; this homeschooling allowed the parents to isolate the victim and corresponded with an escalation of abuse. 

Our Recommendations

In order to ensure that homeschooling is used only to educate children, and not to hide abuse, we recommend that lawmakers create the following provisions:

  • Background checks: Bar parents from homeschooling if they have committed a crime that would prevent them from teaching in a public school.
  • A flagging system: Bar parents from homeschooling if they or anyone in the household have previously had a founded abuse or neglect report.
  • Risk assessments: Conduct risk assessments when parents begin to homeschool after a recent child abuse report or concerning history of reports.
  • Mandatory reporter contact: Ensure that homeschooled children are seen by mandatory reporters via academic assessments, medical visits, or other means.
  • Medical care: Require homeschooled children to have the same medical visits required of children who attend public school.
  • Disability services: Require parents of children with disabilities to create annual services plans outlining the therapies and interventions their child will receive.

Proposals and Statutes

CRHE Testimony and Draft Legislation:
Child Fatality Task Force Reviews
Background check statutes:
Flagging system and risk assessments proposals:
Mandatory reporter contact statutes and proposals:
Medical care statute and proposal:
Disabilities services statutes:

Further Reading

For a full review of what states currently do to protect at-risk homeschooled children, and what lawmakers in some states have attempted, and further commentary on the state statutes listed above, see our at-risk children issue brief.

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