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Discussion in 'Homeschooling' started by lelanii5, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    Saturday I got a postcard for a cert letter, but the postman didnt knock on the door, and the post office was closed by the time we got the mail. The letter was addressed to my husband so only he could pick it up. He picked it up today and this is what it says:
    Crawford County Human Services (not even Childrens' Services like she told me)
    Mr and Mrs Aberts,
    I am writing to inform you that the law requires that your children be enrolled in some form of education setting. Failure to do so will result in a court petition being filed. I will be contacting the school district on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 to verify that your children have been enrolled in an educational setting. If by this date you have failed to register your children in an educational setting, a court petition will be filed and your children will be adjudicated dependent.
    The Juvenile Act of Pennsylvania defines a child is dependent if the child is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law. I would like to work with you to resolve this matter. I can be contacted at ***-***-****. I look forward to hearing you to rectify this situation.
    Sincerely,
    Mary ***** BSQ
    Intake Case Manager
     
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  3. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    1st post again-sorry

    Thank you so much!
    Okay, I am more of an eclectic homeschooler. But the past couple years, the kids, or the kids and I, were spending most of the school year out of state with family for their homeschooling. Coming back when we had appointments, or things to do here as family, or just down time. So, in trying not to state excuses, though legitimate, I forgot about, and then neglected, to follow thru with filling out papers and such for this school district here at our home. I received a letter 2 years ago, stating that I was NOT to send in any portfolios and accompanying paperwork, that they would contact me if they had any concerns about the kids' education. So, I haven't filed anything for almost 2 yrs. Wed. of this week, I found the HS Principal and the Elem Principal on my porch. I was literally trying to walk out my door for one dau's doctor appt, and could not be late. I tried to explain that I could not talk right now, had an appt, to call or send me a letter. He left his card in my door, where it fell to the floor and is still laying there. Later that day, the elementary principal called me and left a msg that they wanted to help in any way, to let them know what I was doing and we would go from there. I had tried to quickly explain while they were at the door (I did not answer the phone) that normally we were not even here during the school year, that the kids stayed with family out of state and were homeschooled there. Then he says, "So, you're telling me they have been truant since the beginning of school?" To which I said, No, that is not what I said. I don't have time for this, call if you have questions. And I slammed the door. Thursday, I was gone all day, and by the time I got the msg from the elementary principal, it was too late to call. Friday (this morning) woke up late-we were up late last night) to a knock on the door. This was a social worker from children's services, stating that she got a call with concerns about the kids' education, and needed to see proof of education and see the home. I told her no, and closed the door. She proceeded to bang on the door, then called our phone from her cell while standing on my porch and knocking on the door. My kids were tripping out, saying she was acting like a stalker. Finally, after about 15 minutes, she left a letter. "Our agency received a referral regarding your childrens education. we need to verify that they are receiving their education that is required by law. I am attempting to work with you in regards to this matter. If you are unwilling a court petition will be filed in orderto take of this matter."
    Written EXACTLY like that. So, panic-mode flips on, and I search for the PA laws again, that I haven't looked at in 4-5? years.
    The law states Superintendant. None of these people are the actual Superintendant. The title they have on the website is Building Principal. The law also stated that I have I think 15 or 20 days from the day the Superintendant feels there is a concern about the education. Also, I read somewhere, not sure if it was in the laws or on the PHEN site, that everything was to be in writing, mailed and certified. None of that was done, they waited 1-1.5 days, if they waited at all, to call Childrens' Svcs. Does CS even have *jurisdiction* yet, since nothing else was stated as a concern, and not done by the laws?
    I tried to get it all in, but ask away if you need more information, clearer details, etc. I know the only reason they even came by was because I have a 17 yr old dau in a Residential Treatment Facility near Pittsburgh, who they are trying to force me to bring back home around May, who told a social worker that she WILL NOT be homeschooled, therefore, I MUST put her in public school *when* she returns. This worker was supposed to talk to me last week, and has avoided me ever since I found out she talked to my dau only(with mental/behavioral probs) and had her sign papers (of what I dont know) and hasnt asked anything from me nor to verify anything that this dau had told her. I am trying to fight her coming home to be honest.
    Sorry for the lengthy post and scattered information. I am not a writer! LOL
     
  4. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    I don't think anyone here can help you, other than praying for your situation. You should probably call HSLDA, but am not even sure if they will help, since I would assume you're not a member. I've no idea what they can or cannot do in Pennsylvania.
     
  5. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    Well, yes they can get you for truancy. PA is on of the most rigid states to homeschool in, but as long as you follow the law, which isn't hard to navigate, then they can not ever tell you you aren't doing enough, and they can never tell you you can not homeschool your children... BUT!!!

    Ok.. the BUT!! It sounds to me like you never filed the required affidavit? Whether you feel the school told you not to or not, you should have, it is required by the state law! I have heard of districts who didn't want to see the portfolio at the end, only the evaluators letter, I have never heard of a district who didn't want anything.

    On top of filing the law required affidavit, you should have been keeping the portfolio that is required by law, doing your standardized testing and also having your annual evalutions. Whether or not you felt that the school district didn't want to see them. In a state with laws as strict as these it's imortant to cover your own behind.

    Now I will say that if you were registered in your district as a homeschooler, then the principals had no right at your doorstep and if you were registered (as in you sent in the notorized affidavit by the end of July like the law requires) then you would have 10 days from the arrival of a cert. letter from the super to provide a portfolio for each child, BUT it sounds to me as if you have been disregarding the law and homeschooling on the underground.... and really have been keeping your children truant from school.

    My only advice is to try to contact HSLDA, but I too don't know how much they will help you or if they will even help at all because you weren't in compliance with the state's homeschool laws.
     
  6. Emma's#1fan

    Emma's#1fan Active Member

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    I agree that you should contact HSLDA.
     
  7. LucyRicardo

    LucyRicardo Member

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    These web sites may be of some help to you. It seems what you have done, according to PA law is considered homeschooling underground, which is illegal. The first site gives some info. about underground homeschooling.

    The others cover some of PA's h/s laws.

    I would STRONGLY suggest you get some sort of legal counsel.


    http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/hs/homeschoollawalternatives.html#underground

    http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/hs/homeschoollaw.html

    http://home.comcast.net/~askpauline/hs/homeschoolaffidavit.html
     
  8. Lee

    Lee New Member

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    CALL HSLDA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    They do help people even if you are not a member. They take it case by case. I wish you the best of luck and will be praying for you.
     
  9. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    Yes I have. Normally the children went to family out of state and they applied the homeschooling with my lessons and plans I sent. They filed the necessary stuff where they were, which is out of the commonwealth, and it was done. The kids could come back as they wanted, when we had family stuff and things going on here. All summer last year my oldest dau was in and out of psych hospitals, and essentially on lockdown while at home, for her safety and the safety of my other 3 and the animals. By the time things came to a head in late July, Aug and early September, I truly had no concept of time or anything more important than her situation. In the time since, with all the traveling and time of having meetings, therapy, etc, I had every intention of getting them back to the family. The kids also have to be involved with her counseling and therapy as well. I know that is my fault. These were the excuses I didnt want to say. They may sound lame, but unless you are me in the same situation, you can't say. None of those excuse noncompliance with the law.
    But, I guess I was just questioning whether the Human Services has the right to step in when I never received any mailed notices from the Superintendent, just a surprise visit from a High School Principal and an Elementary Principle. When she made it clear the first time it was only because of a question of appropriate education. The new letter now talks about any enrollment.
     
  10. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    They do? I looked up how to be a member, tonights webinar was EXACTLY about questions I have, but I cannot do the fees. I only subscribed to the newsletter for years for the same reason, then I let that go as well. I just assumed a phone consult would be no unless you were a member as well. I guess the worst thing they could do to me is say they wouldnt talk to me, LOL.
     
  11. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    In response to your question of whether or not CPS has the right to step in, in this case yes, because you didn't file the affidavit.

    Also, even if you had, it sounds to me like you may have been out of compliance because you were not instructing them, and you hadn't filed under the private tutor laws of the state.
     
  12. Actressdancer

    Actressdancer New Member

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    Really? Even if they were out of state (meaning none of PA's business how they were being educated)? Interesting.
     
  13. OpenMinded

    OpenMinded Member

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    Okay, if I am right you are saying that your children were filed as homeschoolers in another state with relatives? You have to file by your state laws whether the children are in that state or not. You are a resident of that state. My children spent several months in another state with my family but they were registered home school in our state of residence.
    The first thing I would do is to quit putting them off. You have to have time to deal with this or you will be in serious trouble. Yes, social services can come if you are not registered at all. The children are considered truant if you are not registered as home school or registered in the public school system.
    In their eyes, you have blown them off. First, register...send in the affadavit certified mail asap. If you have evidence your children were registered in another state or place as a home school student under another relative, then get it and show it to them.
    I would also call a lawyer.
     
  14. OpenMinded

    OpenMinded Member

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    Unless they were put under guardianship of the relatives in the other state, then they are still required to fall under the laws of the state their parents reside. I can send my kids to my mom's for months at a time, but that doesn't mean that I am not their guardian and that I am not responsible for them legally.
    Legally, you have to file by the laws of the state you reside in no matter where you may be schooling (on the road, in another state, in another country...) Some states do not allow anyone but the parent to home school. It sounds as if this person was terribly confused about what was legal and what she needed to file.
     
  15. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    EXACTLY.

    In PA the law is that the parent or gaurdian is the supervisor of the homeschool program... which is pretty open ended for the district to interperet (along with many other parts of our laws). Most districts expect that the parent/LEGAL gaurdian is the person providing the instruction, unless you file under the private tutor laws.. which is a whole different ball game.
     
  16. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    I just want to add.. in a state that has rigid laws, and even states that don't it's really important to keep the laws fresh in your mind, and make sure nothing has changed from year to year. You should read over your homeschool laws at least once a year, and make sure you completely understand it.
     
  17. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    I never said I was not instructing them. I neglected to file the paperwork is all.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  18. crazymama

    crazymama Active Member

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    but the paperwork is what makes you a homeschool in our state, without it you are truant.

    The fact that they may have been following laws of some other state means nothing, your home address is here in PA, you HAVE to comply with our laws or you are considered homeschooling illeagally.

    I would really try to come to a peaceful arrangement with the local district and authorities, or they really could take your kids for neglect because in their eyes you were not providing an education... I know you are going to argue that you were, but you were not a legal homeschool so therefore in the eyes of the state you were not.
     
  19. OpenMinded

    OpenMinded Member

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    It sounds as if you have had a lot on your plate and your family has been through a lot lately. I would file the affidavit certified mail today and call the social worker as well as the school principals and explain that you have been under stress and that you didn't realize you were in noncompliance.
    If you show them the certified mail receipt for the affidavit, then it is a gesture of good faith.
     
  20. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    So, none of this applies:?

    (h) Such documentation required by subsection (e)(1) and (2) shall be provided to the public school district of residence superintendent at the conclusion of each public school year. In addition, if the superintendent has a reasonable belief that, at any time during the school year, appropriate education may not be occurring in the home education program, he may, by certified mail, return receipt requested, require documentation pertaining to the portfolio of records and materials required by subsection (e)(1) to be submitted to the district within fifteen (15) days; and documentation pertaining to subsection (e)(2) to be submitted to the district within thirty (30) days. If the tests required in subsection (e)(1) have not been administered at the time of the receipt of the certified letter by the supervisor, the supervisor shall submit the other required documentation and shall submit the test results with the documentation at the conclusion of the school year.
    (i) If the superintendent of the public school district determines, based on the documentation provided, at the end of or during the school year, that appropriate education is not taking place for the child in the home education program, the superintendent shall send a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the supervisor of the home education program stating that in his opinion appropriate education is not taking place for the child in the home education program and shall return all documentation, specifying what aspect or aspects of the documentation are inadequate.
    (j) Upon receipt of the certified letter required by subsection (i), the supervisor of the home education program shall have twenty (20) days to submit additional documentation demonstrating that appropriate education is taking place for the child in the home education program. If documentation is not submitted within that time, the home education program for the child shall be out of compliance with the requirements of this section and section 1327, and the student shall be promptly enrolled in the public school district of residence or a nonpublic school or a licensed private academic school./B]

    Along with the fact that, both principals came concerning adequate education, AND the case worker stating a referral of concern of the children's education, and both stating truancy, then the same day a letter is sent out that the case worker will file a petition to claim the children as *dependent* according to the Juvenile Act of PA, which essentially is threatening to remove them from the home, instead of a truancy petition/hearing?

    I thank everyone so much for everything :D and I am going to contact an attorney and go from there. :D So appreciative and blessings to all! :D
     
  21. lelanii5

    lelanii5 New Member

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    Yes, lol, more than I ever thought we could, and things I never dreamed of! LOL. OKay, I was worried how I was to send anything cert. mail when her threat is for tomorrow, who knows what time of the day, when receiving the letter last night. Never could get there within that time frame. :D
     

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