Following a productive meeting and correspondence with Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) Commissioner Henry Whitman, Jr., THSC was able to prevent CPS from overstepping its authority.
Not long ago, THSC was contacted by an Odessa homeschool parent who had been told by a CPS caseworker that she and her husband must stop homeschooling and enroll their child in public school. The child’s father began gathering his daughter’s personal records, while Mom placed a call to THSC.
THSC immediately reached out to Commissioner Whitman in order to relay the details of the situation. Commissioner Whitman quickly responded thanking THSC for bringing the issue to his attention. Furthermore, he informed THSC that the investigating caseworker’s supervisor learned of the caseworker’s actions and informed the caseworker that DFPS had no oversight or authority over homeschools in Texas.
Additionally, Commissioner Whitman reiterated that he had directed his staff to update Statewide Intake (SWI) policy 4491 with the new language that THSC negotiated earlier this year:
Reports involving the abuse or neglect of home-schooled children are assessed based on the same criteria and intake guidelines as any other CPS report. That parents choose to homeschool their child or send their child to another private or public school does not constitute abuse or neglect. Homeschools are not subject to inspection, monitoring, or regulation by the Texas Education Agency or by local school districts.
Commissioner Whitman also stated that the associate commissioner of CPS would discuss policy related to this specific issue and that they would resend all relevant policies regarding homeschooling to CPS staff.
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