Child Protective Services Dropped By

It’s one of those things that you read happening to other people but I’ll be honest; I was very surprised it happened to us. Yesterday when we came back from the grocery store, there was a Child Protective Services worker outside our door. 

We’re still in flux and Jack and Olivia weren’t registered as home scholars yet. Lauren registered them on the computer while the CPS lady was here but that apparently wasn’t enough. Even after answering all her questions and letting her talk to Olivia, the CPS lady wasn’t happy because we didn’t have ‘school papers’ to prove the kids were working at their ‘grade level.’ When we tried to show her the kid’s work on the computer, she refused to look at it and said we could have faked it.

The CPS worker actually came back a second time later in the afternoon with two police officers and told us – in front of the kids – that the district attorney might decide to file criminal charges against us. The police didn’t seem to know why they were there.

Despite the drama, so far nothing had happened and from my reading of the law, nothing really can happen because we’re now in compliance. New Mexico doesn’t have any requirement for papers. They certainly don’t have a requirement about kids working at their grade level or the jails would be full of public school teachers.

So now we have one of those “Boy, are Child Protective Services workers stupid and stubborn’ stories. I really worry about the safety of children who NEED to be protected.

More later on this.


  1. Sorry for the double post:
    I was a teacher for 35 years and I know a little bit about home schooling… which is an excellent approach if done well.

    You need to have hard copies of the grade’s curriculum and you need to have more than work on a computer. There should be samples of current written work in math, writing, literature, reading, social studies, science, and the arts. You should have folders with this work in all the subject areas. And you should have assessment folders with activities and work to show evaluation with progress. And there should be a file of timesheets to show records of instruction which can include dates of visits to exhibits in museums or learning centers. The education should be age specific with remediation if necessary or include enrichment if desired. And the learning materials used should be available for showing. Your written “plans” and the “aim” of the lessons should be available, too. You can look at the educational state standards which can serve as a guide.

    Home schooling is not education at whim all based on the creative potential and interests of the student. The basics have to be covered in some learning model that can be demonstrated and defined.
    For instance… is reading taught with a basal reader or with a library where books are visibly grouped in a leveled library according to genre? Is there a program of phonemic awareness? Is reading skills taught: to search for details in a story or to find the main idea. Is math taught through applications or with strategies in word problems. Are learning centers visible?

    Home schooling is an excellent approach, but instruction has to be well documented in record keeping.

    So take my advice or don’t… Home schooling is an ambitious task.

  2. Oh, one more thing: re: “They certainly don’t have a requirement about kids working at their grade level or the jails would be full of public school teachers.”

    I failed science when I was in the ninth grade. I did not pay attention in class, I did not study the material, and I did not do the homework assignments designed to reinforce the material. The student sitting next to me got all As on her tests. It was not my parents’ fault because my sister was an excellent student and education was valued in our home.

    It was all my fault that I was not working at grade level. I preferred to spend my nights not learning science (or anything) but watching Route 66, Ben Casey, and 77 Sunset Strip, etc. … and afternoons staring at American Bandstand. I was only interested in Bob and Justine.

    I don’t understand the logic regarding teacher accountability since I was totally consummed with educational apathy.

  3. You’re the reason why I do my blog…no one expects it to happen to them and I try to raise awareness of what to do and what NOT to do if CPS comes knocking at your door. You MUST assert your constitutional rights from the very beginning. You do NOT have to let them in without a warrant and you are certainly under no obligation to answer any of their questions. Please do not assume that just because you haven’t heard back that you won’t. Please visit my blog and contact me at BEFORE they come back. You could be in danger of losing your children. Trust me, countless families have lost their children to CPS for this very reason and once they’re in the system, it’s almost impossible to get them back. I am not trying to scare you but rather to enlighten you and empower you. Please contact me ASAP. You have to know your rights.

  4. As usual, I am commenting in a vacuum… but that’s OK. If anything I post helps, I am happy… because once a teacher, etc. etc.

    I gathered you reside in New Mexico. In any event, here is a link to the New Mexico Public Education Department:
    On the right is a link to: New Mexico Content Standards Benchmarks & Performance Standards.

    It is always a good idea when home schooling not to “wing” the curriculum in lessons. So, if you basically try (in your instruction) to follow those guidelines in the standards and keep records in paperwork… you should be well-covered in terms of any inspection or evaluation from TPTB.

    I am all for home schooling. It is individualized and very creative education based on the educational profile and needs and interests of the student. I admire your ambition.

    • Marjorie,

      Thanks for all the comments.

      There’s no law in New Mexico at all about curriculum. That link you posted doesn’t apply to homeschoolers at all.

      The only requirements are 1) at least one of the parent / teachers has a high school diploma or GED, 2) immunization records / waivers are kept.

      That’s it. The end. Parents are allowed to teach their kids in any way they see fit legally.

      We have no educational structure at all, really. Completely legal and it works fine.

  5. OK, great. I think home schooling is more structured and monitored quite closely here in NYC. “Educational neglect” is a big issue here.

    I think children who are home schooled can receive very creative and imaginative educations. The parent has all of his/her time to be dedicated to the process.

    I am happy this works.

  6. I’ve been wondering how this is going. I’m guessing you’ve heard nothing more from CPS or the state, and you probably won’t for another few months until this caseworker is really bored again.

    Still, that would shake me up. A lot. Hope you’re all feeling back to normal.

  7. Mr. Stranahan, you’re very lucky that you have some clout and influence. If you were poor, out of work, and in a smaller hotel, you’d still be fighting to get your children from foster care where their safety is NEVER guaranteed. If you can, you should do an expose film and really show the experiences of poor Americans who don’t fit the middle class mold that child “protective” services thinks that we all must look like in this country. It’s worse than puppy mills and no one seems to get it. It’s a billion dollar industry in baby selling. The family is under attack and you experienced a mild salvo, and because of your position you won. So many thousands of others have not. This could have been your nudge to dig a little deeper and expose the destruction of the American family in film!

  8. I am a homeschooler of 3 boys, and 1 now in college. I have as of today ha CPS called on me 2 times. The 2nd happening just today, their main problem is that my boys are home-schooled. The first time they told me if I would put my boys back in public school they would be gone. I HAVE NOT backed down, nor will I, all that these “investigations” make me do is stand firmer in my belief that my boys are getting a wonderful education. My children have been the subjects of bullying, physical attacks, and verbal abuse. I know that homeschooling is the BEST decision I have ever made. CPS in WA st has stated that they do not believe in or condone homeschooling. This is our right and everyone, homeschooling or not, needs to support an individual right to be educated that works best for them. Stand strong and support your children. I can say when CPS involves themselves in family ideas they just further the education of our kids into laws bureaucracy and life. Give your kids and self the power to stand up for what is YOUR RIGHT!


Leave a Reply