Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, May 14, 2012

Give NJ DYFS An "F"


The New Jersey Divison of Youth and Family Services, hard on the recent report of a N.J. parent questioning the secrecy portion of his eight year-old twins’ exam, is pressing the N.J. Assembly to pass a bill that would give DYFS broad powers in preventing New Jersey families from homeschooling.  Without this option, thousands of children would be exposed to the dogmatic inculcation of our progressive school system.

The alert comes from the Home School Legal Defense Association. (http://www.hslda.org/elert/archive/2012/05/20120511172421.asp)

In their e-alert, the HSLDA writes:

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

A new bill is rushing through the New Jersey Assembly that would give
the Division of Youth and Family Services breathtakingly broad power
to prevent hundreds or even thousands of families from homeschooling.

The bill, A 2881, was filed only yesterday but is being rushed to a
hearing on Monday. We need to respond quickly, as well!

The bill prohibits a child from being homeschooled unless DYFS gives
permission if the child is in the “care, custody or supervision” of
DYFS. But many children get entangled with DYFS for reasons totally
unrelated to education. And the bill gives DYFS “blank check” power to
prohibit homeschooling for any reason or no reason at all!

DYFS has a history of making poor decisions about children in their
care. They should not be given blank-check authority to make
educational decisions about home schooled children.

Consider these situations which have nothing to do with education but
which might lead to a child coming under DYFS supervision:

--a child gets in a fight at the local park, and a judge gives DYFS
supervision of the child;
--a baby gets sick and a judge decides the family waited too long to
go to the emergency room, and places all the family’s other kids under
DYFS supervision;
--a family is remodeling and the house is so messy that a judge gives
DYFS supervision of the kids;
--a family with 6 biological children adopts a 10-year old orphan from
Russia who starts makes up bizarre stories about maltreatment, and a
judge gives DYFS supervision over all kids as a result.

We have asked the bill’s sponsor, Pamela Lampitt, to postpone the
hearing so homeschool representatives can meet with her to discuss
whether a narrow, more targeted bill can be drafted that would address
legitimate needs without hammering parents whose homeschool program is
not even in question. She has not responded, so we must take action.

Requested Action

1. Please attend the hearing Monday morning at 10 a.m. in Committee
Room 16, 4th Floor, State House Annex, Trenton, N.J.  Consider what you
might tell the committee if you have an opportunity, but even if you
do not speak, your presence will speak loudly. We need a big crowd to
stop this bill!

2. Were your kids ever under DYFS supervision for reasons totally
unrelated to education? I would like to hear your story! Please email
your story to me at scottw@hslda.org.

Background

This bill is probably unnecessary. If a judge ever actually takes
jurisdiction of a child, which usually happens in serious cases, the
judge probably already has the power to make decisions about the
child's education.

This bill may make people afraid to accept services from DYFS.

The bill provides no definition of “care, custody or supervision,” so
we don't even know for sure what situations would cause a family to
come under DYFS' power to prohibit homeschooling. Nor does the bill
define "homeschool." This could allow a judge power to define
homeschooling in a way that threatens the freedom of families.

The bill gives the Department of Education power to create regulations
to carry out the bill’s provisions. Regulations are created by the
will of bureaucrats, not by a democratic process. Because of this, they
can be hostile to the rights of individuals.

The bill’s language starts by saying “notwithstanding any provision of
law to the contrary, ...” This means that all other state laws must
give way to this new bill. Every other right you have under state law
will be below – [subservient] – to this bill.

The New Jersey Home School Task Force is united in opposing this bill.

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Sincerely,

Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel



Even if you don’t homeschool your children – even if (like my mother), you wouldn’t want to – this is still an important freedom that is under fire.  As private schools are under increasing state regulation and expensive, homeschooling is the only viable alternative for parents concerned about their children’s education.

Call your assemblyperson and ask them to give this bill a failing grade.

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