Educational Neglect

March 16, 2020

Individuals caring for children can face an investigation by the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP) under a wide variety of circumstances. Allegations of educational neglect is one basis for the DCPP to become involved in a family situation. Understanding when and how educational neglect can occur is an important part in defending these claims.

Failure to Provide Basic Schooling

Under the New Jersey Compulsory Education Law, all children between the ages of six and 16 must receive academic instruction through a public school program, a private day or residential school program, or by home instruction deemed equivalent to the instruction provided through a public school district. Unlike intentional child abuse, neglect can occur accidently.

Educational neglect is often found in situations where a child is frequently allowed to miss school or be delinquent, has not been enrolled in school by the mandatory age, or the parent has failed to obtain or allow a child to receive recommended educational services for a diagnosed learning disorder.

Defense to Educational Neglect Allegations

Individuals may not face liability for a student’s deliberate truancy if they can prove the child is willfully refusing to attend school despite the parent or custodian’s taking reasonable steps to assure the child’s attendance. Homeschooling parents can defend against claims of educational neglect by proving compliance with state laws, which may require notification, proof of parent qualification, records of days of instruction, and details about assessment requirements.

If found guilty of educational neglect, the accused face serious legal consequences, including loss of child custody, reduction or loss of child visitation rights, and other criminal penalties. For this reason, individuals who have been charged with or are under investigation for educational neglect should immediately contact an experienced DCPP lawyer to ensure their legal rights are protected.

Investigating Claims of Educational Neglect

Concerned citizens or mandatory reporters can file a report with the DCPP on a suspicion of educational neglect. Reports will be screened to determine if the reporter believes the child is missing school due to parental fault and if the local school system or board of education has followed its established protocol in working with the parent to compel the child to attend school.

In investigating claims of educational neglect, the DCPP will seek information related to the child’s school enrollment, school attendance, academic instruction, and diagnosed disabilities. Investigators often will conduct interviews with the child and the parents or guardians to ascertain if the child’s educational needs are being properly met. The DCPP must obtain the proper releases of school records or otherwise seek to obtain evidence without prior parental or guardian consent using a subpoena or other type of court authorization.

New Jersey DYFS Attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Protect the Rights of Individuals Facing Allegations of Educational Neglect

If you are facing DCPP allegations of educational neglect, you are not alone. The experienced New Jersey DYFS Attorneys at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker proudly protect the rights of parents and guardians during DCPP investigations. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve families throughout South Jersey, including those in Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees. To schedule a confidential consultation, call us today at 856-795-9400 or contact us online.

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