Concerns About Children Falling Through The Cracks

CONCERN

State oversight of home education will help keep children from falling through the cracks.

REALITY

State oversight of home education:
  • Doesn't reach the children who are most at risk
  • Is ineffective to identify or prevent child abuse or neglect
  • Limits the private education choices of 20,000 Oregon homeschoolers
  • Wastes public education dollars

WHO IS AT RISK?
Students who home educate in Oregon are required to take a standardized test at the end of grades 3, 5, 8 and 10, and to submit the scores to the ESD upon request. By the end of 3rd grade (the first time that the state "checks up" on home educated students), the students are 8 to 9 years old.In Oregon, nearly two-thirds (62%) of the victims of child abuse and neglect in 2002 were younger than 8 years old. The rate of child and abuse and neglect is nearly twice as high for young children (below the age of 8) than for children aged 8 to 15.



Age Total population # of victims Rate % of Total Victims
0-7 462,734 6,044 1.6% 62%
8-15 391,854 3,184 0.8% 35%
16-17 98,508 283 0.3% 3%

Child abuse and neglect happens twice as often to children below the age of state oversight of home educated students than to children subject to state oversight.

IDENTIFYING AND PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT
A 1997 national survey found that students who home educate participate, on average, in 5.2 activities outside the home, with 98% involved in two or more activities. Activities ranging from Scouts, dance class, and 4-H to sports, field trips, and volunteer work demonstrate that home educated students interact with people of all ages, from all sorts of backgrounds, and in all types of social settings.The most recent statistics on child abuse and neglect reports show that:

  • 83% of reports of child abuse and neglect come from community and professional sources other than educators and childcare providers
  • 43.6% come from nonprofessional sources (relatives, friends, neighbors, community groups and anonymous sources)
  • 39.4% come from professional sources (law enforcement, social services, medical andmental health professionals)

The overwhelming majority of reports of child abuse and neglect come from sources outside the education community.

Of the reports of child abuse and child neglect made by professionals, reports from educators, foster parents and childcare providers were most likely to be found to be unsubstantiated. Reports from these sources were found to be unsubstantiated at the same rate as reports from nonprofessional sources (family members, relatives, friends,community members, etc.).



Source of report % Reports Found to be Unsubstantiated % Reports Found to be Substantiated
Child Daycare Providers 68% 22%
Foster Care Providers 66% 23%
Educational Personnel 65% 23%
Social Services Personnel 60% 30%
Mental Health Personnel 59% 24%
Medical Personnel 54% 34%
Legal, Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice Personnel 44% 43%


The majority of home educated students probably interact, on average, with more adults on a monthly basis than children in school settings.

There are at least as many opportunities for child abuse or child neglect to be identified for children educated at home as there are for children in school, without the need for state monitoring. Please let home educating parents do what they do best : provide the best possible private education for their children's specific needs.

SOURCES