Last October, sixteen-year-old Natalie Finn of West Des Moines, Iowa, died of starvation and severe abuse at the hands of her parents, who homeschooled her to conceal her abuse. After meeting with officials from Iowa’s Department of Human Services about Natalie’s death, which occurred in his district, Iowa State Senator Matt McCoy expressed a desire to prevent future such tragedies through legislative change.
In January, Sen. McCoy introduced SF 138, which would require quarterly well-checks for homeschooled children. Scott A. Woodruff, a Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) attorney, subsequently wrote a letter on behalf of HSLDA opposing this legislation.
In his letter, Woodruff misrepresents the findings of the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (CECANF), which released its findings early last year, and leaves out information pertinent to the wellbeing of homeschooled children.
We fully intend to hold HSLDA to Woodruff’s professed support for monitoring children with past abuse and neglect reports. The next time legislation is introduced to create a flagging system to catch cases where children are withdrawn from school to be homeschooled after a concerning history of child abuse and neglect reports, we expect HSLDA to support it.
We have responded to Woodruff’s letter in full here.