First things first, I want child services to be adequately funded. You have workers who are overworked and underpaid, well, you're gonna get what you pay for. They wouldn't make so many errors, in either direction, if they were properly funded. (And better checking for foster families as well.)
Secondly, I want better resources given to lower income families. A lot of times, what looks like abuse boils down to simply poverty. Removing children from the home because their parents can't afford to care for them is not just unjust, but damaging.
The sort of protections I want for kids in an ideal world won't do much if we don't tackle the funding issue first.
But, since you asked, I'd like to see that *all* children are required to see a doctor, dentist, and eye doctor yearly. This should be paid for by the state. (And I'd like to see no exemptions other than medical ones for vaccination requirements at schools, camps, and daycares.)
For homeschooled children in particular, I think it's reasonable for somebody to check that they've learned something (with reasonable accommodations for children with disabilities or illness). We can debate all day about what manner of assessment is best, and what standards are okay - but you should be able to show that your kid has at least learned SOMETHING over the school year. (And yes, I think that this rule should apply to kids in public, private, online, charter, parochial schools as well. There are a great many private schools which don't educate their kids at all. Here in NYC the big ongoing scandal is yeshivas that provide virtually no secular education, but this exists at all sorts of schools in all sorts of places. And I want public schools given the resources they need to educate THEIR kids as well.)
I also would support a rule that if a child services report was filed against the parents *prior* to withdrawing their kids, they should either not be allowed to homeschool or be subject to extra scrutiny until the case is closed. However, this wouldn't apply if it was filed after they withdrew their kids, because some people are vindictive like that. I would additionally, with some reservations, be okay with laws requiring that people convicted of certain forms of severe child abuse not be allowed to homeschool - period. (The details would have to be hammered out, and that's where my reservations come in.) And if the educators don't have a high school diploma or GED, I'm tentatively in favor of a higher level of *educational* scrutiny for their kids - though, again, the exact details would have to be worked out.
And on the carrot side of things, I think more free and low-cost extracurriculars should be provided that aren't connected to the schools, and that all students of at least middle school age and up should be able to take classes in the schools via dual enrollment, and also any extracurriculars that don't have a GPA minimum required - and that any area with a high enough population of homeschoolers ought to have some funding for a publicly run optional co-op.
But, again, until we value this sort of work as a society, enough to fund it, nothing much is going to come of this. Child services needs to have the funding to do its job - and it doesn't. The schools need to be funded to do their jobs - and they're really not. Assistance for lower-income families needs to be sufficient to actually help them - and it's just *not*.
Edited by Tanaqui, 20 January 2018 - 01:44 PM.