Your child’s a no-show at virtual school? You may get a call from the state’s foster care agency

Like many mothers during the pandemic, Em Quiles struggled to work full time while overseeing her young son’s schooling, the 7-year-old largely supervised by his teenage brother, who had his own school work to do.

Throughout April and May, Quiles said she told staff at Heard Street Discovery Academy in Worcester that her work schedule made it tough to assist with virtual schooling and she struggled to navigate the school’s online platforms. “They didn’t offer any help,” she added.

Then in June, Quiles was stunned to receive a call from the state’s Department of Children and Families. The school had accused Quiles of neglect, she was told, because the 7-year-old missed class and homework assignments — a charge which, if substantiated, can lead to removing a child from their home.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said…

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