State Homeschooling Regulations Under the Microscope in the Wake of Horrific Perris Family Discovery

SACRAMENTO -- A California family's 13 children were shackled, starved and tortured for years with no indication to the outside world that anything was wrong. Now their case is prompting calls for change.

"This tragic situation is the result of the fact that there's no requirement for anyone to take a look at the kids," said State Senator Richard Pan, D-Sacramento.

Pan says the severe abuse went unnoticed for so long largely because, since 2010, the Turpin family's home was registered with the state as the Sandcastle Day School. The father, David Turpin, was listed as its principal.

"It's certainly not emblematic of homeschooling, but it does underscore the tremendous lack of oversight," Pan said.

In California there is no agency that checks up on the welfare of homeschooled students. The state's Department of Education does certify each private school inside of a home with at least six students. However, in a statement to FOX40, the agency says it does not approve, monitor, inspect, or oversee those students.

So, who does? "Well, right now no one's doing it," Pan said.

Senator Pan says someone should and that state lawmakers are looking at options.

"I think an it's overreaction," said Michael Smith. "Why do we now want to punish all of these well doing parents because of what this one family did?"

Smith, President of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, says new oversight for private homeschools is a violation of parents' rights. He says the Turpin family's disturbing case is the rare exception and feels the institution of homeschooling is now under attack.

"In a free society we have to suffer things like this, because we don't live in a perfect world," Smith said.

Still Pan says, "It is an institutional failure and I think we need to figure out how to address that."