Parental Rights and CPS

In the ongoing battle for restoration of the fundamental constitutional right of fit parents to direct the care, control, and upbringing of their children, we often challenge Child Protective Service (CPS) workers who investigate allegations of abuse and/or neglect. While state law requires that every legitimate allegation be investigated, often these caseworkers go beyond their legal authority.

Some of the more aggressive CPS workers believe they have the right to force or intimidate parents, against whom there is no actual evidence of abuse or neglect, to yield to what the caseworker or some other “expert” believes is in the “best interest” of the children.

THSC recently intervened on behalf of one of our member families who had been investigated twice in just a few months on the basis of anonymous allegations of abuse. Both cases were determined to be “unfounded,” but in both cases CPS workers tried to force and intimidate the mother into placing her children in the public school system.

In fact, we pointed out in a letter to the caseworker that his statements to the mother that asserted she was required to place her children in public school unless she met specific criteria, such as being a certified teacher, having a college degree, and following an approved curriculum, were not true. We also clarified that his threat to remove her children if she did not sign a statement allowing CPS to academically assess each child was beyond the authority of his office. In addition, we sent a copy of a memorandum outlining the DFPS policy that home schooling is not relevant to an investigation of abuse/neglect.

We corresponded with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) regarding this matter and put the mother in touch with an attorney who had been through the THSC Continuing Legal Education training on Protecting Innocent Families from CPS. The mother has referred all communications to the attorney, and CPS has not yet attempted to academically test the children nor have they made any other attempt to force the family to place the children in public school.

In another letter to the DFPS, we intervened on behalf of another THSC member family who were requesting a waiver from CPS to allow them to homeschool the adopted children placed within their family. The CPS policy is that such children are required to attend a public school or an accredited private school until the adoption is final (after six months). We rejoice with this family as they were notified last week that a waiver was granted that would allow them to teach these children at home.

Both of these situations are further evidence that in our society today the assumption is made that parents do not to do what is in their child’s best interest. In fact, many assume that parents cannot be trusted to make these types of parental decisions, which is why we repeatedly see more and more attacks against fit parents, even without evidence or validation. One of our many goals here at THSC is to continue to work hard to educate Texas parents on how to respond should CPS show up at their door. Just last week we had another member call who had received a visit of this type. This member was educated as to her rights and did not allow CPS into her home. We put her in touch with THSC-trained attorneys in her area to come to her assistance.