CPS Illegally Takes Children

In what can only be described as a vendetta, Houston CPS workers illegally took two small grandchildren from a loving, Christian, single grandmother to cover their own failure to investigate a complaint three months earlier regarding the children’s exposure to drug use. THSC has responded by suing CPS in a federal civil rights case.

Mrs. Theresa Allen contacted CPS in 2009 when her single daughter, who had struggled with drug addiction and had asked for help with her children, refused to remove them from a drug situation. Later that day the mother of the young children asked Mrs. Allen to take possession of her children and to care for them.

Three months later a CPS caseworker called Mrs. Allen to say that she was in danger of losing her own job because of her failure to investigate the situation and that she needed to come take the children. Mrs. Allen tried to explain that the children were safe and not in danger. She called the caseworker’s supervisor and the regional director to try to prevent the taking of the children, all to no avail.

With the assistance of the police, CPS illegally took the children without a court order and told Mrs. Allen that she had “made a bad move” by contacting supervisors and that they would show her what happened to such people. Her grandchildren spent the next eleven months in foster care, and CPS officials lied to the court about the grandmother and told her that her grandchildren would be adopted out to a non-family member.

It was only by the grace of God and the sheer persistence of this dedicated and godly grandmother that the truth came out and that the judge forced CPS to return her grandchildren. While this case does not have direct connection to home schooling, THSC has decided to take up the case because of the ongoing problem that parents and home schoolers in Texas have with harassment by CPS caseworkers. Houston attorney Chris Branson, THSC special counsel for CPS and parental rights issues, is heading up the THSC Legal Team in this effort.

Mr. Branson represented a family in the landmark Gates case in which the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it is illegal for CPS to remove a child from a home without a court order. CPS must be held accountable, and THSC will make every effort to ensure that happens in this case. Please pray for our attorneys, Mrs. Allen, and her grandchildren as this case goes forward. If you would like to help, you can make a contribution to the THSC Parental Rights Litigation Fund here.

Comments

  1. says

    I do not support any involvement or intervention with the Allen CPS lawsuit. ” While this case does not have direct connection to home schooling, THSC has decided to take up the case because of the ongoing problem that parents and home schoolers in Texas have with harassment by CPS caseworkers. Houston attorney Chris Branson, THSC special counsel for CPS and parental rights issues, is heading up the THSC Legal Team in this effort.”

    I am a member of the Texas Home School Coalition and feel this is an abuse and misuse of my monthly fees. I do support THSC providing a referral for this family to legal counsel that specializes in this type of lawsuit. I agree there CPS not following up on or protecting children in Texas. Two examples are K___ B___ and S___ C___. Girls who have been sexually and physically abused their entire lives by several layers of family and family friends.

    My fees every month are to be used to reinforce and support information, resources and legislation specific and directly associated with HOME SCHOOLING.

    The Allen case is not a home school issue. A mob mentality to “punish” CPS for past issues regarding Home Schooling by intervening in this case is an embarrassment and undermines THSC credibility as a responsible authority in Home Schooling policy and practices.

    Our family will cancel its membership if THSC does not withdraw any financial and legal involvement in this case. It is NOT within the scope of THSC’s function.

    • says

      Terri, The THSC Board of Directors carefully considered the issue of whether or not to support this case as well as the Ft. Worth case last year and the Cameron Case this year. An argument can be made that these issues are not home school issues. However, THSC believes that the foundation of our freedom to teach our children at home is based on the fact that we as parents have a fundamental constitutional right to be able to direct the care, control and upbringing of our children. The growing assault today is against parental rights in general that in many cases are aimed at parents who wish to home school and in some cases home schooling itself is used as a reason that the parent should not have custody of a child as in both the Ft. Worth and Cameron cases.

      THSC recently amended our mission statement to include the defense of parental rights which we have actually been doing for sometime. THSC was the driving force behind the adoption of legislation in the 1990s to allow all parents to teach their children to drive. We have also been working in the last several legislative sessions to adopt the Texas Parental Rights Restoration Act (TPRRA) because the grandparent access statute is often used as a vehicle to take children from fit parents when grandparents disagree with parenting decisions of these fit parents. Legislators sometimes ask why THSC is supporting such legislation, “since it is not a home school issue?” Our response is that the current statute allows for lawsuit abuse of fit parents and that has opened the door for an attack against some home school families.

      In much the same way, CPS caseworkers often harass and intimidate home school families in the course of investigations of abuse/neglect. It is common for case workers to try to force parents to stop home schooling and to place their children into public schools. This happened to a THSC family just last fall. In fact, home schooling is sometimes the reason the initial allegations are made against a family.

      For these reasons THSC began almost ten years ago to financially underwrite a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course entitled “Defending Innocent Families from CPS.” That course approved by the State Bar of Texas is offered to attorneys free of charge if they will agree to take one pro-bono case to help a family being investigated by CPS. An attorney at the class a couple of years ago told us he attended the THSC CLE becuase it was the only one available that was not co-sponsored by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) the parent agency of CPS. THSC members are referred to these pro-bono attorneys if they are under investigation by CPS and home schooling is not the issue. So, as you can see, THSC has been working for many years to defend parental rights that are not strictly limited to home schooling.

      Far from pursuing a “mob mentality” and trying to punish CPS for past wrongs, our goal is to hold CPS accountable for complying with the law in regard to their actions. The fact that these rogue caseworkers violate the law against the poor and needy among us with impunity is not only morally reprehensible but it makes it all the more likely that other home school families will suffer at their hands as well. Most parents who have suffered at the hands of CPS are afraid to publicly confront them precisely because of the actions suffered by Mrs. Allen. Those who are willing to do so can rarely find attorneys who are willing to take on CPS and the state, thus rogue CPS caseworkers are emboldened to continue to flaunt the law.

      • Debbie says

        Tim,

        Thank you for helping in this fight. Our families are being torn apart and our children removed from loving and caring families.. As you stated in your comment CPS is not held accountable for any of their actions and are becoming more and more braisin and stealing more and more children. It has been said by many that CPS can’t be sued in the State of Texas.. I applaud you and the THSC..

      • Cyndi says

        When I read the article, I can see clearly that this case absolutely can affect families who home school and our parental rights and freedom to choose what is best for our own children. To say that this case does not affect home schoolers (in the future) is putting home schooling in a box and not seeing that our rights as parents are affected by how the state sees legal precedent on an issue and that these rights can change! We must not take for granted the freedoms we have in Texas regarding home education. These freedoms we have – were not just handed over, but fought for. For THSC to be suppportive and proactive of what could become legal precedent does affect us all in the home school community and I fully support THSC’s involvement and applaud THCS for caring about parental rights as a whole and for doing what is right and just.

  2. Joni says

    I am a grandmother raising grandchildren and have homeschooled in the past. My grandchildren are now in public school however, this doesn’t mean I wont exercise my right to homeschool in the future. That being said, I applaude THSC for the intervention in such cases. My situtation is like the one mentioned in this article and there is MUCH comfort in knowing THSC is there for people like us. Having children taken away needlessly is a devastating and far reaching emotional disaster for all! I would like to extend my love and support to all who are behind helping such individuals as myself and the children involved. I wholeheartedly support THSC for the help given and pray this continues as much as possible. Putting a stop to those who go against the law and needlessly remove children from a loving home serves to help all homeschoolers whether they are homeschooling now or not! My love and prayers to all who are protecting our future …these children are given to us by a loving God and our future.

  3. says

    Terri,
    If we do not help fight this type of abuse by government officials, and instead let them continue to build up a history of such abuse, we will have no defense when they come after us. Homeschooling is all about parental rights – so we can bring up our children as we believe we should instead of the way some beuraucrat believes we should. The Christians did not stand up to Hitler for the Jews, and 6 million Jews were slaughtered – but it seems forgotten that then the Nazis slaughtered seven million Christians. The point is not about religion here, per se, but instead about standing together against government gone wrong.
    I would urge you to stay in and support THHC for all the reasons you do agree with, knowing we collectively do so much good for our cause, and simply consider cases like this an added bonus – in service to those around us who are mistreated. You also may want to look into supporting ParentalRights.org.

    If we let them take others, they will eventually take us.

    Thanks, John Spinuzzi

  4. Trisha says

    I think you made the right choice to take this case. Even though she’s not homeschooling this is still an issue that affects us. Our parental rights are trampled on daily and each time I open an email or read an article online some family is being harassed. We’ve got to stick together & protect parents rights!

  5. Darlene says

    We have supported HSLDA for the past 20 years and THSC at times as well. Having been the object of a false CPS investigation that was not homeschool related, I definitely understand that this is a parental right issue and CPS considers you guilty before being proven innocent, which is the complete opposite of what it should be. Our state homeschool organizations and HSLDA need to be trusted since they are dealing with these issues as their job. I certainly appreciated HSLDA coming to my aid and we DO need to keep an eye on CPS. Only someone who has been investigated by CPS knows how violated and accused you feel. CPS is definitely a state organization that needs to be kept in check for the sake of homeschoolers!

  6. says

    Thank you for standing up for the people.

    Today, we too often see evil and chose to turn our head the other way.

    CPS has clearly behaved inappropriately, whether out of a failing organizational structure or out of malice, I don’t know. What I know is stories like this family seem to have become a monthly headline.

    Families with children who have chronic illness are scared that CPS at the hospitals will decide that their children are at risk. Too many children with diseases like Mito,Spinal muscular atrophy, and other complex illnesses are ending up being dragged through the CPS ringer-

    As a Mom who home schooled, as a Mom with a child with a chronic illness, and as a citizen whose tax dollars go to CPS which is supposed to protect children and help Houston/Texas families become healthy and strong, I am alarmed.

    We desperately need transparency from CPS. Whatever is broken and not working in their system needs to be fixed before more families are permanently destroyed. No one should fear CPS- CPS should mean support for families that need help- but right now, we tremble in fear of CPS. That is not healthy, and not how our tax dollars should be spent.

    Thank you for setting a good example for the home school community. Just because we home school doesn’t allow us to turn a blind eye to the other children in our community. We have a responsibility to teach good citizenship, and this is a shining example of what I want my family to learn.

    Here is a poem that we should all keep close to heart when we think that CPS is not our business-

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  7. Susan says

    This is a issue of parental rights, of constitutional rights which both will in directly affect the right to home school. State attorneys, judges and caseworkers, totally disregard laws and best interest of the child in favor of federal funding. The mentality in Texas is they all have immunity and therefore the laws do not apply to them. There is no way to fight.
    I know many of family members whom wish to home school but do not do so for fear of loosing their children. Just as I know many families who do not believe in childhood shots but are forced to give them out of fear.
    They know as parents and grandparents they have no rights. By taking up this cause bringing to light the intimidation and underhanded illegal activities these agencies and people use will help stop the total destruction of the American family. A strong country begins with a strong family. A strong family is created by God to be nurtured by parents not the Government. It will give more parents to courage as they will no they are NOT alone. I applaud THSC for taking a stand for every family this woman represents.

  8. BGorda says

    Thank you Tim for your response. And thank you THSC for standing with these families against CPS. I too had a false charge filed. Knowing my rights I gave no information at all except proof of medical care, shots, 100% attendance in school, and good grades. Then told them do what they needed to do, so that I and my lawyer can get moving on what we had to do. I let them find based on the charges and “evidence” they were able to get. The findings – no abuse or neglect has occurred but because I “refused to cooperate” with their need to dig into our lives from birth to now – all jobs, schools, criminal, financial, my medical, parents, extended family and friends. they don’t know if I might abuse them in the future. Therefore, I will remain on the abuse registry and .my children will be “automatically removed” if they get another complaint or any information about me I haven’t told them. Their way of saying if I go forward with my lawsuit, they will take my kids, and hurt my career and earning potential. (being on this registry is automatically affects security clearance for work- though I still have a clean criminal background)

    CPS will continue to trample parents rights. Every organization that falls under CPS radar should ban together against them. United, we can stand. Divided (and going against a gov’t backed CPS) we will fall.

    • BGorda says

      PS – it even turns out the person who made the complaint, re-canted. but by then, they were mad at me for not complying with their illegal search of my life and privacy- so wouldn’t drop the charges

    • Paula says

      This very same thing happened to us. No findings of abuse or neglect, but because we went to HSLDA and “refused to cooperate”, we also were told we were on their list and our children would be taken if there were any more reports. We are just one anonymous phone call away from having our children removed from our home. This is not the way to live in a free society. CPS is out of control.

  9. Chris says

    I would be interested to know why the grandmother was not immediately looked at as a placement and/or other relatives. It is my understanding that before a removal is to take place by CPS an exaustive search of relatives and close friends is to be completed. My understanding, also, is that CPS must show to the court that an exhaustive search of relatives has been completed and why they were not chosen as placements if a removal occurs. If CPS is not sure about a relative placement an emergency homestudy can be completed within 14days of the removal hearing…. Why was this not done?

    • says

      CPS rules require that allegations that children under the age of 6 who could be in a dangerous circumstances must be investigated within 24 hours. The reason that CPS wanted to destroy the credibility of this woman was to avoid the public becoming aware that they had ignored a call for three months that should have been investigated within 24 hours. CPS officials insisted that the children were removed on the basis of being imminently in danger. This was of course, all a fabrication designed to protect the caseworkers and supervisors who failed to do their job. That is the bottom line. They broke policy and law to hide the fact that they did not do their job!

    • Gail Head says

      The main reason relatives & close friends are “not” sought out, is $MONEY$. CPS doesn’t get the high dollar funding, both state & federal, if a child is placed with a relative/family member or close friend of the family. They ONLY get those big bucks when it’s NON-related Foster Care. That’s why they do everything they possibly can for ONLY those placements, regardless of whether those placements are really legal or not or whether it’s in the best interest of the child. It is ALL about the MONEY~!!! Every child wears a “large” price tag on their head when it comes to CPS.

      Having said that, however, there are a few, and I said “few”, counties scattered about in TX that are more family friendly and supportive and where CPS (& family court judges & attorneys) actually do abide by the laws & statutes much more so than in a lot of other counties. WATCH the news, stay in touch with parents in all areas of the state, and this will become more evident as to which ones are “more safe” for families and which are more “risk” for family destruction.

      I ***APPLAUD*** THSLD for taking on this case and supporting/sponsoring the legal action against CPS~!!! It will serve to support ALL families in TX.

  10. Sammie Jones says

    Is there anything like this in Utah? Our parental rights are pretty much nonexistent here, and sibling rights don’t exist.

  11. Cindy Ferguson says

    THSC is doing exactly what is right in this case. We cannot stand by silently. Evil most definitely flourishes when good men, and women, do nothing. Our prayers are with THSC and the families that are needlessly ripped apart.

  12. TJO says

    Thank you for helping out this family. This is clearly a parental rights issue. If we do not set the example that we will not support the government (in this case CPS ) acting out in illegal ways which violate our rights we are turning a blind eye to a wrong doing that has the potentional to set a precedent which could affect the home school parents rights. My family is currently under a CPS investigation which started in 2 pages of false allegations from a SIL (who has been diagnosised with a mental disorder). The first two investigators said from experience they knew it was all false, but still preceeded to had it over to the counseling part of CPS, who also stated they were not sure why they got the case, we have since visited with a state contracted counselor who said there was no reason why we were seeing him. We also had to visit with a local sheriff because of the false allegations, which they completel closed after one visit. We have not objected to any requests but we are ready for this to be finished (it has been ongoing for the last 8 months). They found nothing but false allegations, looked through and took pictures of our house, continually ask about why the kids are not in a public school and “am I following an accredited program”. They also interviewed all the kids (even the 3 year old). And what are we told, “there is nothing we can do to protect our family from this mentally unstable SIL, anyone can make a report”. So although everyone from CPS has stated they “knew this was a false report”, here we are 8 months later still wasting tax dollars when they could be helping children out there who really need it. So I thank you THSC for standing up for parental rights, homeschool or not, we can not turn our back on the issue of parental rights becuase once the precedence is set then IT WILL affect us, then it will be more difficult to stop. Stop the noxious weed BEFORE it spreads and is uncontrollable.

    • Debbie says

      I certainly hope you are taking notes and keeping a timeline.. CPS has a tendacy to come back at 1yr and terminate parental rights… If they havn’t closed the case yet, then that may be what they are doing..

  13. Mary L Brown says

    Thanks for helping these families. CPS way over steps it bound in many ways. Please continue to support parental and grandparent rights to not be abused by CPS workers and the CPS system. There is too much big governments dictating our life without just cause. Thanks so much. I will be a THSC member as long as I have the money to pay the membership even though my child is graduating this year. She will be a college student. I have an 20 month old grandson that I would love to home school when possible. Have already purchased abcmouse for him.
    Keep up the good work!

  14. Shannon says

    Thank you Tim and THSC for working so hard to protect homeschooling freedoms in Texas AND parental rights. They go hand-in-hand.

  15. Tracy says

    Some years ago I learned that two church families both had their children taken to the Seaton hospitals in Austin. One off of Hwy 183, and the other at the downtown site off of IH35. Both families happened to be taking the children around the same time of year near Christmas. In the case of the family at Hwy 183, there was a big bouncer type guy involved that helped the hospital staff to take the young child from the grandparents and transported to the hospital at IH35. The IH35 hospital has police officers there. This is the same hospital talked about in the 1980′s as the hosptial where the “bad cops” were. A whole group of teen girls who had been beaten by police to the point of broken bones when police had busted into a overnight birthday party on the false premise that there was gang trouble. The birtday child was a child whose parent was a black activist in the community. They went to St. Davids hospital for safety. Later the I35 hospital was the lace where Lacresha Murry, the 11 year old, was taken in to CPS custody, without telling the grandparents, then given green tennis shoes too big for her to wear and accused of using the shoes as a murder weapon on a child the family did not hurt, but was trying to save after experiencing abuse from someone else. Seton hospital at Hwy 183 was also the place where another church member who was in charge of a care facility for severly disabled children had learned that a doctor wanted to let a child with pneumonia die. She told me how she had ordered her staff to stand guard 24 hours daily until they could find a safe place to take the child to keep the child from being euthanized by the hospital staff. In speaking with an activist group in Austin regarding rights of families that are contacted by CPS, a sherrif or deputy sherrif, not a police officer, are the only ones allowed by law to carry out a warrented taking of a child. Also, the case worker is by law supposed to give the family a booklet on what their rights are, and may not just show up unannounced, but must have a legal laison to protect the rights of the parents be present at such visits. There was a CPS watch group that met at the Capital of Texas in the 1990′s that learned of one foster parent that got about 5 little kids in order to get the money to pay off her debts to her land. An old former case worker told one of the church families I knew that had their grandchild taken, that the child’s looks was the reason he was “adoptable”. This of course means money. Some years ago I knew an activist that wanted to stop “block grants” because she could see this kind of thing about to happen with abuse of funding, based on getting kids for the sake of money. She helped to create a bill in Texas to help protect homeless home school families and met with someone high up back in the 1990′s that to her face told her how they were going to interpret what she wrote…their way, and not the way she intended it when she wrote that law herself. The CPS was targeting homeschool families back then, in spite of the law to protect the homeless homeschooling family as I understood her relating her concerns to me. One of my neighbors at an apartment I used to live at related how she had been in a children’s home. There were people who donated money to the home. Instead of the kids getting their needs met, they noticed how the staff got new cars. She related how the good kids would “disappear” and never be heard from again. She didn’t mean adopted out either, which she expressed concern that they were secreted out for possible unethical purposes. In 2005 it sent shivers down my spine to have an EPA paper read live over the airwaves about how it was now allowed to test pesticides on children that were in the custody of the government…especially the abused ones. I later looked up an archived article from an organic food organization that related that very EPA paper. I guess they needed as it says in Star Wars by the evil Sith…that he would “Make It Legal”…in order to have a way to process all the children taken from the parents of families during the huricane Katrina incident. One of my church friends who worked as a volunteer at the downtown Austin Palmer Events auditorium where they were processing the huricane refugees remembered finding a baby that had no parents to claim it…and called into the audience…”Does anybody know whose baby this is?”. We are all our brother’s keeper in this world, and we should do something to protect our parental rights and keep our families safe from these abuses. We need to learn law, and the rules of the courts so that we will not be intimidated by police or other government officials acting upon our lack of knowledge. One of my former co-workers related what it was like to be trained for a position in CPS…as they taught her that as long as the family doesn’t know their 4th amendment rights, we can see if they will let us in. Every year, any government agency or place of education that receives federal funding must now have their staff and students take a course in the US Constitution…which I would assume that most do not fulfill that law. (See: NCCS.net regarding the actual law regarding Constitution Week in September) I think it so important at this time that homeschooled or not, we must all start to have study groups in our libraries and other places regarding law and how to protect our families and selves in the courts from legal abuses. There are archives at the LogosRadioNetwork.com on several topics such as legal dictionary uses, rather than the street language, and the proper rules of the court. I invite others to please start groups throughout Texas and elsewere in the US, and other areas as can, in order to have support in learning law. There was a report in the late 1980′s on Environment and Poverty, relating that legal protection was a key of protection from poverty. It was important that there be laws to protect, but also that the persons involved needed to know laws and how to use law properly and in coordination with the proper support of others to protect them, their families, their communities and nation. In my church teachings, we are not only to elect good people, but those we elect are to be held accountable or else we ourselves will be held accountable when we don’t do our part to hold them accountable. The land can not be healed if we as a people do not repent…that is fix it! It is my prayer that we as a people will stand firm against the persecution of the unjust, to be as one so that individuals do not have to stand alone against the tides of the unjust. In the last days, it is the wicked who will destroy the wicked, yet the just will be given refuge. We need to be part of that refuge, to outnumber and to out create the creations of the unjust types. Granted when there are injustices, it is sometimes the good who stand as martyrs to spur us on to right the wrongs. We have to know there is something wrong in order to seek to educate ourselves on how to fix things. May God bless the USA.

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