President Ronald Reagan once said that the nine scariest words in the English language are, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” That is certainly true when considering CPS caseworkers.
Back in March, THSC became involved in a civil rights lawsuit against CPS on behalf of a grandmother in Houston. As I explained then, these government officials illegally took the grandchildren from this grandmother as a vendetta against this woman who, in their opinion, had the audacity to call supervisors to report this unwarranted action. In fact, the children were removed from the grandmother’s home to hide the fact that the caseworker had failed to respond to a call three months earlier.
The attorneys representing the State of Texas and defending CPS filed a request with the court asking the court to dismiss the case. The judge denied that request, and more recently a preliminary hearing was held that did not seem to go well for the state. This action by THSC represents a new battlefront in the ongoing war to protect innocent families from CPS.
THSC Special Counsel for CPS and Parental Rights Issues Chris Branson is the lead attorney in the case, and he was recently quoted in a Houston Chronicle news story describing how CPS has adopted a new approach to taking children from parents without a court order. CPS is now asking parents to “voluntarily” place their children in someone else’s care. This happened in a drowning case and also in a case in which the mother was murdered in a parking lot, although there was absolutely no reason to believe the parents involved were unfit.
The article says, “Now, ‘not a week goes by’ that Branson says he isn’t contacted by parents who feel they’ve been bullied into surrendering their children to a ‘voluntary’ plan under threat they will lose their children permanently through court intervention. Most were warned by CPS not to consult a lawyer, he says.”
“‘CPS doesn’t like it when lawyers are involved,’ Branson said. As a result, ‘there’s an important step in due process they (CPS) tend to skip.’ Branson says. After all, ‘voluntary’ plans don’t have to be reviewed by a judge.”
Parents should be aware that these tactics might be used and should not voluntarily give up their children, especially before consulting legal counsel. A former judge who dealt with CPS for many years has told us that lawsuits against such caseworkers is sometimes the only method to hold them accountable since supervisors are sometimes reluctant to respond to such problems because it brings unwanted scrutiny to their own area of responsibility. This is, of course, all the more reason that THSC will aggressively pursue this suit against CPS. They must be held accountable for their actions that harm children and families.