Judge Removes Children Illegally

Tutt Family

On November 21 seven children from a home school family in Duncanville were forcibly removed from their home, in spite of no evidence of abuse or neglect, by order of Judge Graciela Olvera of the 256th District Court of Dallas County. Judge Olvera issued a removal order at an ex-parte hearing in which the parents were not represented nor notified.

This action against the Tutt family reminds me of that saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” The Tutts are a Christian family who have five biological children, three adopted children, and one in the process of private adoption. (Three of the biological children are grown and living outside the home.) The Tutts spent several years as a licensed CPS foster home, adopted a child from CPS foster care, and now serve with Safe Families, working with at-risk families and directly with CPS to help children who are in need of care as a result of abuse or neglectful situations. At the time of the incident that drew CPS’s attention, they were caring for a sibling group of five, including a child with autism, through Safe Families. Additionally, CPS had independently placed an infant with them, knowing that they already had 12 children in their home. This family obviously has a heart for helping children in bad situations, and CPS itself was aware of this goodwill and has called on the family as a resource for such children for many years.
 

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On September 21 the four year-old child with autism wandered away from the home. The Tutts’ eight-year-old went after him but could not bring him back, so he stayed with the child while the other Tutt children notified their father, who immediately got in his car and began to search for them. Unfortunately, he turned right at the end of the block while the children turned left, and a police officer picked them up and returned them to the home before Mr. Tutt could find them. Without entering the home, but seemingly upset with the number of children there, the fact that the shaded yard did not have grass, and the fact that the autistic child had soiled himself, the officer contacted CPS. Mrs. Tutt’s documentation from the local school and from Safe Families that the child was autistic and that CPS was well aware how many children were in the home was ignored by the officer.

This call by the police resulted in an investigation by a CPS caseworker who, after walking through the home, acknowledged, “There is no problem here.” Mrs. Tutt was cordial and fully cooperative with the caseworker. In the course of this conversation the caseworker questioned Mrs. Tutt about her ministry to the homeless and asked why she would choose to stay at home with her children. The caseworker said, “Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!” Apparently this was not a figure of speech, because the caseworker issued a “Safety Plan” requiring the Tutts to take parenting classes and requiring Mrs. Tutt to have a psychological examination. Mrs. Tutt made sure the caseworker put an expiration date on the Safety Plan before she left. The expiration date was October 20.

In spite of the “Safety Plan” expiring on October 20, on October 31 the caseworker returned. Mrs. Tutt produced certificates documenting that they had already taken the requisite parenting classes within the last year and had had two family therapy sessions in the previous two weeks. In addition, Mrs. Tutt produced a certificate from her doctor noting her physical and mental fitness to care for children. The caseworker signed a copy of the doctor’s certificate to show she had received it and noted that CPS had no services that could be offered to the family because the Tutts had already taken so many parenting classes on their own as part of their work with Safe Families. She told Mrs. Tutt she would see if the doctor’s certificate would be sufficient proof of mental fitness and then handed her a listing of all the service providers used by CPS for everything clinical, without any further instructions. The list was basically a “phone book” of all services, from drug rehab to prenatal care. The Tutts did not hear again from the caseworker

On November 14 there was an ex-parte hearing in which Judge Olvera issued an order to remove the children from the Tutt home, in spite of the fact that CPS had acknowledged, “There is no problem here.” Under Texas Family Code, Chapter 262, removal from the home requires immediate threat of harm to children, but no immediate action was taken by CPS for a full week.

On the morning of November 21 three cars of armed constables arrived at the Tutt home and took possession of the children, not allowing their mother to put shoes on them and refusing to put them in their car seats. The constables told Mrs. Tutt that they were taking the children and herself to a meeting with a judge and CPS, a statement that was untrue.

On arrival at the local CPS office, the caseworker there informed Mrs. Tutt that her children were being removed by order of a judge. The caseworker would not tell Mrs. Tutt the charges and would not show her any paperwork. When Mrs. Tutt attempted to have her children placed with friends and family, as is standard CPS procedure, she was told, “We don’t do that anymore.” Mrs. Tutt cited the CPS Handbook, Section 4511, but was rebuffed, and the caseworker refused to allow any of the children to be placed with friends or family. Mrs. Tutt was told the children would be placed in foster care and that there would be a hearing on December 4 to discuss the matter further. It gets worse!

In the interim, the guardian ad litem appointed by Judge Olvera to represent the “best interests of the children” did her own “educational examination” of the traumatized children and concluded they were not being “properly educated.” Her descriptions of the children’s inability to count objects, say the alphabet, or spell their names were unbelievable to the Tutts’ many friends and family who had witnessed their academic ability over the years. The guardian ad litem also told the Tutts’ attorney that the children were being “brainwashed” to think they did not need education.

On December 4 a full hearing was scheduled for December 16. Judge Olvera dismissed the Tutts’ attorney’s concerns that she did not have jurisdiction over the case and responded to her request to move the hearing on this matter to another court by saying, “If you don’t like my ruling, you can appeal it.”

On December 16, in spite of protests by the Tutts’ attorney that it is not lawful to remove children or keep them in CPS foster care without evidence of abuse or neglect, the attorney ad litem recommended to Judge Olvera that the children remain in CPS care. No charges of abuse. No charges of neglect. No charges at all, in fact. There were simply the GAL’s concerns that the children were “severely behind educationally.”

According to witnesses in the courtroom, the hearing quickly devolved into a relentless attack on this family’s religious beliefs, community service, and right to home school their children—with no legal basis at all. Mrs. Tutt herself was on the stand for three full hours.

CPS attorneys berated Mrs. Tutt for not using a “state-certified home school curriculum,” in spite of the fact that there is no such thing in Texas. The guardian ad litem denigrated her for not submitting documentation of her home schooling to the state on a regular basis, including state-mandated tests. This, of course, is not only not required, but there is no way for someone to do so in Texas.

According to another witness, the guardian ad litem told the court that she herself had a home school friend who turned her children’s work into the Texas Education Agency for academic credits, a claim that is ludicrous.

When the Tutts’ attorney was finally given the floor, she had almost no time to present her case. She had to reduce her witness list from 20 to only six (two of them taking the stand for fewer than five minutes apiece), was unable to fully cross-examine, and was unable to present her closing arguments. By that time it was 9 p.m. The case had been going on for more than 12 hours.

The next day Judge Olvera issued her ruling: The Tutts’ children would not be returned to them but would be kept in foster care. Again, no abuse, no neglect—nothing but a rogue judge who decided to place her view of what was best for these children regarding home education above the law. The Tutts’ appealed.

A hearing before a new judge has been set for January 7, and the new judge has stated that the only evidence she will hear is the justification for the children’s removal. To this day, the Tutts have never been charged with abuse, neglect, or anything at all. The papers they were finally given five days after the removal only contained anecdotes about the caseworker’s visit—nothing actionable by CPS. The guardian ad litem, in the meantime, met with the Tutts in their home with their attorney and acknowledged she has no concerns about the children’s safety, the parents’ parenting ability, the ministry in which the family is involved, or how many children they have in their home, but she will not recommend to the court that the children be returned unless the Tutts agree to place their children in public school and never home school them.

THSC wrote a letter to this attorney to clarify as to the status of home schooling in Texas and to note that her assertion that the children are behind academically does not meet the statutory definition of neglect according to the Texas Family Code. To support our position, we also shared with her the policy statement of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services regarding investigations of abuse/neglect with regard to home school families. Finally, we shared with her the most recent letter from the TEA regarding Texas laws related to home schooling to help her understand that the state of Texas does not regulate, monitor, or oversee home schooling. Of course, we also copied this information to the attorney representing the Tutts as well. These egregious actions and violations of the law have earned Judge Olvera a place on our Texas Judicial Wall of Shame. Look for a public announcement when her addition is posted.

What can you do to help the Tutts? First, pray for them and for their attorney and that the new judge will follow the law and return their children. Secondly, sign our online petition to show you support for this embattled home school family and sign up for our updates to keep abreast of developments in this case. Thirdly, share this information with your friends and ask them to take action as well.
 

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Tim Lambert – has written 164 posts on this site.

205 Comments on “Judge Removes Children Illegally”

  1. Ursula Stouffer

    I would like to sign the petition, but apparently you can’t do that unless you live in the United States! Why is that? I am in Canada, by the way.

  2. This is crazy. I feel horrible for Mrs. Tutt. I can only imagine what she’s going through! I have had my children be escape artists. It happens. This kind of outcome is ridiculous!

  3. Anywhere a Canadian can sign this petition?

  4. Can you please cite sources for this report? Your site is the only place I can find this story online. Thanks.

    • We are getting our information from those who were in the courtroom and closely involved in the case. We expect media attention and other reports to follow.

      • You might want to get the facts before you cite the specifics of this case. Your readers deserve to read the truth that you have not provided. You would be devastated to learn the truth about the 13 children involved. The level of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse and neglect is profound. Home schooling a child should mean that they know his/her alphabet by the time he/she is in 4th grade. A bona fide curriculum would also ensure that a 15 year old child can tell time and know basic multiplication facts. These are just a few of the missing details that are not in your report. The truth of the matter is a travesty to these innocent, vulnerable children that used to live in this home until CPS rescued them and placed them in a safe environment. You might want to follow this case a lot closer before you post publicly. Clearly, this is not a “homeschooling only” issue. It is a tragedy that these children have to know figure how to catch up academically as they are 3-4 years behind grade level. And, not just one of them, but, several of them including the biological children without any disabilities are that severely behind academically. These kids’ lives have been severely damaged and it is very sad to watch and witness first hand.

        THSC will be thoroughly embarrassed when the facts are filed in Dallas County.

        • Amy, First of all, the judge yesterday ordered the return of four of the children to their parents which I think undermines your statement of profound physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Secondly, I think you have a double standard here. Would you be making the same arguments if the children were in a public school and at the same level? I think not. Furthermore the state of Texas does not regulate, monitor or oversee private schools including home schools. You seem to be arguing that children who are being home schooled should be removed if they do not meet certain academic standards. I will state again, that the the Texas Family Code’s definition of neglect or abuse does not include such measures as you are advocating.

          • Thank you for your input, on behalf of the court system. Next time, you may wish to look at FACTS, as should the courts. Would save a lot of embarrassment for the side attempting the pummeling.

          • Amy, you are clearly lying about this family.

    • Thank you. It’s concerning how one-sided this piece is; I can’t help but think that a lot of relevant facts are being omitted for the sake of inciting outrage.

      I’ll reserve my judgement for when hard facts are available. Hearsay from parties sympathetic to one side are not reliable sources.

      • It is easy to read this and believe that there must be something not being told because this doesn’t happen in America. I can assure you that scores of people who know this family can testify to their good character and great capacity as parents. The judge is required by the Texas Family Code to have evidence of imminent physical danger to order removal of children. The order to remove was not executed for 7 days. That seems to undermine the “emergency” of the removal.

        • I tried to google this story to get more information. I wasn’t able to find it on “The Suburban Newspaper’s” website. Has the local media been contacted about this story? If not, is someone working on contacting the local media. Once you get enough signatures on a petition it should get them to look into the story.

        • So you are saying in the state of Texas abuse is only physical?

          • Neglect is the issue and Texas Family Code does not define neglect to include the educational level of children.

      • I personally have a dear friend who live doors from the Tuff family. Everything this articles states is everything my friend who knows the Tutt Family personally. I don’t believe this article is one sided. These are facts that the public, especially homescoolers need to be aware of. I am very thankful for THSC.

    • I was thinking the same.

  5. THSC, thank you so much for supporting the Tutts and sharing their story. What a blessing to them to have so many hs families praying for them during this confusing and heart-breaking experience. God bless you!!

  6. God help the Tutt family, in the name of Jesus Christ. May God remove the judge who unlawfully removed the Tutt children from their home.

  7. Please add this judge to your wall of shame and keep tabs on her. If she is an elected judge, I would like to help make sure she is not re-elected. When lawyers misbehave, the bar can remove their license. How can judges be held accountable?

    • We plan to file a complaint with the Texas Judicial Ethics Commission and place her on our wall of shame.

    • The petition you cite is a very low quality one with almost no facts given (just opinion) and has very few signatures/has been abandoned almost a year ago. There will be action towards this Judge. Signing the petition in the link you cite will not help the Tutts because the person who put up the petition there is no longer doing anything with it. Keep your eyes open for an action plan from the Tutt family/THSC at some point soon. THANK YOU!!!

      • It is, but if these people have cause and will act given signatures, I will sign it just to help put pressure on her from any angle possible.
        I would like to see the case reference by the creator of the petition. This judge more than likely has a history of this sort of overreach and irrational decision making.
        If so, I hope it comes to light and more people are willing to challenge her.

  8. I found a petition to remove this judge because of another case. Lets all sign it.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/recall-associate-judge-graciela-olvera/

    • This judge is an “Associate Judge” which means she is not elected but appointed by other judges in Dallas County, but I agree she should be removed.

  9. That is total BS! They did nothing wrong but it turned into another attack on Christianity! I’m definitely signing te petition

  10. Would like to sign the petition but I’m in the UK is there anyway I can do this I have a lot of friends in the US most have large families and homeschool

  11. Curious If this story has been put in front of Bill O’reilly?

    • Working on local media but that is a great idea!

      • I have to wonder if there isn’t quite a bit of bullying tactics going on from this socialistic judge and his henchmen towards the media – to keep quiet.

      • I think getting this to Jay Sekulow, HSLDA, The Liberty Alliance, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today. Take it to as many conservative and Christian groups and radio hosts as possible.
        Redstate.com Michelle Malkin.

      • Have the Duck Dynasty crew send it out on social media. ;)

      • A good one to send the story to would be Chris Krok on WBAP 820 AM in Dallas. Duncanville is a suburb of Dallas for those who are not familiar with this part of the state. I have a feeling they will jump all over it.

      • I don’t believe that the story is just one for the conservative camp. This is a story that resonates with all camps. Rachel Maddow or John Stewart would probably be happy to spotlight this story. Any branch of government that oversteps its boundaries – or any branch of government that is given too much power – should be held accountable for such breaches. There are far too few people who are willing to take on the burden of caring for the discarded members of society, and such a story, if it doesn’t have a happy ending, will only serve to discourage those heroes. I wish the Tutts all the best.

  12. Why are you making this out to be a homeschool issue when it is clearly an issue of Mrs. Tutt failing to supervise an autistic child? An 8 yr old should not have been expected to go fetch a special needs child who wasn’t being adequately supervised in the first place. And, this story is full of contradictions. On one hand, you say the social worker stated “there is no problem here” but then put the family on a safety plan during the same visit. Social workers who find no problems don’t then turn around and issue a safety plan. This is not Ms. Tutt’s first run-in with CPS. Others have been concerned with the state of disarray of her home (lots of indoor animals that are not house broken, lots of clutter and disorganization) and the fact that her husband is known to go extended periods of time with no employment. Ms. Tutt wants everyone to believe she is being persecuted for homeschooling when really there are huge underlying issues for why her children were removed.

    • Glen,
      We are not making this a home school issue. The judge allowed the vast majority of the time in the hearing regarding the return of children to the family to focus on home schooling as noted in the blog. The guardian ad litem appointed by the judge told the family she had no concerns about returning the children except home schooling and would only do so if the parents agreed to never home school. I’d say that makes it about home schooling. It is not uncommon at all for CPS caseworkers to require someone to sign a “safety plan” when no wrongdoing is found. A messy house or husband being out of work is certainly not justification for taking someone’s children from them. I’m not sure where you got your information about the Tutt’s but CPS presented no evidence that would justify removal of the children. Hard to defend this judge from these egregious actions! The judge who appointed the judge in question actually approved the Tutt’s adoption and called them an outstanding family!

    • Thank you for adding some critical pieces of relevant info. The article made no mention of the CPS’ prior concerns with the family. Excessive indoor animals (and the usual accompanying messes) are a common reason for the mental fitness concern, so that part makes sense now.

      The unemployment situation is also a reasonable concern for a family with so many mouths to feed and only one person working outside the home.

      • Indoor pets does not mean mental fitness issues and in this case Mrs. Tutt presented CPS caseworker with not only certificates from parenting courses taken but certification from her doctor regarding her physical and mental fitness to care for children. The Texas Family Code does not list indoor pets or unemployment as reason to take children from parents.

      • The police dept is the one that called CPS on the Tutt’s to begin with. The fact that the 4 year old autistic child was found unsupervised and filthy by the police is a HUGE reason to investigate and/or remove the children. The 4yr old was not being properly supervised. Why do you refuse to acknowledge the incident that started all of this to begin with? CPS isnt just picking on the Tutt’s. They were called out by law enforcement! Quit trying to act like the poor Tutt’s are innocent victims of CPS bullying. Their 4 year old autistic child was picked up by the police for Christ sake!

        • Furthermore, Ms. Tutt admits to having run-ins and arguments with CPS. They have told her before that they will not allow her to adopt any more children because she does not “respect the privacy” of the children in care – she is known to discuss private matters publically and they feel she is overwhelmed with so many children she has tried adopting behind their back.

          Here is an article she commented on over a year ago complaining about CPS concerns with her:

          http://www.houstontexascpslawyer.com/blog/2011/09/27/post-termination-suits/

          • Speaking publicly about difficulties dealing with CPS and “trying to adopt children behind their back”? Wow and her comments were about problems she had with CPS? Its no wonder CPS has a problem with her. She won’t quietly accept whatever they decide!

          • Carolyn Gerding

            Do you have any children, Glen? You can be taking a shower, making a grilled cheese, “going potty”, throwing a load of laundry in, and a 4 year old can decide to go outside in that instant. Do you mean to tell me that parents shouldn’t do any cooking or cleaning or go to the bathroom while their children are awake?

          • Do you go to the bathroom during the day? Just because an autistic child managed to get out of the home doesn’t mean the parent was neglecting the supervision of the child! There are other parents that we have had in the news because their autistic child got out of their home and they still have their children! We don’t know the situation about how the child managed to get out of the house. And if CPS had really had an issue with the condition of their home before this case, they would not have placed children there! And unemployment doesn’t matter when it comes to the safety of the children as long as they are feed and taken care of. I will also have to say that some of the public schools that I have seen are just as bad about kids being behind! Our local public school let my daughter graduate from 5th grade with a 2nd grade reading level and told me that she wasn’t far enough behind to qualify for help!

        • You seem to dismiss the fact that Mr. Tutt was also looking for the child and that he had soiled himself because he was afraid and that may have may have been a reason to investigate but hardly reason to remove their seven children. The Tutts ARE innocent victims of CPS and the judge!

          • Carolyn, I was thinking the same thing.

            Glen, “Autistic Wandering” is known to be a common problem among autistic children of every age, and in every type of care. The autism community frequently laments this fact on community blogs. Also frequently mentioned on these same blogs, is that local police don’t seem to understand this, and often overreact or misinterpret a situation in which an autistic child has wandered. As the autism rate continues to climb among the younger generations, our entire society is on a giant learning curve of trying to manage these new problems.

          • Seven children were removed. This is the piece of information I was looking for.

            In the article you say that the authorities “took possession of the children,” but do not say which ones. All of them, including the biological and adopted children? By my count they had eight foster children (including the infant CPS placed with them when they already at twelve children in the home). Two of their children were biological and three were adopted at the time this story was written (at least that is the way it reads in the second paragraph).

            If they took seven children (and I would have to presume that they took only the foster children), why did they not also take the eighth foster child?

            I’m not criticizing your position on the issue. In fact, I support what you are doing here. But a family will have a different set of rights in relation to their foster children as compared with their biological and adopted children, so this seems like a very important detail inadvertently missing from the story.

          • Eric, First the children were not foster children they were placed through private agency and the infant placed by CPS was placed as a kinship placement not foster. The children in the home temporarily at the time of the incident were no longer in the home when the two biological three adopted and two in the process of adoption were taken by CPS.

          • This story struck my heart at first, but like others it seemed a little one-sided. A 4 year old autistic child wandered away from the house? That is insane. I have 2 four-year-old children. If we are home, the doors are locked as a matter of course. If they had ever shown a tendency to unlock the doors and leave, I’d have chain locks on my doors in a heartbeat! I would never go to the bathroom or leave my children unsupervised where they could LEAVE THE HOUSE! What a great way to be lost or run over! And an autistic child to boot? I have 2 autistic cousins, one my children’s age I have watched several times. He is never unsupervised to the degree that he could leave the house, at my home or at his parents! Especially unsupervised long enough to get…anywhere out of eyesight, down the street and around a corner? What was she doing for that long? I know I’ve gone on too long abou t this, it just shocks me to my core to imagine not taking precautions to protect your children, especially such young, at-risk children.

            Then I read her comment in the article mentioned above. Holy Cow! Talk about disrespecting the children’s privacy!! She posted about her adopted child’s sexual abuse, on a forum where her name was clearly shown. That is possibly one of the most damaging things to do to a traumatized child, and if she feels free to post it there I have to wonder how many people she has told. This is not a discreet mention to 1 or MAYBE 2 completely trustworthy people to help you through dealing with such a traumatized child – this is publicly sharing information that is NOBODY’s BUSINESS. Is there any way this child does not now have to go to church and the store and (well I guess not school) and deal with the fact that EVERYONE knows she was sexually abused? They protect the identity of children in these cases to the best of their ability for a REASON. Sharing that info is abuse, and there’s no excuse for that!

  13. I am unable to access the text of the petition. Can you make that available? I don’t sign petitions if I cannot read the text first. Thank you so much.

  14. I cannot sign the petition the page won’t open I don’t if that is due to volume or not. But Praying for the Tutt family!

    • Rosemary, Sorry the volume of response has cased problems on our server. and we are attempting to fix that problem.

  15. The court records are public records. Has anyone bothered to look at a copy of the affidavit of removal? There are 2 sides to every story. I’d be interested to know what CPS ‘s side of the story is before jumping to any conclusions.

    • I talked this morning to the state CPS director of educational issues in response to my letter to the guardian ad litem appointed by the judge to clarify for her that there is no such think in Texas as “educational neglect”. CPS official agreed with me and are working with us. This was evidently an action by the judge not a CPS request. Action was taken in an Ex-parte hearing in which the parents were not represented nor notified of the hearing.

      • I’m just curious how you think the judge knew anything about this case if CPS did not file a petition for the emergency or non-emergency removal of these children for there to be an Ex-Parte hearing to begin with.

        • CPS did ask for an Ex-Parte hearing and the judge issued an order to remove the children which was done seven days later…hardly an emergency for the imminent physical safety of the children.

          • Ex-Parte hearings are conducted all the time. Ex-Parte means that the parties are NOT notified of the hearing. The Tutt’s will be, and most likely have been, notified of all subsequent hearings.

          • KA, Yes they happen all the time and this case is a classic example of what can happen. The case worker who signed the affidavit has testified in two hearings now that noting worthy of removing the children was found and in fact she was asking for an order to force compliance with a request for psychological evaluation of mom but acknowledged that mom believed she had complied with that request and had not been informed by the caseworker that she disagreed. The caseworker did not even attend the hearing but used language from the Family Code that the children were in imminent danger and the judge ordered removal…why? We will never know because no one was there to represent the family or their children who have been ripped from their parents for months! Yes, these Ex-Parte hearing happen all the time and often they should not.

    • CPS makes sure the right words are used to get the children removed. The same thing happened to our family and the affidavit to remove the children was filled with nothing but lies.
      Whether the family is a good one or a bad one the affidavit will say the same thing. “No one in the family able or willing to take the children so they have to be placed with the state.” Two of the family members were already state qualified to foster children and had been doing so for over 20 years. Neither of these family members were approached.
      THEY DO WHAT THEY WANT, and pretend to follow their own guidelines.

  16. Has there been attempts to get a local news network to cover this? Surely the parents haven’t been quiet about this for 6 weeks. This is truly shocking – sounds like Germany, not the United States.

    • Local media has been contacted.

    • It is very common not to hear from the biased, left wing media on most anything having to do with issues pertaining to conservatives and their rights being violated. These judges and court advocates here are nothing but socialistic bullies and I’ll bet my life – left wing supporters of Obama.

      • Why are you making this a political conservative vs. liberal thing? I am a hard core liberal and I home school and have children. Your statements make no sense. This is not a conservative vs. liberal issue.

        • I agree!

        • Thank you for making this clear. This affects anyone and everyone who wants to be able to raise their own children as they (reasonably) see fit.

        • This is not a liberal/conservative issue in the sense that it has a negative impact on the parental rights of liberals and conservatives alike. But it is a political issue in the sense that it belongs within the broader conversation about the kind of society we want to preserve and pass on to our children.

          The essence of progressivism is placing trust in science and expertise to bring the right order to society. The assumption that “professional” education is going to be better for children than parental education is essentially a progressive point of view. Not every progressive shares it, and we can all be thankful for that; but it does find its natural home on that side of the political spectrum.

      • This is not political. I’m the one who personally handed over two of the kids to the Tutts that they eventually adopted! (and I celebrated with them on that adoption day!) I’m a left-wing liberal atheist who works more than most (except the Tutts) to help underserved children. I’m working on media connections. Obama – love him or hate him – he has nothing to do with this. It’s just a lightening rod people like to put up. Rather – I’d like to see your real arguments (or better yet your real actions) to serve others. Easy to talk the talk – please – come on and walk the walk with me.

        • I agree this is not political. It is about CPS an judges who do not follow the law and have little or no regard for parental rights.

  17. We are praying here in Nebraska. Were they members of the HSLDA? Or did they have a local attorney representing them? Just wondering if the HSLDA is involved since this is such an obvious injustice in our legal system.

    • HSLDA is aware of the situation. THSC is working with local attorney representing the family and helping with the cost of the legal defense.

  18. Has the family contacted HSLDA? This definitely seems like a case they would be interested in. How absolutely pernicious; the liberal Cities and Counties of an other wise conservative state (TX), continue to allow those in authority to overstep the law and persecute those with whom they disagree. Praying for the Tutts and for a confounding and thwarting of those who are persecuting them.

    • The family did make HSLDA aware of their situation.

      • Can you comment as to why HSLDA has chosen not to become involved in this situation? Considering the interest and resources that have gone into the German family, it seems uncharacteristic.

        • I can’t speak for HSLDA. They were copied with the same information on this case that we received.

          • I think you answered your own question there, Manda… The Romaneike’s case has international implications. While this case is important and a miscarriage of justice, it is pretty common from what I have seen. HSLDA has a policy to work for their members only that is clearly stated on their web site. Many deviations from that policy and you’d have no one applying for membership, just calling them up when they got in trouble.

          • Thank you – for not just myself, but on behalf of all homeschoolers in Texas – for what you and your team do, Tim!

  19. Mrs. Tutt, Karma will come back to all involved. What an outrageous thing to do to these kids. They are deliberately hurting the kids, not helping, that’s when the CPS/DHS/FIA and co agency like the police do whatever they want to call it to get their way no matter how bad they hurt someone.

    TX has way too many people on the registry. We looked at moving there and decided Michigan, TX, Florida and several other states are excessive and do not allow parents to parent. The social work gang with the bottom of the barrel education should not be allowed to make life altering decisions and document things that can permanently hurt families and children. My opinion lack of education. People that can’t make it as teachers are thrown into Social Work. So sad. Then police, not sure depends on where you are and how educational standards are set in different areas. We have pretty good police in Michigan, but Texas, maybe gestapo sounds like? Many people like power when they get in their positions, including a judge from a controlling mother I’m guessing. He finally has power, but wrong way to exploit your own problems judge. Did you ever think you were hurting 9 immediate family members, probably grandmothers and grandfathers, probably aunts and uncles and cousins, the number is huge just for spite and a stupid made up report. SICK and I hope he is disbarred.

    • Karma has nothing to do with it. And this judge does not represent the norm in Texas. If all the facts have been presented, she should be removed from the bench for acting outside of her office. For the most part, people are flocking to Texas because we still have conservative values. Just ask Glenn Beck. I pray Michigan is good to you.

  20. This is crazy! I am from Duncanville and homeschooled and NEVER reported anything to the state, school district, etc. Unlike the law for PA where I’m now living and homeschooling. Praying for this family for God to vindicate them soon. Lord have mercy.

  21. How sad and horrible for these children and the adoptive parents! We need to pray for God’s will in this matter and the Judge will get her heart right with God.

  22. Praying for this to be resolved ! Quickly

    Can Canadians sign the petition yet

  23. Will be praying for this family, and for homeschool freedom in Texas

  24. Shannon Caraker

    I say file charges against this judge ASAP! I signed the petition and shared
    This story with others. What a sad state of affairs we are in if
    Children can illegally be taken away! If guilty, where will this find the judge?
    Will she have her title and job stripped from her?

  25. Shannon Caraker

    But I am praying for this whole situation. Especially, the judge.

  26. I’m sick to my stomach reading this!! I thought judges were supposed to PROTECT people and UPHOLD the law, not BULLY them and ABUSE the law.

    • I have never been to the States, but from what I have seen on the show Cops (which may or moay not be a good representation), the police there seem to have absolute power over people. Most of the time, I think that the cops there are all out for glory for themselves. I saw an episode where a guy had rescued a child who had fallen in a pool and drowned. The police arrived and thanked him… then promptly arrested the guy for some reason that wasn’t fully explained. While I livve in a country with rather relaxed laws, I find that level of policing far too intense! Bullies? For sure!

  27. This is standard operating procedure for CPS. Because people see the families involved in these kind of cases as bad parents, no one ever believes them when they try to tell others about the abuse. Many are afraid to speak out because of fears that they may never get their children back. I’ve taken care of foster children and have seen both good parents and bad lose their children. They never have a voice and CPS plays God with them all. The children they remove from the families are traumatized after being uprooted. It is sad but the whole system needs to be examined and CPS needs to be held accountable just like any other authority. I heard Judge Judy during an interview recount how when her daughter called about a small burn her child received. Judy had told her to treat it herself and not go into the hospital. Even she was afraid of CPS.

    • Kathy, I’m sorry you feel this way. CPS is highly regulated and has a tremendous amount of evidence they must meet before validating abuse or neglect on anyone. Not to mention, it is a judge, not CPS, that has the power to remove someone’s children. Their complete handbook of state policies is online at dfps.state.tx.us if you care to do some quality research on the matter, not to mention the Texas Family Code. As I said in another comment on this thread, there are 2 sides to every story and we are only getting one side of it here. If a parent of an infant with 2 broken legs told you that CPS removed their kid for no good reason, and they didn’t do anything wrong, and that CPS is just a big tyrant that goes around doing as they please, would you believe them? The fact is, almost everyone who has had their children taken away from them blame everyone but themselves and never take responsibility for what they did. You’re not going to hear someone say they made mistakes. No one likes admitting they did something wrong. The trouble is, you can usually see physical evidence of abuse; neglect is a different story. It’s much easier to hide from everyone else. That makes it easier to claim you didn’t do anything wrong and blame CPS for being tyrants with no valid reason to everyone else who is not privy to the confidential records of the case.

      • Nicolette,
        You are correct that CPS is highly regulated and has policies in place that should protect innocent children and families. However, it is the judge’s responsibility to hold CPS to the requirements of the law and in this case (as is too often the case) either the judge did not do so or actually instigated the removal on her own.

        I agree with you that no one likes to admit they are wrong and that is doubly true when it comes to CPS caseworkers and judges who are highly motivated to protect themselves from illegal actions against families and children or those that are in violation for CPS policy. As I have said in other comments, the Family Code requires the judge to have evidence of imminent physical danger to remove children that is a higher standard than neglect.

        • We are both saying the same thing here. What I’m also trying to say, and what a few other people have had sense enough to say already, is that you are giving us a thoroughly biased side of this story and you likely do not have info that is the missing pieces to this puzzle because CPS is bound by confidentiality.

          • That is true, however, I am also saying that the attorney representing the Tutts has said the affidavit provided to them does not meet the standard required by the family code and the judges order for removal was not executed for seven days. That would indicate that either it was not an emergency or CPS failed to remove the children from an imminent physically dangerous situation for seven days.

          • Mary Ellen Mitchell

            CPS has been allowed to operate outside of the law in too many cases. I have talked with too many people with firsthand experience with CPS caseworkers who push their own biased agenda with no concern for the child’s well-being. Their decisions are subjective, emotional and fraught with a drive for power. It is a dangerous arm of the government and to assume that they are good-willed and well-intentioned is a mistake.

          • It seems you don’t know much about how decisions are made at CPS. But I challenge anyone to do that job with the measly salary they receive along with the overwhelming caseloads and see if you still have the same opinion. I guarantee you they don’t do it for the money. They do it because they have a passion and calling for helping others, namely the most vulnerable populations that cannot protect themselves. It’s a thankless job with people constantly criticizing them with little to no real understanding of what they do.

          • It seems you don’t seem to be aware of the many times caseworkers violate CPS policy or the law. I don’t disagree with you that CPS caseworkers have a difficult job, but its a little hard to have compassion for someone with a hard job when your children have been wrongly taken from you. Overwhelming caseloads are a result of CPS campaign to encourage anyone with the slightest concern to contact CPS and make anonymous allegations. This policy results in the high caseload with most being trivial or unfounded and caseworkers not able to spend the time needed on important cases. That is neither the fault of the caseworker nor the families.

            THSC sponsors an annual CLE training for family law attorneys and we always hear lots of stories about CPS workers who do these kinds of actions that are illegal or a violation of their own policies and the judge who let them do so. I certainly understand that there are good well meaning caseworkers but there also plenty who don’t do their jobs well or simply try to cover themselves when they do things that are illegal or against policy that hurt children and families.

          • Nicolette and Tim, I agree with parts of what both of you are saying. The story reads as though the children are only being removed due to being homeschooled. As a former CPS investigator, we were not allowed to get involved with home school issues. There seems to be a piece missing from the story because being homeschooled does not warrant a removal (or it did not warrant one several years ago). Unsanitary living conditions, concerns with a persons mental health, ability to supervise children adequately, an abuse outcry from a child, and such would be a reason. Caseworkers cannot hardly make any decisions without talking to their supervisor first. It could be that the caseworker did not have an issue but their supervisor did for whatever reason. With that being said, CPS is supposed to be highly regulated and they do have a lot of policies but many workers use their authority to strong arm families into their own personal beliefs and often operate outside of the policies. I have had to remove children when I did not agree with it because my supervisor told me to “just to make sure.” I could write an affidavit of removal that made any situation be a removal and I could write the same situation as having all “risk factors controlled” so I could close a case that had been open to long. My husband and I are college graduates, have a higher income than most, never had a history with CPS, and are respected in our community but I could probably make a case for my child being placed outside of the home today. Why? Well, my son has had friends over for the last two days so my house is a disaster. They were wrestling like boys do so my son has a few bruises. I was supervising them on the four wheelers for the last two days so there are dishes out and I won’t even mention the laundry. If CPS looks into my past they will see I was abused as a child. I also currently take a low dose of medication for anxiety. My husband and I almost separated several years ago. Normal stuff in my opinion but a CPS worker could come in and say my son has unexplained bruises, the house was a disaster, I have a history of being abused, I take medication for “mental” issues, and my husband and I are not in a “stable” relationship. Those are a lot of risk factors that could look really bad on paper. After working at CPS and seeing how overworked, underpaid, undertrained, and burnt out the caseworkers are (not to mention the ones who have authority issues), I would never willingly let a random caseworker interview my child or come into my home without a court order. It might seem like I hate CPS. I do not. I think CPS is necessary and a lot of children have been protected. It is better to be safe than sorry and there is typically some issue for a child to be removed but this system that is designed to protect the children is often the system to victimizes and traumatizes the children the most.

        • My father worked for CPS for over 10 yrs and I can tell you that CPS follows the state law unless a supervisor has an agenda, then the case workers have to walk a line between the law and the supervisor, unless the case worker agrees with the said agenda then not even an attempt is made to walk a line between the two.
          CPS workers are just as flawed as the rest of us overworked and often jaded.

        • @Nicolette

          It seems apparent that you have a bit of a ‘dog in this fight’. Your defense of CPS is extraordinary. I’ve not seen someone defend a government agent/agency since.. well, the whole of Federal Government defending its own egregious, unconstitutional, and immoral actions.

          Interesting.

  28. Does anyone have a link to the states case against the Tutts? I hate jumping on the “Oh we’re being persecuted” bandwagon without hearing both sides of the story from representative sources.

    • The removal order from the judge simply ordered the removal. The affidavit filed by CPS is not a public document but attorney for the Tutt’s states that it does not contain evidence required by the Family Code to justify removal.

    • I agree, Eric. While the story here seems outrageous, I cannot sign this petition without some documentation of these “facts.” There are no citations, links, reports in the media, court case numbers, etc. to go on. At this point it is simply hearsay. I would love to support this family if there were something to show this story is actually true.

      • It may be hearsay, true. But this is going on all over the country. You can find story after story of CPS making their own laws and enforcing them at whim.

    • CPS has their standard answers and you will never hear their side of the story. “They can’t discuss the case”

    • I literally can’t tell if Nicollette is serious or joking…?

  29. SO angry, I pray this is over soon for this family! The judge needs to be removed from the bench and imprisoned for misuse of judicial “powers”.

    • I have heard that some are seeking to call this judge. That is not appropriate. We will pursue measures to hold this unelected judge accountable. The best thing to do at this point is to make this situation known as widely as possible.

  30. This is all normal behavior for most Judges in Dallas county, especially in cps, child custody cases. The judges sitting on the benches there all think their GOD and they can do as well as they please with everyones children.My son faught for custody of his child removed from the mother by cps, and got custody with the help from dallas cps but the judge that had that case is an arrogant, smart ass that has no right to be sitting on any bench. Judges have way too much power, and you cant do anything to them and they know this.. So, all of you people can sign the petition or complaint but NOTHING will be done about that judge……. Holier than thou idiots that think they have the rights to do anything to any child..

    • It is true that criminals have more rights and protections in court than do parents in family court cases and it is difficult to hold these judges accountable, but it is possible. Drawing the public’s attention is the best way. Recently a judge in Galveston was forced to resign as a result of improper actions brought to the bright light of public attention. A Houston judge has drawn three primary opponents as a result of her actions that have also been brought to the public’s attention. We need to do the same thing here.

  31. First off, I will absolutely support the right of anyone to safely home school and/or keep their child(ren) at home! But I’m a little confused on the details of this story. The article says the Tutts have eleven children (including 3 that do not live at home) and one in the process of adoption. The article then says the Tutts have 12 children in their home. And does this mean that CPS has removed 5 non-biological children plus the two biological? Please clarify, making edits in the article if necessary.

    • Tim – you stated that this judge (Judge Graciela Olvera) is an “Associate Judge” which means she is not elected but appointed by other judges in Dallas County. I found a 2008 news article about another judge in Texas named Rolando Olvera Jr. being elected as a State District Judge. Hmmm…….

      Here is that link: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.brownsvilleherald.com%2Fnews%2Felections%2Farticle_a45414e8-be5e-50d5-869f-924f6970971f.html&h=5AQFDCHum

      • All judges in the Family Court are elected. Their terms end in 2014. Some are running for re-election. All judges on Family and Probate bench are democrats.

        • Gerry,
          All of the judges are not elected. The judge in this case was an “associate” judge which means she was appointed by another judge or judges. An appeal can be made to a judge which is elected which has been done in this case. As I mentioned before, this is not a Republican vs Democrat issue or liberal vs conservative. If you glance at our Texas Judicial Wall of Shame, you will find most of the judges are Republicans. The issue is that they do not value parental rights, are not following the law and/or will not hold CPS to what the law requires.

          • Tim,

            As this was a flagrant due process violation, was habeas corpus relief sought on behalf of the Tutts and if so, what was the response? If not, why? I didn’t see any mention of this consideration in any of the updates I read…

            Thank you for your efforts and info! Good to see the recent progress.

            Oman

    • The Tutt’s have two grown children. A son who is a junior at Texas A&M and a married daughter with children. They had two biological children at home at the time and two adopted children as well as two children whom they were pursuing a private adoption. They also were hosting a sibling group of five children in an emergency placement through an organization called Safe Families as well as an infant for CPS. By the time the court ordered the removal, the sibling group and infant had been moved in the normal course of events. So the seven children removed were the two biological, three adopted and two in the process of adoption.

  32. How are the Tutts’ adult children doing? Did they go to college? Are they in college? Were they home schooled? Are they thriving? This would go a long way to answering the validity of the State’s claims.

    • Tutts have a son who is a junior at Texas A&M and an daughter who is married with children also doing well. Both were home schooled.

      • The Tutts must have done a good job of educating their children. It’s very difficult to get accepted into Texas A&M and the fact that he’s a junior shows he’s made it through two tough years of college.

    • The Tutt’s married daughter has already stated publicly that she believes her siblings should not have been removed and she seems to be a totally normal person. There are many people (even public schooled *gasp!* who don’t attend college and live fulfilling and purposeful lives).

  33. The damage to these children emotionally and mentally for being uprooted from what appears to be a good home, and moved to strange environments with people they don’t know, will be tremendous. If there IS abuse in their home, that’s different.

    If all that is written in this story is true, and it appears to be, this is insanity in it’s purest form by people we support with our tax dollars, and are supposed to trust. We are supporting bullies here.

  34. This is crazy my husband and I are also foster parents and we do everything we can to help the children in our home. We also have 4 biological children one that is married of course but, to have something like this come up..Well its absurd and either the judge is biased or a liberal just saying..prayers for the Tutts and know we are all rooting for u guys love taking care of children…In Jesus name Amen and Amen

  35. God has such great timing. Just as the Sunset Commission must start evaluating the initial data for the DFPS review, a CPS employee shows insubordination towards their job as defined in the Texas CPS handbook along with violating Texas law and recklessly endangering the children by transporting them without the required car seats during a non-emergency removal. Many other factors indicate the possibility of other laws having been violated. It will be interesting to see how this case plays out.

    • Unfortunately the laws will not apply to CPS. They can do whatever they want and get away with it. People are too afraid to fight, out of fear that they will never get the children back.

  36. I signed the Tutt petition, but was uncomfortable that you require my address and email, Is email not enough? I definitely want to get their situation out to all my facebook friends, but I am afraid they will not sign it if they have to put their address. I wuld think that the email and zip code would be sufficient just as other groups that ask for petitions to be signed. Thank you.

  37. Mary Ellen Mitchell

    Thank you, Tim, for your continued service and for fighting for parents and our right to homeschool. What kind of repercussions are there for people who remove children from a home with no cause? It seems to me that there should be criminal charges against the GAL, at the very least. And while putting this judge on the Wall of Shame is certainly apropos, it doesn’t seem strong enough.
    Praying for the Lord to repay them for what the locusts have eaten.

  38. Hope everything will be resolved asap. I have had similar situation few year ago. My parents had custody of my three kids and we both weren’t informed about one court date. My kids’ dad and other grandma were indeed informed and they showed up. Judge told cps to remove my kids from my parents for being no show. That happened in Canton Texas. And ended up splitting all of them in foster home for year before putting them in my three family home.

  39. It is tragic that this kind of overreaching by CPS is becoming increasingly common. Our family courts need to stop simply rubber stamping everything CPS wants and ensure that the Constitutional rights of parents are respected and that the rule of law is upheld. And CPS needs to be reminded by our Judges that their job is supposed to be to protect children – not to advance a far left agenda that humiliates stay at home moms and ostracizes home school families.

  40. If a child is behind academically in public school, can we remove all of the children from that school and force them to be home schooled? My son was behind in public school, but I didn’t see a case worker removing him from said school?

  41. I’m from the UK where this is becoming a problem. This is disgusting and I wish, as a home schooler myself, I could sign x

  42. praying for all involved…

  43. I didn’t see Heather Moody’s judge on that page, nor did I see the nasty Judge Olvera yet. Hurry and slap her up there. Can these judges get FIRED? Seriously… this stuff needs to be made known to the people in their district. I volunteer to canvas neighborhoods!

    • Judges cannot be fired, but they can have ethics charges filed on them, they can quit under public pressure.

  44. I unfortunately can believe this. My family went through something similar with a GAL who did very little on her part to get to the truth of any matter. She outright said children do NOT need fathers and made her report reflect what she wanted. I believe the children are in foster care so the system can get more money, also if CPS was so concerned with the amount of children in the home why send more. I will definitely be praying for this family.

  45. Same thing happened to our family in New Mexico.
    It is shameful the amount of power over families, these people have been given.
    Bad things happened to the children in foster care. To date there has been no accountability.

  46. We will be praying for this family and for Homeschool Freedom in the state of Texas.

  47. A few observations:
    i. If an order is unlawful, it may not and must not be followed, regardless of who signs it. Those following the judge’s order are also culpable, should the facts bear out as indicated above.
    ii. It seems that the judge may need some remedial instruction on interpreting the law given a particular fact scenario versus merely making law to support a bias of CPS or other officials. If the quotes above are true, the bias is proven.
    iii. While it seems the unusually long hearing was meant to provide an ample record for the decision, the length and content reported may indicate a presupposed bias. As Shakespeare wrote, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Was the die cast before the opening gavel? This, of course, should be easily discoverable should the judge and CPS officials be subpoenaed to testify or deposed as to their personal opinions regarding home education.
    iv. Was it error for the parent to send an 8 year old after the wandering autistic child? Probably, but maybe not. Did that act warrant what appears to be an overreaction by nearly everyone wearing the color of governmental authority? If the facts are as stated above, of course not.
    v. The CPS folks see a lot of the bad in people who abuse kids, and this forms the psyche to approach potential wrongs in a certain manner. Of course, policies and laws are written to re-balance a biased CPS official. The breakdown here appears to have occurred because everyone (the police officer, the CPS, and Court) were overzealous in the prosecution of the matter. Proper training of the judge (item ii above) would have provided the backstop to restraining unwarranted behavior.

    • To clarify one point, the 8 year old was not after the autistic child. He was simply doing what he thought he was supposed to do as an older brother by trying to keep him safe and bring him back.

    • Responding to GL Campbell’s point v.: I agree that CPS workers are likely to be distrustful because of their work. My Dad was a policeman for about 4 years. He talks of it often. One of his main stories is how working as a cop eventually predisposes one to view people in general as either doing something wrong or about to do something wrong. It changed his personality. He still fights this tendency decades later. The reason? Because the vast majority of those they are in contact with day in and day out are those who have broken the law.

      CPS workers must encounter many horrifying situations. It is very easy for me to see that this same process my Dad describes from police work could be the same in the case of CPS workers. Surely they struggle with suspecting parents in every home they go to.

  48. If the judge is taking these children away for being “behind” why don’t we take away children from public schooled children who are “behind”…there are many.

  49. I sent a request for inquiry to Gov. Perry. Here is the contact information should you wish to contact them.

    nformation and Referral Hotline [for Texas callers] :
    (800) 843-5789

    Information and Referral and Opinion Hotline [for Austin, Texas and out-of-state callers] :
    (512) 463-1782

    Office of the Governor Main Switchboard [office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST] :
    (512) 463-2000

    Citizen’s Assistance Telecommunications Device
    If you are using a telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD),
    call 711 to reach Relay Texas
    Office of the Governor Fax:
    (512) 463-1849

  50. This is chilling to hear about. Regardless of the specific circumstances, I have to agree with Tim that this is a terrible overreach. Sure we don’t know both sides of the story yet, but “the affidavit provided to them does not meet the standard required by the family code and the judges order for removal was not executed for seven days. That would indicate that either it was not an emergency or CPS failed to remove the children from an imminent physically dangerous situation for seven days.” This is the point.

  51. Frankly this is a ridiculous article simply designed to ruffle people’s feathers. The writer knows nothing about the child welfare system and how the process works. Not mention how biased this is. Any story like this is immediately biased in nature as you can only get one side if the story. All the writer seems to know is the family’s account of what happened and the opinions of the friends and relatives. The CPS worker and any other professional involved can’t give their side of what happened due to confidentiality. All you have are documents that can be twisted around if you didn’t directly hear the caseworker’s statements in the courtroom. It is very sad that the family had their children removed from their home. However speaking as a CPS caseworker, if I were assigned a case where a special needs child managed to escape the home and was picked up by the police, I’d certainly be considering removing kids too. Especially the ones placed with the family from outside with the intent of keeping them safe. Questionsble education and a history of unsanitary conditions would make that decision a little easier.

  52. This is horrific and hard to believe is happening right here in our area! I have seen home-schooled young people who are some of the brightest, sharpest, respectful, and well-behaved young people I know!

  53. Author: PLEASE insert the NAMES and contact information of ALL the government and government enablers accessory to this criminal assault by CPS on this family. They must be held personally responsible for this.

  54. Not just judges and CPS workers in Texas who clearly overstep the law. Lost guardianship of my wife to lies and misrepresentations, by a judge, totally without me being notified.

  55. I want to exhort all homeschooling families to action in their community, group and family leaders reaching out to others who don’t even know about homeschooling but what they are told via various media. I believe homeschooling is on the target list and will come under attack, federally and elsewhere and public perception is important. Step outside your door and your comfort zone before it is too late. Engage, run for office and influential positions or encourage and support those who will. In our town of over 75k it only costs $10 to get your name on the ballot; don’t assume it’s too costly.

  56. Praying for this family right now!

  57. This is the consequence of the dangerous notion that the collective, i.e. the State, owns your kids. It’s a very sad story, and my heart and prayers go out to the Tutt Family.

  58. Why would a normal family need so many adopted and/or fostered children in the family? To support their sectarian world views? Why would they finally stop at number 10 and have enough time to take care of them.

  59. My question to this and any similar situation is what exactly is going to be better than what they have? There isn’t a better situation for these kids period. Ok, a child wanders away. Did it happen more than once? Did they neglect to rectify the situation? I have a son with Autism. I have a total of 2 children. This can happen. We have special locks on our doors because of it and I never leave my son. But one moment can make the differenc eand it can happen to anybody. Shame on the judge for doing this behind the backs of this family.

  60. Texas is not a Sovereign Republic. It is a state, a part of the United States of America.

  61. I’ve been trying for several hours to fact check your information. The court cases in Texas are all listed in their respective county courts online and I’ve not been able to find any case with their last name. Not only that but there is no judge at all in Dallas County named Graciela Olvera. The 265th court judge is Hon. David Lopez. Please tell me where exactly you have gotten your information from.

  62. What about the state law that says that foster families cannot have more than 6 children total in their home? The Tutt’s were in violation of that law. Why? Why did the not know about that law?

    http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adoption_and_Foster_Care/Get_Started/requirements.asp

    That, in and of itself, warrants removal of the foster children.

    • CPS had placed the infant in the home with full knowledge of how many children were then in the home. The sibling group of 5 were placed by a private agency and all of these children had been moved on by the time CPS removed the 7 children biological, adopted and in the process of adoption from the Tutts. Thus the foster children were not removed by CPS but the children of the Tutts.

  63. I have been a home schooling mom, then a foster parent by request of CPS, then an adoptive parent of the foster children. Going through the process, I know that one of the statements I had to sign was that the foster children would not be homeschooled, but attend public school. The purpose was two-fold. It enabled the state to provide two meals a day and check to see if there was any physical abuse. We (my husband and I)understood this requirement when we agreed to take in the children.

    Perhaps a missing component of this story is that the autistic child was a foster child who was supposed to be attending public school?

    If that is not the case, then it seems there is a gross miscarriage of justice, but not for the parents, for the kids! The fact at least ten of the kids had been placed with the family means they had been removed from previous families/placements and this is only one more opportunity to instill a fear in them. The ad litum attorney missed an important fact – kids need stability.

    • The kids placed with the family were not being home schooled and were in the home on a temporary basis and you are correct that CPS policy does not allow children in foster care to be home schooled unless they are in a permanent situation like adoption.

  64. This is regarding the Tutt family. I am a former law enforcement officer and have had experience battling against CPS and working with CPS. I would like to see legislation place CPS investigators civilly liable for the misrepresentation they write in their investigations. I discovered they are immuned to civil liability. I would also like to see that CPS case files be partially open records and that the accuser be known to the person who are being accused. I assisted a lady battle against CPS and I am actively gathering case information on her and plan to write a book. DId you know that many of the CPS investigators have limited training on investigation themselves? Most of them have degrees in social work. I am not sure what they are teaching in social work but many of these investigators are applying their personal beliefs into their work and the lives of o thers. If we cant get legislation to pass on these issues I have mentioned then I would like to write a book on how to defend against CPS and i would like to see Judges be more held liable as well for not following the laws. It is my suggestion that people do not cooperate with CPS. In spite of what many lawyers may say, I was a law enforcement officer and I understand about investigations. I say, do not cooperate and do not allow them into your home. If they want to talk to you then talk to them outside your home on the porch. Do not give them reason or probable cause. You have rights and even if you have rights CPS will document you for not cooperating. This is not accurate documentation in an investigation. How can a person be looked upon negatively for expressing their rights. CPS does not follow the rules. Trust me, I have alot of information on CPS and have studied them. In my past working with CPS, I have had issues with CPS taking children I thought was a risk of imminent danger. I too am looking for support. In time I would like for your assistance in my endeavors for support. One last suggestion. If a CPS case worker shows up to your home and since they have no arrest powers,I cant see where they cant be enforced for a criminal trespass violation. For this post I have given limited information so for readers, yes you will have questions but the story is much longer. The just of this, is that the people of Texas needs to seriously consider modifying CPS.

    • One last comment I forgot. In this case the CPS case worker failed to identify herself as a caseworker. Upon request for her identification, she was reluctant and was told to leave the property which she later documented that the lady in question was uncooperative. CPS case workers are required to identify themselves since they are government representatives and it is a requirement in their rules.

      • I would like to comment on my posted comments. The reason I mention not to cooperate is not to appear as though you as the individual to be bad person. I mention this because of their lack of professionalism, their lack of training on collecting and knowing the differences of someone who is deceptive, their methods of documentation in misrepresenting the true facts, and their high demands of clearing stacked cases. I write this to as a means of protecting or giving good people some form or forum to look at or to think through. Lawyers will tell you the opposite of what i recommend but here is my question to all those lawyers, “why do you tell clients to never talk to the police?” Isnt this the same philosophy that can be used for CPS? I think since CPS case workers can not be held civilly liable then why talk to them or cooperate? If each citizen complies with the rules and their rights and since CPS does NOT follow the rules, you will be identified as being uncooperative. You do the math.

        • A part of any parent’s equipment should be a video recorder, so that any interaction with CPS is on record.

  65. There’s not enough information in this article to know for sure, but it sounds as though Judge Olvera’s actions constitute cause of action for abuse of process.

    1. The plaintiff was served with valid, legal process;
    2. The defendants made an illegal, improper, or perverted and unauthorized use of the process after process was issued and had no proper purpose in using the process;
    3. The defendants had an ulterior motive or purpose in using the process and did not have any proper purpose in using the process;
    4. The plaintiff is not simply complaining about a frivolous or malicious lawsuit; and
    5. The plaintiff suffered an injury as a result of the improper use of process that is beyond what is ordinarily involved in the defense of a lawsuit.

    Were these met? Perhaps.

    1. This will be decided on January 7th. If the decision to remove the kids doesn’t get reversed, then yes. Following an appeal to a higher court, a criminal case could be returned to those who forced the original action against the Tutts. If it does get reversed, then there’s grounds for a civil suit.
    2. “No proper purpose” doesn’t mean that there weren’t any good intentions, but rather that those good intentions were not properly supported by actionable facts. That’s certainly how it sounds in this article.
    3. Res ipsa loquitur.
    4. There’s nothing frivolous about the state taking one’s children away.
    5. There’s nothing harmless about the state taking one’s children away.

  66. Having done foster care myself for 15 years (and homeschooling my 5 biological children who are all in their 20s and successful in college and careers) it is not uncommon for foster children to come to you with grave deficits in their education up to that point. Certainly children with special needs in the public school are often not at grade level either. It’s also not uncommon for traumatized children to have difficulty remembering how to spell their name or answer other academic questions so simply by having been removed from their home they were likely to do poorly on “tests”. It’s certainly uniformed for CPS to fault the homeschooling environment in the home for the children’s lack of educational advancement without much more information on where the children were at educationally prior to placement with the family. Some of my biological children did attend public school for a while, and I was very unimpressed (as were they) with the education they received despite some great teachers who truly cared. The public school system is very broken, and while not all home schooling families are doing a good job educating their children, it’s very important to allow them the same special education standards children are held to in the public school system when they’ve been undereducated prior to placement or when they have special needs.

  67. It seems all the emphasis is on the home-schooling, yet if their 4 and 8 year old children could wonder off alone, that clearly shows the children were not safe or properly supervised.
    Luckily for everyone, the Police picked them up and not a paedophile else we would be reading a very different story.

    • The 8-yr-old went to find the 4-yr-old. There are many 8-yr-olds who have to walk to school by themselves. Are they neglected? So this is socially acceptable but it’s not okay for an 8-yr-old to save his younger, autistic sibling? This was a responsible 8-yr-old who wasn’t able to get the 4-yr-old home by himself. I’m thankful to not have an autistic child, but they can be very sensitive to unfamiliar environments and it’s completely understandable that the 8-yr-old wasn’t able to get him home under these circumstances. There are many instances where autistic (and other challenged children and adults) wander from home. Families try many things short of chaining them up. I don’t know this families situation but please try to learn more before condemning them. The other children were notifying their father. This is a case where the family is scorned b/c they are religious, homeschool, and have too many children. Hmmm…. Isn’t that how all families were raised in the old days?

  68. Is Dallas County CASA involved with the case? If not, I would appeal to them to get involved in order to make an independent recommendation to the court after their thorough investigation.

  69. What papers did the constables serve on the Tutts? Did the Tutts turn over the children as a matter of good will without seeing the papers? CPS has become an organization of case workers drunk on their power. Make a big spllash and get noticed.

    Sorry CPS, all my children have left the nest and are productive citizens even though they were homeschooled.

    • Judge Olvera issued a removal order that allowed CPS to remove the Tutt’s children against their will.

  70. The case is being heard in the 256th Court of Dallas County. The elected Judge is Garcia. Ex Parte hearings conducted in secrecy should be outlawed.

    Anyone interested in the case can google Dallas County Courts. Click online search, then family courts. Enter the case number or party name. A complete list of the case and all filings will show up.

  71. Has it occurred to anyone to tell the Case Worker that a possible reason the children are academically behind is because they have been moved around so much or in a bad situation for achieving academic success before coming to the Tutt’s home, AND that probably the best thing that can happen to them is to be Home Schooled to fill in the gaps that are missing in their education. A public school teacher with a classroom of 30 or more children will have a terrible time trying to find time to zero in on the needs of a child entering this late in the school year.

  72. I want to home school my daughter next year and know my ex-husband will try and take me to court (in Dallas), although I have full educational discretion. I’ve dealt with the same demeanor from the Dallas Judge Hockett, that disliked me from day one of my divorce case, and tried to prove me unfit on many occasions, while she sent my daughter to her dad, who abandoned us to take an aviation job in the Middle East. I ended up giving my ex everything we collectively owned, to get my daughter back, but the year and a half trial was extremely costly and caused severe anxiety and fear of my ex taking me to court for deciding to homeschool next year.
    I wish this family the best of luck and will pray for the return of their children. Kids belong at home, not in foster care, unless their safety is at risk. This is absurd!

  73. We are parents of four children. We fostered children through CPS for over 2 years. It was almost 3 years. In that timewe had 14 children in and out of our house.CPS always had us at a maximum capacity. We never had any complaints and they always had tons of compliments for us. Our whole goal on doing foster care was adoption which we were never able to accomplish.we had a child at home that kept hurting himself that was a foster child. We repeatedly told CPS that he was hurting himself. They did not do anything about it and would not give approval for him to get services. He finally hit his head so severely on new years eve of last year that we took him to the ER. It took an hour and a half for us to get permission to take him to the ER.they took him out of my house saying it was neglect. Andalthough we fought their allegations for this whole year they still say that it was child abuse neglect. We were never charged and actually the police dismissed it and said that he had hurt himself. The ER doctor even said he had hurt himself. He hurt his self harm himself in the ER room in front of the ER doctor. Buy it now if you check the state registry for child abuse our names are on there. It is really embarrassing for our family. I had been doing childcare in my home for 10 years before Foster care. My previous child care clients are outraged in the way that I’ve been treated. They know that I would never treat a child that way or my husband. I feel terribly for this family because they did nothing wrong and they’re being penalized by an unjust system. CPS has been given too much power.

  74. I sure hope that they report the lawyer and the judge to the ethics committee or wherever they need to. Such blatant disregard for the law and parental rights is horrible. Praying that the family is reunited soon – before they damage the kids too much more.

  75. They have updated their Facebook page. 4 children will be returned tomorrow (Praise God for this!), but they must attend public school as part of the *current* deal.

    Tim, doesn’t this set an ugly precedent for homeschooling in TX? I know it’s not over until it’s over, but this is asinine! CPS takes children with no grounds, drags all concerned through the mud, children are traumatized and then they get what they wanted all along: the children public school.

    I’m sick for these folks, their children and the walls closing in on parental rights.

    • Kari, This is a step in the right direction but not good. It is clear that some have a negative view toward home schooling and it is being used the detriment of home schooling families.

  76. What happened in Court yesterday? Why would 4 be required to attend public school? K-12.com online is offered as an alternative to attending public school. Did they not have an option to attend private school?

  77. Why would the kids have to return to public school? K-12.com is an online homeschool program sponsored by the public school system.

    I guess the nutty ad litem thinks this program need social skills also.

    What happened in Court yesterday. The online actions have not been updated yet.

    • Four children to be returned today after school but remain in public school and two children in the process of adoption to stay in foster care at this time. One biological child to stay with biological father (from Mrs. Tutt’s first marriage.) The CPS caseworker insisted she did not ask for the children to be removed, but her affidavit included the legal language that the children “were in immediate physical danger.”

  78. The information we have comes from those present in the hearings, which were open to the public, and public information.

  79. I would like to know how the hearing went. I am reading this on Jan. 11. I am praying for this family.

  80. In my opinion the CPS worker needs to be investigated based on her comment about “Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!”. If this worker has children, I think they should be removed because apparently this CPS worker hates her kids and seeks ways to neglect them because nobody would want to stay home and raise their kids. Liberal Logic.

    Also, I get so upset with these groups talking about how parents are brainwashing their kids. If you have kids, who is in charge and responsible for raising them, you are. That being said, isn’t it normal and to be expected that you would teach your children your beliefs and values. I’m a Christian therefore I will probably not be sharing the teachings of buddha or allah or atheism, just like I would expect a Muslim to teach her children to be Muslims.

  81. This is outrageous. My heart goes out to this wonderful family.

  82. Renee Poesnecker

    Its sad that laws are not followed and they simply assume that children are somehow harmed because they are home schooled. I home school five of my seven children and I am also a foster/adoptive parent. I do not do it as a religious choice but simply because it fits our lifestyle. My oldest son graduated from a traditional private high school program so I have nothing against schooling it just so happens in this country….we as parents have a choice. I hope these judges and associates are re trained and this never happens again.

  83. I am a mother of 5, 1 with special needs and I homeschool 4 of them. For ANYONE to tell you how to raise your family in the United States is horrible! We currently live in Florida and I can tell you that Texas is a place we will never move up. My heart and prayers go out 1st for the terrified children and 2nd to their parents. Our public education system is failing our children every day!!!!! We should never have to ask to educate our own child period

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