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.
 

Sign the Petition to Support the Tutt Family

 
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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This post was written by

Tim Lambert – who has written posts on Texas Home School Coalition.

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108 Comments on “Judge Removes Children Illegally”

  1. 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.

    • 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.

  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. ;)

  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.

  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.

    • 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.

  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. 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. 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.

  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.

  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”

  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.

    • 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!

  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.

  48. 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

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