The Tutt family in Dallas County continues to live with the nightmare of Child Protective Services (CPS) illegally removing their children from their home a year ago last November. Government abuse of this family has been well documented in our continuing updates.
In recent weeks Ms. Cecelia Wood, an outstanding family law attorney, has represented this family at numerous hearings for the children and has also filed a second action with the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas. This “writ of mandamus” asks the higher court to free the Tutt family from government interference, in light of the earlier court ruling that the children were unlawfully removed in the first place. The first action filed was denied in short order for lack of an official transcript, which the Tutts were lawfully entitled to but which Judge Callahan delayed providing for months. These were months during which the Tutts’ children remained separated from their parents.
As they fight this uphill battle, the Tutts yearn for their family members to return home. A biological sister of two of the Tutt children already adopted remains in foster care, where she has been for more than a year now. She continues to be reprimanded for saying her last name is “Tutt” but is allowed to visit her two siblings on a weekly basis. Her legal adoption was underway in Tarrant County during the two years she lived with the Tutts, prior to being snatched out of their home, along with the other children. Mysteriously, the pending adoption was dispensed without any notification to the Tutts at all.
CPS seems to be working aggressively to prevent the Tutts from this adoption. The child’s biological mother (in jail, charged with murder) had previously signed a document waiving her parental rights and agreeing to allow the Tutts to adopt her three children, but CPS is now doing all they can to prevent this last adoption.
At the hearing on January 5, CPS presented a man whom they believe may be the child’s father. He has not been employed for more than a decade, and there are other significant issues. Regardless of these grim facts, CPS is working to provide DNA evidence that he is the father, apparently to place the child with him rather than the Tutts. CPS did not have evidence of fatherhood, and the entire trial was postponed until April 22, 2015.
In the meantime Ms. Wood will appeal the ruling of the Fifth Court of Appeals to the Texas Supreme Court, and THSC will also file with the court a “friend of the court,” or amicus brief, in support of the writ of mandamus.
Please continue to pray for the Tutts and specifically for the children in this terrible situation. THSC is happy to stand with the Tutts against this government overreach by providing finances for legal fees, which in this case are approaching $75,000. This situation is egregious, and parents in Texas must not allow it to go unanswered. In addition to the lawsuit, we continue to work with the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), which oversees CPS, to change policies leading to such situations, and we plan to file legislation in this legislative session to reduce these kinds of cases.