- April 24, 2019—Have We Forgotten How to Trust Parents?
- April 17, 2019—Who Decides for Children: Parents or the State?
- April 10, 2019—How Education Keeps Us Free
- April 3, 2019—Parents: Keep an Eye on These Four Bills in the Texas Legislature
April 24, 2019
Have We Forgotten How to Trust Parents?
We recently had a hearing in the Texas House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee on Rep. Jeff Leach’s House Bill 2756, the Family Unity Act.
There is nearly 100 years of case law from the Texas Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court stating that when a fit parent is involved in a case with a non-parent (such as CPS, in-laws, etc.) the court should presume that the parent’s decision for his or her child is in the best interest of that child. While this is settled case law, the Texas Family Code does not currently reflect these rules.
At the end of February 2019, the Texas attorney general issued an opinion that was essentially an eight-page treatise on the constitutional right of parents to raise their children. House Bill 2756 matches both the attorney general opinion and the case law. In other words, this legislation simply codifies the case law into the Texas Family Code.
THSC’s Jeremy Newman testified that records from the Texas appeals court cases since the year 2000 show that these cases disproportionately affect single moms who may lack the financial resources to defend themselves.
Forty percent of all family law cases in Texas involve a litigant who does not have an attorney and is therefore representing him or herself. Without the constitutional rules clearly outlined in the law, these parents may have little hope of defending their rights in court.
We believe that many judges and attorneys in Texas are unfamiliar with the case law and most judges believe it is always their responsibility to decide what is in the best interest of the child, even when when a fit parent is involved.
One group testified in opposition to the bill, saying that Child Protective Services (CPS) should be exempt from the bill. It was unclear how they justified exempting CPS from constitutional rules.
A group of children’s attorneys sent out an email warning that the bill created a dangerous presumption that parents are fit parents.
It would seem we live in a society where many people fundamentally disagree with the notion that parents are qualified to raise their own children.
Such opposition to simply putting already-settled case law into the Texas Family Code confirms what we have long seen. There is an anti-parent mentality in much of the Texas Family Law.
Please pray that the Family Unity Act will pass out of committee and be passed into law to protect the families and children of Texas. Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!
April 17, 2019
Who Decides for Children: Parents or the State?
Recently I had a visit with a legislator in Austin who seemed to be confused by some of THSC’s priority legislation. Although he did not say it this way, his tone seemed to say, “What in the world do CPS legislation or family law bills have to do with homeschooling?”
I explained that a family’s right to homeschool is based on the fact that parents have the right to make decisions for what they believe is best for their children. Policies or laws which erode that right undermine the right of families to homeschool their children. We will not allow those policies or bills to go unchallenged.
THSC sees dozens of cases each year in which innocent homeschool families are investigated by Child Protective Services (CPS). Those investigations can be (and often are) initiated by anonymous allegations by those that have some animus against the family (or even by total strangers).
We defend these families and are thus heavily invested in addressing issues that put these families at risk.
Other legislation filed this session challenges whether even fit parents can decide what is best for their children. Sometimes this is related to medical decisions and often related to with whom the children can spend time.
Over and over again we see attacks in our culture on the God-given fundamental right of families to make decisions for their children.
When it comes to children, families, not the state, should make decisions on what is best. We believe that God has given children to families and not to the state. If you agree with us, please sign up for our text alert system to get involved supporting or opposing legislation that affects your right to raise your children. Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!
Thank you for helping us in our efforts of Keeping Texas Families Free.
April 10, 2019
How Education Keeps Us Free
I’ve written recently about bills in the Texas legislature that could impact homeschooling in Texas. We just had hearings on three of those bills which could either empower families or restrict their freedom.
April 3 was the last Capitol Day of the legislative session, and almost 300 Texas homeschoolers were at the Capitol to learn about civics and government firsthand. These families and students learned how the process works and had a great time doing it.
In addition to learning about the legislative process, they signed up to oppose a radical bill that would allow families to be sued for their children by vindictive in-laws. For most of us, our in-laws are a blessing, especially when it comes to our children, However, for some families, a breakdown in in-law relationships lands them in court and loses them their children.
Capitol Days attendees also worked to educate legislators about the UIL Equal Access bill, which would give homeschool families more choices in their educational opportunities and join 35 other states in letting homeschool students participate in extracurricular activities in public schools.
Meanwhile, homeschool families across the great state of Texas were helping as they signed up for alerts to take action on critical bills. Hundreds of these families were contacting legislators who represent them and who are also on committees that were hearing testimony on these measures.
So we had people working at home to contact their legislators and people at the Capitol talking directly to the legislators and their offices. That is called a one-two punch!
It was an amazing educational field trip and an unforgettable experience for many of these families that will help these students become great citizens of Texas. At the same time, these students and families were working with us in Keeping Texas Families Free!
We will know in the near future what result these efforts have made. Sign up for text alerts to be part of the team that believes raising children is a family’s God-given right and calling.
Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!
April 3, 2019
Parents: Keep an Eye on These Four Bills in the Texas Legislature
I’m happy to report that no bills were filed during this Texas legislative session to restrict the rights of homeschoolers, despite such efforts by several other states and the urgings of major Texas newspapers.
There is bad news—a new bill has been filed that would allow non-parents to target Texas families just because they disagree with legitimate family decisions, such as homeschooling. Such lawsuits are often filed against single parents, especially moms, and are devastating to families.
This bill may receive a hearing soon, but at just the right time we plan to alert freedom-loving families and defeat the legislation.
As for the good news, we have House and Senate sponsors for each of our three major bills. The Child Trauma Prevention Act, our CPS reform bill, has been filed and we expect a hearing in the very near future. Our family rights legislation, the Family Unity Act, has been filed in both the House and Senate. Per our request, the Texas attorney general has released an opinion supporting our position on that issue.
Finally, the UIL Equal Access bill has been filed in both chambers and we are currently working toward a hearing. We recently had over 200 homeschoolers at the Capitol advocating for that bill and we had a great response.
We support policies that empower families to make decisions for their children. If you agree, sign up for legislative updates on bills that affect your family during the 2019 legislative session. With your help, we are Keeping Texas Families Free!
Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!