The problem of unlawful removal of children has become so prevalent in Texas, a Houston judge recently took decisive action against CPS. In our most high profile case, the Tutt family nightmare with CPS that began in 2013 when Judge Garcia, a Dallas judge, issued a removal order without a hearing and no evidence of danger to the children continues.
Brief Case History
CPS justified the removal of the Tutt children by focusing on the family’s Christian faith, their home schooling, and their ministry to the needy. Judge Tena Callahan allowed an eight-hour hearing to plow the same ground. Although she acknowledged that the children should not have been taken, she returned only some of the children and would not allow them to resume homeschooling out of concern that it would not be in their “best interest.”
Judge Callahan finally relented in August of 2014 by dismissing the case against the children already returned home, which allowed them to resume homeschooling.
Three Years Later
After she violated the statutory requirement for the 12-month disposition of these cases (along with a six month extension), Judge Callahan has now said that a jury trial cannot be scheduled in her court until at least March of 2017. The purpose of the 12-month litigation statute is to protect the children involved, but the Tutt case is far from the only example in which courts are more understanding of the needs of the bureaucracy of CPS, attorneys, and courts than the children they are supposed to be protecting.
With the three year anniversary of this tragedy approaching, a little sister is still in foster care.
Judge Callahan has had plenty of opportunities to set a trial date, but refuses to the detriment of the little girl languishing in foster care. In the meantime, the Tutts were targeted earlier this year by CPS in another unfounded investigation related to an alleged “outcry” the child in foster care made against Mrs. Tutt years earlier.
Experienced family law attorneys say a common tactic of CPS in such cases is to “manufacture” new allegations to strengthen their case when they are in danger of losing. THSC’s Special Counsel for CPS investigations, Chris Branson, represented the Tutts in this investigation and the charges were dropped by the local prosecutor.
Please keep praying for the Tutt family as they prepare for a trial next year and hope to one day see their little girl come home. If you’d like to help further, you can give a tax-deductible gift to THSC to help with the costs of this litigation.
Restoring the Tutt family is not only important to the family, but also important in Keeping Texas Families Free.