May 29, 2019

Homeschoolers Kill Bill Threatening Texas Families

The second week of May was the week that Texas homeschoolers killed a bill that would have been devastating to the families of Texas.

For the third consecutive legislative session, the organization representing divorce lawyers in Texas, the Texas Family Law Foundation, filed a bill that would have made every family a target of in-laws who disagree with the legitimate parenting decisions of fit parents.

Under current law, single-parent families already face severe abuse in Texas from financially superior opponents who are able to outlast them in court. Some families have had their children removed for years without any accusations of abuse or neglect. This bill would have expanded the law to apply to any family, not just single-parent families.

We asked people to call the House Calendars Committee to oppose HB 575 to protect families in Texas. We believe that parents have a God-given right and responsibility to raise their children and that this right should not depend on whether or not a family has the financial resources to win a legal battle with non-parents.

The target of these kinds of lawsuits are typically low-income, single-parent families. However, if this legislation had passed it would have resulted in an explosion of litigation against any family, not just single-parent families.

Thank you to those of you who called and expressed your opposition to the bill. It failed to come out of the Calendars Committee prior to the deadline for House bills to reach the floor of the Texas House, and is therefore dead. Thank you for helping us continue Keeping Texas Families Free!

Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!

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May 22, 2019

Homeschooling is NOT Abuse

Fox News recently wrote a report that was very similar to what we have been seeing from other major networks for over a year now. Quoting a group euphemistically called the “Coalition for Responsible Home Education,” they cited a number of child abuse cases by people who claimed to be homeschooling.

This group, which claims to support homeschooling, refers to these terrible situations and concludes that we must radically restrict the right of families to homeschool. As we have often pointed out, there is no relationship between the degree of homeschool regulation and child abuse.

Furthermore, other studies indicate that homeschool students are actually less likely than public school students to suffer abuse. In fact, a 2017 survey of Texas homeschool parents showed that safety was one of the top reasons cited for a family’s decision to homeschool.

This group supports radical restrictions on a family’s right to teach their own children but interestingly does not call for greater control of public schools and teachers. The data indicate that public school students are abused and harmed at a higher rate than homeschool students. We see this kind of generalized “concern” used in countries such as the United Kingdom and Cuba to justify limiting the rights of law-abiding families.

The behavior of this group could lead a person to conclude that its true goal is simply to limit homeschooling and the freedom of parents and children to choose the education that is best for them.

We argue that families deserve the right to select the education that fits their children’s unique needs with minimal interference from the government. Those that are found guilty of abusing children, regardless of the educational setting, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The cherry picking of news stories about abusive families is meant to influence policymakers and the public to take radical action against homeschooling. We should share the success of homeschooling with our family, friends and policymakers so that they hear from parents—the real “coalition for responsible home education.”

Share this article with your friends on social media and help spread the truth!

Would you consider joining THSC and encourage other homeschooling families to do the same? We need to unite in our goal of Keeping Texas Families Free! Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!

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May 13, 2019

Never Committed Abuse or Neglect? Doesn’t Matter (Under Texas Law, the State Can Take Your Children Anyway)

If this blog title invokes a sense of unease, it should. To be clear, this is not an apocalyptic message about why parents should lie awake at night for fear they may lose their children.

Most people never get a call from Child Protective Services (CPS). However, I once described this to someone as the difference between minor surgery and major surgery. It feels like minor surgery when it happens to someone else, but it’s major surgery when it happens to you.

Right now, in the state of Texas, a parent does not need to have ever committed abuse or neglect in order to have their children removed and their parental rights terminated. This may never happen to you, but it is currently happening to others. THSC is working to fix that.

The Child Trauma Prevention Act (HB 3331 by Rep. Frank and SB 2091 by Sen. Hughes) will implement specific due process protections within the Texas CPS system, thereby protecting children and families from the trauma caused by unnecessary child removals.

The House bill passed out of the House Human Services Committee with near unanimous support but did not get scheduled for the House floor before the required deadline. The Senate bill was heard in committee last week and will hopefully make it through the rest of the process in time.

Some people aren’t quite sure whether major reforms in the CPS system are really necessary. Here are a few examples of what this bill would fix. Under current law:

  • If a mother and father are separated and live in separate homes and the mother is accused of abuse and neglect, the father can still lose his child based solely on the evidence against Mom.
  • Even if the parents, CPS and the judge all agree that most of the evidence indicates no abuse or neglect has occurred, a child can still be removed from the home. This is a result of the incredibly low standard of evidence required for the judge to approve a removal.
  • Even if CPS has no evidence that a parent actually abused or neglected a child, a court can force a family into CPS services based only on CPS’s belief that abuse or neglect may be committed in the future. If a family fails to complete the services, their children can be removed as punishment.

For many years, the fear of a CPS visit and investigation has been on the forefront of homeschool families’ minds. In fact, THSC represents about two dozen families each year who are the targets of such investigations which are most often generated by anonymous allegations.

As a result of these cases, we have focused for many years on efforts to change the law to restore protections for Texas families.

Last legislative session we had great success in making many changes that have been beneficial to innocent Texas families. We have now been working with Governor Abbott’s office, CPS, the Texas Supreme Court’s Children’s Commission, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and countless others over the last two years to make additional changes that were not made in 2017.

HB 3331 and SB 2091 are the way to do that. This year’s legislative session is drawing to a close within the next few weeks. Lawmakers still have the chance to deliver critical reforms to protect Texas families.

The House bill was stalled in the Calendars Committee, which controls which bills will be scheduled for the House floor. It’s not clear who blocked the bill, but it is now too late for the House bill to keep moving.

The Senate bill still has a path forward. THSC is working hard to get the bill through in these closing weeks of the legislative session. Please pray that the Senate bill will move quickly through the remainder of the legislative process and ultimately pass into law.

If you’ve never been investigated by CPS, you likely know someone who has. Stay tuned on what’s happening during these last few weeks of the legislative session. Lawmakers can still come through for Texas families if they want to.

Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!

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May 8, 2019

How Homeschooling Changes the Culture

Changing the culture is a long and challenging movement and homeschooling significantly contributes to this process.

Over the last 30 years we have gone from virtually no one understanding the concept and the general public thinking that parents could not possibly teach their own children effectively to almost everyone in Texas knowing someone who homeschools and the general public supporting the right of parents to teach their own children. In fact, the evidence that homeschooling works is almost overwhelming.

Years ago, curriculum providers would not sell to homeschoolers, saying homeschoolers were not schools. Today, homeschoolers are a major target of curriculum providers. Co-ops and schools that teach two days per week with students homeschooling the rest of the week proliferate.

Yet in spite of that, we see other countries who are prosecuting families for homeschooling and some states seeking to severely restrict the right of families to homeschool. In fact, teacher unions are very aggressive in seeking high state regulation of homeschooling, arguing that parents are not qualified while the data clearly shows otherwise.

We also see public school groups strongly resisting efforts to allow homeschoolers equal access to public school activities. The discrimination has mostly faded in recent years, although even Texas still holds out on some important issues.

Nevertheless, homeschoolers continue to impact the culture and make progress in eliminating arbitrary barriers that limit families’ choices in educating their children as they see fit. Thanks to all of you who help THSC in this effort of Keeping Texas Families Free and giving families more liberty.

Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!

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May 1, 2019

Dangerous Bill Threatens Every Family in Texas

I recently wrote about a bill that would allow families to lose their children without any accusations of abuse or neglect. Under current Texas law, the Grandparent’s Access Statute has been responsible for the destruction of many families. Although most of us have good relationships with our in-laws, those who don’t can end up in court and ultimately lose their children over simple parenting disagreements with their mother or father-in-law.

Chassidie Russell lost her daughter for 3 years without any allegation of abuse or neglect.

A dangerous bill, HB 575, has been voted out of committee and is moving on to the House Calendars Committee for consideration of vote on the House floor. Texas’ current law is bad. This bill makes it far worse.

Current law allows fit parents to be sued by in-laws under certain, limited circumstances. To be clear, these are not abusive or neglectful parents. There are no accusations of abuse or neglect.

The statute is often used by those who disagree with legitimate decisions the parents are making for their children as a legal weapon to force the family to do something they do not wish to do.

Since 2003, Texas Appellate Courts and the Texas Supreme Court have issued 20 mandamus opinions in grandparent access cases. In 85% of them, Appellate Courts found that the lower court had severely abused its discretion to the detriment of the family. Usually, these cases were against single mothers.

Even though only single parents can be sued under this statute currently, the abuses that families suffer are already rampant.

HB 575 removes restrictions in the current law and would allow any grandparent to sue his or her child or child’s spouse for their children. In other words, single parents currently face severe abuse under this statute already. If HB 575 passes, these abuses will be extended to potentially ensnare any family in Texas. The number of lawsuits against fit parents attempting to take their children will skyrocket.

This bill is the dream of the Family Law Foundation, which has pushed it for the last six years.

HB 575 will be devastating for many families in Texas and the bill MUST be stopped. Get more information here:

  • Call members of the House Calendars Committee
  • Ask them to vote against sending HB 575 to the House floor.

Call now

Text “TXHOMESCHOOL” now to 919191 to receive legislative alerts!

Read the rest of The Family Freedom Caller, including Tim’s Weekly Tweets

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How Homeschooling Changes the Culture
Never Committed Abuse or Neglect? Doesn’t Matter (Under Texas Law, the State Can Take Your Children Anyway)