- November 20, 2019—Texas Legislature Holds Hearing on CPS Abuse
- November 13, 2019—Supreme Court of Texas Justices Speak up on Parental Rights
- November 6, 2019—Gag Orders and Judicial Abuse: Growing Problem in Texas
Texas Legislature Holds Hearing on CPS Abuse
Families from all over the State of Texas gathered in Austin on Nov. 12 to tell the House Human Services Committee what Child Protective Services (CPS) had done to their families. The stories these families shared were strikingly similar to the horrible story of the Pardo case, which has captured the attention of the state since June.
The investigative report from The Houston Chronicle and NBC News has drawn attention to these cases by a series of reports that focus on how physicians called Child Abuse Pediatricians (CAP) are used by CPS to justify their taking of children and how that has sometimes gone horribly wrong.
These CAPs are part of state-funded networks in Texas hospitals and are trained to find child abuse. They are also trusted implicitly by CPS, apparently regardless of conflicting medical opinions from other doctors and even medical opinions from specialists on the issues in question.
Even worse, the families testified that the child abuse pediatricians in their cases made their judgments without ever having personally examined the child (which happened in the Pardo case). At the same time, the State of Texas is currently in federal court defending CPS in a wide-ranging case focused on abuse within the foster care system.
One mother’s story was remarkably similar to the Pardo case. She testified about how CPS took her two-year-old child, claiming that she was giving the child unnecessary medical treatment—treatment which had all been prescribed as necessary by doctors.
If questions by the members of the House Committee on Human Services are an indication, perhaps there is a growing understanding that families in Texas need protection from the agency that is supposed to be protecting them in the first place.
Please continue to pray for the Pardo family and the upcoming December permanency hearing. Pray for the judges at the Supreme Court of Texas who have yet to release their full opinion on the case, and the Kaufman County judge as well as the case continues at the local court.
Supreme Court of Texas Justices Speak up on Parental RightsRecently, two Supreme Court of Texas justices took an appeals court to task for citing “traditional disciplinary methods” as reasons to terminate the rights of a parent.
In a separate opinion by Justice Blacklock, he stated, “I write separately to caution against use of such evidence as grounds for judicial interference with parental rights.”
Justice Devine joined Blacklock’s opinion, “This natural parental right [is] a basic civil right of man and far more precious than property rights … The court of appeals’ opinion suggests that these punishments amounted to child abuse justifying the judicial destruction of a family. I disagree.”
He went on to state, “However far out of favor such traditional disciplinary measures may have fallen in some quarters, a parent’s choice to employ them should be afforded no weight in a termination proceeding.
“Threatening to withhold presents as punishment is a ubiquitous part of popular Christmas culture. A little hot sauce for lies or bad words seems downright humane compared to the vigorous mouth-washing feared by generations of foul-mouthed children and administered by generations of loving mothers.
“And how many parents at their wits’ end have made their kids run around the block or do pushups or jumping jacks? If reliance on these old-fashioned punishments—and others like them, such as spanking—can be used against parents by a government that seeks to take away their parental rights, then ‘the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of their children is no longer what it once was.”
In closing, he warned, “If some judges and juries around the state now believe that punishing children the way previous generations of American children were punished amounts to ‘sordid maltreatment’ justifying government intervention, the legislature may wish to make its views known.
“The advisability or efficacy of these punishments is not the issue. The issue is whether Texas parents still have the liberty to employ them as they see fit without fearing a knock on the door from Child Protective Services. I believe they do.”
I could not agree more and I’m grateful to have judges on the Supreme Court of Texas who believe that the God-given, fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit is a crucial part of our laws and our culture. God bless these judges—we should pray for them regularly!
Gag Orders and Judicial Abuse: Growing Problem in Texas
As I have written since June, the now infamous Pardo case has become a clear example of the war against families and children not just in Texas, but across the country.
This case involves a horrific abuse of power by Child Protective Services (CPS) and perhaps more importantly, a judge in the case. Kaufman County Judge Michael Chitty did not follow the law in the first hearing and allowed CPS to keep four-year-old Drake Pardo in spite of the lack of evidence of abuse or neglect.
However, as egregious as the unjust removal was, the judge’s gag order on the Pardo family, prevented them from speaking publicly or online about the case. While the attorney requesting the gag order stated her reason was to protect the child, the clear reason was to prevent the public from hearing from the parents.
In fact, her initial recommendation was for our organization and other supporters of the family to also be bound by the order. (Of course, CPS and the district attorney were not limited.)
In a recent brief to the Supreme Court of Texas, the solicitor general for the State of Texas said Judge Chitty’s gag order was “plainly unconstitutional.” Legal counsel for the Pardo’s have presented another brief in response and asked the Supreme Court of Texas to dismiss the gag order.
In another controversial case—the James Younger case—the divorced parents of twin boys have been locked in a years-long battle over the mother’s efforts to “transition” James to a girl (possibly including puberty blockers and surgery). The father is adamant in his opposition to the transition, citing that this boy only expresses these sentiments when he is with his mother.
As a result of a jury trial that decided to leave all medical decision-making power with the mother (allowing her to transition James over the father’s objections), the case exploded on social media and all over the country during the following days.
The Texas Attorney General has called on the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate the mother of James Younger for child abuse in regard to her efforts to transition her child to a girl.
Following the national outrage, the judge ruled that both parents would be given equal decision-making power into the medical and psychological treatment of the boy.
However, this judge also placed a gag order on both parents, forcing the father to take down his blog about the case. While this order applies to both parents, it seems targeted to the father, who has written and spoken publicly about the case.
THSC continues its efforts to stand strong for parental rights in order to protect families. But that’s not all that is necessary. Focused attention on judicial elections in Texas is also crucial. The amount of power granted to local judges is enormous. In the wrong hands, it is also devastating.
Be sure to stay alert for THSC-endorsed candidates for the 2020 elections!