September 25, 2019

Actions on Pardo at the Supreme Court of Texas

Last week, a flurry of actions on the Pardo case came out of the Supreme Court of Texas, although the case was ultimately left pending.

There have now been four friend of the court (amicus) briefs filed in support of the Pardo family by THSC, Heritage Defense Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

The Texas solicitor general, who represents the state of Texas in the attorney general’s office, requested and was granted a 30-day extension from the Supreme Court to file a brief in the case by Oct. 18.

Although Child Protective Services (CPS) is a state agency, they are represented by their own attorneys, not by the solicitor general, who will be filing a brief as an independent third party.

The solicitor general further explained that he will be pursuing efforts to negotiate a resolution to the case without the need for a ruling from the Supreme Court of Texas.

He also declared (in intention to seek access to the transcript of the Aug. 9 hearing from the trial court) evidence he indicated could be important but which he did not yet have access to.

You may recall that the judge presiding over the Aug. 9 hearing refused the request of CPS to make the illegally developed “family plan.” A family plan is a plan developed by the parties and then adopted as an order of the court. It is supposed to be designed as a checklist for getting a child returned home.

For the Pardos, CPS developed the plan on their own (a violation of CPS policy and state law) and included a provision that would have required the family to admit to guilt for charges of medical child abuse and to having severe mental health issues. The court scrapped the ridiculous plan and chastised CPS for it.

However, the court did order CPS to expedite a “home study” of relatives and friends of the Pardos as potential placements for Drake. CPS agreed to do that study in two weeks. Six weeks later, Drake is still in foster care.

CPS appears to believe that the law doesn’t apply to them. You won’t be surprised to learn that CPS asked the Supreme Court of Texas for more time to file their response too.

While it is disheartening to consider that Drake will have to remain in CPS custody for another month while the Supreme Court waits for responses, a news story from Houston shows that this kind of case involving doctors and CPS is not uncommon.

“When a state-backed child abuse pediatrician is involved,” the worker explained, “there aren’t always enough checks in place to protect parents.”  As explained in the article, the problem is systematic and statewide. This issue must be addressed—and soon.

How many more children will be kidnapped by the state before CPS is held accountable?

Please keep praying for Drake and his family and for the judges involved. The longer this continues, the more harm to Drake and his family and the more costly the legal battle.

Stay up-to-date on the latest developments by checking the timeline of the case at BringDrakeHome.com.

Read the rest of The Family Freedom Caller, including Tim’s Weekly Tweets
September 18, 2019

Supreme Court of Texas Asks Opinion of the State in Pardo Case

On September 4, the Supreme Court of Texas asked the solicitor general of Texas to submit a brief by September 18 to “express the opinion of the state” regarding the Pardo family’s request for emergency relief.

Why is this significant?

The solicitor general of Texas works in the office of the attorney general (AG) of Texas. Although Child Protective Services (CPS) is a state agency, the Texas AG’s office does not represent CPS in local or appellate court. CPS has its own attorneys who represent the agency.

So why is the Supreme Court of Texas asking for a brief from the attorney general?

As a former Supreme Court of Texas justice explained, this development means that the Supreme Court of Texas recognizes the importance of this case and wants the executive branch to weigh in and give the court its opinion.

You may recall that Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office issued an opinion just this past spring which was essentially an eight-page treatise defending the rights of parents to raise their children. THSC submitted a brief to the attorney general’s office as part of that process as well.

While this development does not give insight into whether the court is leaning one way or the other, it does indicate that the court is taking the issue seriously. Since the court was not required to hear the case at all, this is certainly a good development.

Please continue to pray for the Pardos and the safe return of Drake and encourage your friends to visit BringDrakeHome.com to take action and defend this family.

Read the rest of The Family Freedom Caller, including Tim’s Weekly Tweets
September 11, 2019

Six Things You Should Know About the Pardo Case

The Pardo case is nothing short of horrific. Child Protective Services (CPS) violated both state and federal law and agency procedures over and over again in the removal of Ashley and Daniel’s four-year-old son Drake Pardo. Here are six things you should know about the complicated case in which CPS is accusing the family of medical child abuse:
  1. The doctor who referred the family to the child abuse unit at Children’s Medical Center Dallas was the same doctor who was fired by the family for failing to visit their son while he was in the hospital for four days. The family fired the doctor, filed a complaint and the doctor subsequently reported the family for “medical child abuse.”
  2. Dr. Dakil, who reported the family to CPS, works for the state-funded child abuse team inside Children’s. This doctor acknowledged under oath that she had never given Drake any type of medical care and had never even seen or spoken to either him or his parents at the time she reported them to CPS. She further acknowledged that Drake has multiple doctors from different facilities and that she did not do a complete review of Drake’s medical records.
  3. CPS caseworkers blame the removal of Drake on Drake’s parents being “uncooperative.” However, CPS testified under oath that this lack of “cooperation” was really just the family demanding that CPS disclose the allegations—as required by state and federal law—and the family failing to attend a June 10 meeting at Children’s which CPS states they intentionally never informed the family about.
  4. Dr. Dakil also testified that she had never asked for the removal of Drake, never thought there was an emergency requiring a removal and had only made one request of CPS: That they facilitate a June 10 meeting with the family (the same meeting CPS testified they intentionally never told the family about). She further testified that she did not know how her recommendations for Drake’s care could be met if he remains in state custody.
  5. In the status hearing on August 9, CPS asked the court to issue an order enforcing the “family plan” that CPS created for the family. CPS admitted under oath that they had not followed state and federal law in the creation of the family plan. Nonetheless, they asked that the court force Ashley and Daniel Pardo to make a complete admission of guilt and that they had “serious mental needs” before they could have Drake returned. Thankfully, Judge Tracy Gray rebuked CPS for their ridiculous requests instead of agreeing to them.
  6. A family’s parental rights can be terminated under the Texas Family Code even if they have not been convicted of abuse or neglect. If a family fails to meet even one element of the “family plan” adopted as an order of the court, this alone can be grounds for termination of parental rights. This often results in draconian choices the family must make to meet the often irrelevant demands of the plan while also trying to maintain jobs and other responsibilities.

The egregious actions of Children’s Medical Center Dallas, CPS and the courts must not be allowed to stand. Please help us #BringDrakeHome and continue to spread the news of this tragedy and pray for Drake, his family and the Supreme Court of Texas as they review the briefs asking for Drake to be returned to his family.

Read the rest of The Family Freedom Caller, including Tim’s Weekly Tweets
September 4, 2019

Pardo Support Pouring In

On August 22, the Dallas Court of Appeals rejected the Pardo request for relief with no reasoning. The attorneys for the Pardo family took their case to the Supreme Court of Texas on August 30 and filed for emergency relief and the return of Drake to their family. While much has been written about this case, it is instructive in understanding the case to read the family’s filing with the court. You can read that here.

THSC filed a brief with the court on August 30 supporting the family. Five other pro-family organizations signed on to our brief in support of the Pardo family as well as a bi-partisan group of 22 state legislators. Other organizations will be filing their own briefs in support in the coming days.

The case continues to gain national interest as the video at BringDrakeHome.com received over two million views in the first two weeks and almost 35,000 people have signed the petition asking the governor to speak out on behalf of this family. In response to this campaign, THSC has heard from supporters of the Pardo family from all over the world.

Together, we are working to:

  1. bring Drake home immediately
  2. prioritize legislative changes to protect other families from this abuse
  3. show the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) that they must adopt procedures to hold accountable employees who violate the law and abuse families
  4. prevent judges who allow families to be trampled in court to be reelected to office at the ballot box.

Please continue to pray for the Pardo family. Pass this information on to others and encourage them to take action at BringDrakeHome.com to help us #BringDrakeHome.

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