Orchestrating Legislative Action 101

All across America child welfare reform activist are pushing to get the “First Family Preservation Act of 2016” (HR-5456/S-3065) passed through the Senate.

The clock is ticking… session is getting short and we have 3 Senators holding it up.

  • Senator Boxer (D-CA) 202-224-3553
  • Senator Enzi (R-WY) 202-224-3424
  • Senator Cornyn (RINO-TX) 202-224-2934

From my understanding the main hold out is Cornyn.

The importance of this Act is really very simple. It moves funding from foster care to prevention. On top of that it is uncapped funding. This means states can start ACTUALLY funding preventative programs instead on snatching the children and placing them in foster care. You can read the latest text of the bill here.

As important as this legislation is, the real work relating to it begins after the President signs it. This is because that is when the states have to write legislation to actually apply it.

For many we do not actually know how to go about orchestrating new legislation. Luckily we had someone recently do a live Facebook broadcast.

On September 8, 2016 the Oklahoma Chapter of GRAUSA hosted a Facebook LIVE event featuring Mike Workman. Mike Workman, a friend of Charlotte, and a descendant of Oklahoma’s own Will Rogers, has been involved with politics for many years, offers his experience and suggestions as how to best get a bill passed through our legislatures. Mike and his wife have had their own issues and have succeeded in raising their own granddaughter and now have good relations with their granddaughter and great granddaughter. GRAOK welcomed the opportunity to have Mike take the time from his busy schedule to speak to us, helping us in our mission to change some of our family laws and get a bill passed through our legislature.

Please take about an hour to listen to what Mike has to say. There is a much greater message here than what one might think. All that he says can be applied to most any legislation one wants to get passed.

As advocates for reform our main battles are in the state houses. Mike lays out a template on how to approach state legislation.

We thank him for his efforts.

Posted in #OpExposeCPS, Congressional Legislation, Title IV-E Funding | 2 Comments

Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016

CPS reform legislation is steaming rapidly through Congress at a “damn the torpedoes” pace.

H.R.5456 was introduced on Monday June 13th.

It was reviewed and passed out of Ways and Means on Wednesday the 15th. The Congressional Budget Office report was ordered the same day.

The Senate introduced the companion bill S.3065 on Thursday the 16th.

The CBO report was received on Wednesday the 21st and the bill was passed without objection by voice vote later that evening. Reading and floor discussion can be found here.

This bill now rests in the hands of the Senate Finance Committee where it was reported:

Finance Senators Introduce Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPS)

on 19 June 2016. Posted in Featured Articles

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Committee members Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Michael Bennett (D-Colo.) introduced the Family First Prevention Services Act, a bill to combat the opioid addiction crisis, keep more children safely in their homes and reduce overreliance on group foster care homes.

The bill is the Senate companion to legislation reported by the House Ways and Means Committee on June 15, 2016.

“I’m proud to introduce the Senate version of this critical piece of bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will make a real difference for vulnerable children and families suffering from opioid addition across the country,” Hatch said. “I applaud the work of my colleagues in the House for moving the bill forward and will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate to further advance this initiative and have it enacted into law.”

“The Family First Prevention Services Act offers parents the help they need to prevent the unnecessary trauma that occurs when children are ripped from their homes and it raises the bar for foster care providers to keep children who are in the system safe,” Wyden said. “I commend my House colleagues for passing the bill out of committee and I am committed to getting it across the finish line.”

“This bill moves the ball in the right direction for years to come,” Grassley said.  “The focus on prevention, kinship care, and supporting those with substance abuse challenges will help keep families together when possible.  The bill provides states the flexibility to use locally developed solutions in addition to encouraging the use of programs that have worked elsewhere.  This bill helps pave the way to help parents who suffer from mental or substance abuse and helps reduce the trauma borne by young people who are taken out of the home because of those challenges.   Foster youth have said they want help for their parents, and this bill delivers.”

“We have a responsibility to every single kid in Colorado and throughout the country to help ensure they grow up in a supportive and loving environment,” Bennet said. “While there is more to do, this bill takes a step forward to promote proven prevention services to keep children safe with their families so they don’t enter the foster care system in the first place. It addresses the urgent need to quickly and safely find children already in the system a loving family.”

The bill introduction follows an announcement from bipartisan Senate and House leaders that an agreement had been made on the legislation.  Additional information on the bill can found here.

Text of the bill can be found here.

The Family First Prevention Services Act has garnered strong, bipartisan support from a variety of groups including the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators and the American Psychological Association. For a full list of supporters click here.

The Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over child welfare policy has held a number of hearings to examine the impact of evidence based solutions, reduce the need for foster care and reduce the reliance on group homes.

This Republican lead piece of legislation is moving at a very rapid pace compared to the Democratic lead “Preserving Families and Reducing the Need for Foster Care Act of 2015“(S.1964/H.R.3781) despite both pieces of legislation having been labeled bipartisan. The FFPS is greatly reduced in benefits. We really needed the $1.7 billion in Title IV-B funding.

Incremental Yes… but right now we will take most anything that slams the brakes on needless removals.

So please, write or call your Federal Senators and ask them to Co-sponsor this bill.

Posted in Congressional Legislation, Title IV-B Funding, Title IV-E Funding | 9 Comments

Alabama Child Protective Services Steals New-born Breast-feeding Baby from Rape Victim While Still at the Hospital

Juda Myers of Choices4Life calls her a “Hero Mom.”

A 14 year old Alabama girl became pregnant from a rape, but she courageously chose life for the baby that was conceived. She refused to consider the option of abortion, and told her grandparents, who are her legal guardians, that if they would help her, she would raise and love this baby.

(update 6/17/16 6:00 am)
We have word that Thursday evening Alabama workers took the mother and her twin brother into custody. Once again, no court order indicating why these children were being removed. Hearing for this case is set for 9am.

There has been talk that mother and baby have been reunited, but not confirmed.

Source: Alabama Child Protective Services Steals New-born Breast-feeding Baby from Rape Victim While Still at the Hospital

Family embraces newborn – loved no matter how he was conceived. Photo credit: Juda Myers.

While I have not found an opinion from the 11th Circuit Court almost every other Federal Circuit Court has ruled no imminent (or any other) danger requires a court order. Not only would this be considered a seizure under the 4th amendment as allowed by the 14th; it violates Art I, Sec 5 of the Alabama Constitution. Where is the due process of law?


How You Can Help

People are invited to rally outside the Shelby County Courthouse at 112 N Main St, Columbiana, AL, on Friday, June 17. The Shelter Hearing is scheduled for 1pm, and supporters are planning to be there by 12:30.

Call Alabama Governor Robert Bentley’s office at 334-242-7100. He may also be contacted here. He is also on Facebook.

Senator Cam Ward is the Senator for their district. He may be reached at 334-242-7873, or contacted here.

Representative April Weaver represents their district. She may be reached at 334-242-7731, or contacted here.

Posted in - by CPS, Abuse by Case or Social Workers, Alabama DHR, Eyes on Alabama | 3 Comments

Congressional Hearing Reviews Child Welfare Along With Health Issues

*** All hands on Deck ***

In less than 12 hours a Congressional Committee will be reviewing and marking up bills relating to Child Welfare and Health issues.

On Monday the “Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016” was introduced. While I have not had enough time to review the bill completely, but it looks Promising.

Just try to play the screen below. It should show you a count down to the hearing.

The Committee will consider the following:
H.R. 5456, Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016
Sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Strengthens families by promoting evidence-based prevention services to keep children out of foster care and reduces inappropriate group home placements

H.R. 5447, Small Business Health Care Relief Act
Sponsored by Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)
Creates a safe-harbor for innovative employer payment arrangements, a type of Health Reimbursement Arrangement

H.R. 5458, Veterans TRICARE Choice Act
Sponsored by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT)
Expands access to consumer-direct health insurance and provides more options for those eligible for TRICARE

H.R. 5452, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to permit individuals eligible for Indian Health Service assistance to qualify for health savings accounts
Sponsored by Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI)
Improves access to Health Savings Accounts for those who get services at Indian Health Service facilities

H.R. 5445, To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to improve the rules with respect to health savings accounts
Sponsored by Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Makes changes to Health Savings Accounts, including raising the contribution limit, allowing spouses to make catch-up contributions to the same account, and allowing for more flexibility between incurring expenses and actually setting up an account

H.R. 3080, Tribal Employment and Jobs Protection Act
Sponsored by Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)
Provides relief from Obamacare’s employer mandate for tribally owned businesses

H.R. 210, Student Worker Exemption Act of 2015
Sponsored by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
Provides relief from Obamacare’s employer mandate for universities that employ student workers

H.R. 3590, Halt Tax Increases on the Middle Class and Seniors Act
Sponsored by Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ)
Repeals a provision of Obamacare that makes it harder to deduct high cost medical expenses

Posted in Family Rights, House, Senate, Title IV-B Funding, Title IV-E Funding, Ways and Means | 4 Comments

Smokers Could Soon Lose Custody Of Their Children – The Free Patriot

Parents who smoke around their kids should be challenged for custody, according to the country’s leading anti-tobacco lawyer. John F. Banzhaf, a law professor at George Washington University Law Sc…

Source: Smokers Could Soon Lose Custody Of Their Children – The Free Patriot

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Unity… we are more powerful than you think

In general society does not understand the power of Unity and We the People.


There will come a time when team work will mean everything. Remember

We the People

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Texas’ 84th Interim Session: Child Protection

While interim charges are sent out near the end of ODD numbered years, the hearings generally don’t start until about April of EVEN numbered years.

Testifying at Interim hearings is slightly different than regular legislative hearings. During the regular session you are generally speaking on specific bills, but in the interim you are speaking on the charges that are set before the committee. Because the members had to come out of their districts to attend they tend to be less tolerant of testimony not germane to the charges. Please keep this in mind while planning your testimony.

On the subject of Child Protection, Texas has two House committees and one Senate that generally hear related testimony:

House Human Services

House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues

Senate Health and Human Services


Both House Committees share a joint charge relating to Human Trafficking.

Study and evaluate the practice of youth being recruited into human trafficking. Specifically, evaluate the scope of the pipeline of potential victims from foster care, including methods and means used to lure youth into trafficking. Evaluate the types of services that are available to support children and youth in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) who are victims of human trafficking. Make necessary recommendations to assist DFPS in identifying, recovering, serving, or caring for children and youth who are victims of human trafficking prior to placement in foster care.

The House Human Services has a separate charge relating to:

Examine the Department of Family and Protective Services’ policies and procedures, including prevention measures and resources, dedicated to eliminating child abuse and fatalities within the foster care system; explore ideas and strategies to increase the number of foster families and improve the delivery of services to children with high needs; review adoption policies, including disruptions, and make recommendations for possible improvements. Also, monitor and assess the continuation of foster care redesign.

Juvenile Justice and Family Issues has the following separate charges:

  • Examine data collection and sharing practices between the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), and local juvenile probation departments regarding youth involved in both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Determine any new data that should be collected and make recommendations to improve data-sharing between DFPS, TJJD and local juvenile probation departments that will improve delivery of services and outcomes.
  • Examine evidence-based practices around early education and parenting support and education programs. Assess the current capacity of community-based parent support programs, including funding sources, curricula, effectiveness, systems of delivery and cost effectiveness. Monitor the implementation of HB 2630 (84R) and assess the availability of parenting support and education programs and resources around the state.
  • Monitor juvenile justice regionalization planning and implementation of SB 1630 (84R). Identify appropriate outcome measures to evaluate success of keeping more youth closer to home. Make recommendations to increase community and regional options and strengthen community services to reduce commitments to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
  • Review juvenile justice penalties and sanctions determined by or disallowed by age of the juvenile. Identify best practices in other states relating to juvenile age. Determine if alternatives or changes, based on age or other factors, are required to address penalties and sanctions in the juvenile age population.
  • Examine the Texas Family Code’s treatment of grandparents in the parent-child relationship, including Chapters 32, 34, 153, 161, and 162 and suggest any changes that may be useful to address the growing population of grandparents and the best interests of Texas children and families.

Key issues relating to the Protection of Children in the Senate HHS Committee are:

  • Part I: Reducing Recurrence of Child Abuse and Neglect: Examine the current process that Child Protective Services uses to track recurrence of child abuse and neglect, and make recommendations to improve data tracking and the use of that data to assist in preventing recurrence. The study should examine the differences in recurrence among families who received services, families who received no services and had their cases closed, and families who had their children removed from the home.
  • Part II: Addressing High-Acuity Needs of Foster Care Children: Study the increase in higher acuity children with trauma and mental illness in the state foster care system, and recommend ways to ensure children have timely access to appropriate treatment and placement options.
  • Part III: Strengthening Adoptions: Examine the frequency, causes, and effects of disrupted foster care adoptions and make recommendations to improve the long-term success of adoptive placements. Study and make recommendations on ways to ensure a smooth transition for foster care children who are exiting the system.

Upcoming hearings:

On April 20, 2016 there will be two hearings.

There is an organizational hearing of the House Juvenile Justice and Family issues committee at 10 am in E2.016 No public testimony planned.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee meets in the Senate Chamber at 9am. Public testimony limited to 3 minutes.

It appears that the proposed agenda is moving Part I to the end. It is unknown rather or not they will address the charges separately or as one.

Our issues

While it remains important to remain germane, we also must keep in mind what we want to accomplish in 2017.

General Information

We want to make sure that the legislature knows that we know about Texas losing the Federal Class Action where DFPS violated the Constitutional rights of 12,000 foster children.

For close to 3 decades Texas’ Child Protection System has been known for failing to follow its own policies.

Only 77 days before President Clinton signed the ASFA Texas had passed some of the most comprehensive Family Preservation legislation ever in SB359 (75R). In 2005, SB6 (79R) stripped most of it from statute. Then finished it off with SB206 (84R) last session.

The Flexible Response System for Service Delivery as created in 1997 as a part of SB359 (75R) but was never implemented.

The two part system presented in Texas Administrative Code 40 TAC §700.511 which is used for labeling allegations and final Overall Disposition can be confusing to improperly trained employees. Often a RTB finding for Disposition is applied to an Allegation that was never proven.

An Ombudsman review does not have to take place once a Judge rules on a worker’s allegations. Texas Administrative Code 40 TAC §702.841

While SB830 (84R) became effective on September 1, 2015 the position of Ombudsman for Foster Care has yet to be filled.

We want it known that “We the People of Texas” are no longer going to tolerate it.


Texas’ “Open Records Act of 1973” set up the standard that information generated for and by government entities is owned by the people of the state.

Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.

  1. On February 14, 2015 DFPS stripped more than 450 pages containing close to 670 topics from the CPS handbook. Officials claim they were policy changes. Most familiar with the data knows that it was procedures which included full descriptions of the various stages of service such as FBSS, Substitute care (CVS) and Reunification (FRE). We parents need to be able to determine what is and is not a DFPS employee’s job without having to file a “Freedom of Information Request.”
  2. The new “Resource Guides” are cumbersome and a pain to use. Their PDF format does not expose content to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is not understood why they failed to use the same dynamic format used by the Supreme Court Children’s Commission when they created the “Child Protective Services Parent Resource Guide” which is fully SEO compliant. DFPS also fails to notify anyone of updates on these new guides either.
  3. Same holds true for the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Human Resources handbook that is often referenced from the DFPS handbooks. Texas parents have the right know the job function of every state employee that comes in contact with their children.


One of the items that was part of SB-359 included raising the bar on DFPS employees’ Immunity. By setting a higher standard than Federal “Good Faith” and creating “preexisting law” Texas defined a way to hold DFPS employees accountable. Problem is the law is not being enforced. We are seeing caseworkers regularly violating not only Constitutional Rights but both state and Federal laws without punishment.

Sec. 40.061. IMMUNITY. (a) A department employee, a member of a multidisciplinary team established under Section 40.0524, or an authorized department volunteer who performs a departmental duty or responsibility is immune from civil or criminal liability for any act or omission that relates to the duty or responsibility if the person acted in good faith and within the scope of the person’s authority.

(b) In this section, “volunteer” means a person who:

(1) renders services for or on behalf of the department under the supervision of a department employee; and

(2) does not receive compensation that exceeds the authorized expenses the person incurs in rendering those services.

(c) This section does not provide immunity to a department employee who, in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which child abuse is alleged or that arises out of a child abuse investigation, in a criminal prosecution for an offense in which child abuse is an element, or in the preparation of the suit or prosecution:

(1) commits or attempts to commit perjury;

(2) fabricates or attempts to fabricate evidence;

(3) knowingly conceals or intentionally withholds information that would establish that a person alleged to have committed child abuse did not commit child abuse; or

(4) violates state or federal law in the investigation or prosecution of the suit.

We need to strengthen this statute.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Child abuse death rate up 71 percent (A 1999 report)

AUSTIN – Child abuse and neglect in Texas led to 176 deaths last year, up some 71 percent from the year before, according to a report released Wednesday.

Source: Child abuse death rate up 71 percent | Amarillo.com | Amarillo Globe-News


Child abuse death rate up 71 percent

Posted: Thursday, January 07, 1999
The Associated Press

AUSTIN – Child abuse and neglect in Texas led to 176 deaths last year, up some 71 percent from the year before, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services blamed the sharp increase on a lack of resources and overburdened child caseworkers.

Agency officials called on the public for help.

“Protecting children is more than just one state agency can do,” said Jim Hine, the department’s executive director.

“We all need to be aware of clear risk factors: Abuse of drugs or alcohol in a family, immature parents without parenting skills, or parents who put their personal needs above the needs of their child,” he said.

More than two-thirds of the children who died were minorities; nearly three-fourths were age 3 or younger.

The report came as no shock to District Judge Scott McCown, who last October warned of inadequate child abuse investigations.

Child Protective Services may investigate some 100,000 reports of abused and neglected children a year, but McCown issued a 42-page petition saying that was still only 60 percent of all allegations in 1997-98.

The judge also noted that Texas ranked 30th among 35 states reporting data on removing children from abusive or neglectful homes in 1996.

“These children are either going to fund our Social Security or fill our prisons, and it all depends on how we respond to their needs as children,” said McCown, who has presided over 1,400 cases involving 2,500 children since becoming a judge in 1989.

Child welfare officials proposed hiring more caseworkers and improving their training so at-risk children are better identified.

“A lot of these workers are out of college, and there is no special degree required,” said Jane Piper, executive director of Texas CASA, a group of court-appointed volunteer advocates for abused children.

“They are asked to oversee too many cases, and they are not given enough supervision or training,” she added.

Wednesday’s report cited one proposal to limit case loads to about 20 families per worker. Texas case workers currently juggle 24 families, which is twice the amount recommended by the Child Welfare League of America.

There was also a recommendation to raise case worker salaries. Starting salary in Texas is about $23,000 a year, and more than one in three entry-level case workers leave in search of a less stressful profession.

That is nearly three times the turnover rate for other state employees, Hine said.

“We propose a three-prong approach: reduce case worker turnover, increase the amount of training, and give them more tools to do their job – be it laptops, cell phones or whatever,” he said.

The report caught the attention of lawmakers such as Rep. Arthur Reyna, D-San Antonio, who described it as more bad news.

“The bottom line is that a child has to almost be at risk of severe injury or death before any measures will be taken,” said Reyna, a lawyer who serves on the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee.

“When it comes to children, there is no point where government should not be involved in protecting them. That is why kids have to wear seatbelts and helmets. We make distinctions to protect children because they can’t protect themselves,” he said.

Posted in CPS Paradigm Shift, Eyes on Texas, Falsifying Records, In the News Texas, Texas DFPS | 3 Comments

The Constitutional 2-Step

Often I get into heated debates over Constitutional rights. Most people only look toward the U.S. Constitution, but I contend that you can only know your true rights by first looking at the Federal and then looking up the same subject in your respective state. After all we are supposed to live under a “dual sovereignty”. Therefore looking at one without the other is incomplete.

But before I do a side by side comparison as a Child Protection Reform Advocate I need to point something out. Child Protection, Family Law and Juvenile Law are not enumerated in the U.S. Constitution. So when we look at the 9th amendment we find the wording:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Indicating those certain rights do not fall directly under the U.S. Constitution, therefore the need for the 10th amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

And this is where Child Protection issues gets pushed back to the states. So when you see case law that reads like: The rights of parents to the care, custody and nurture of their children is of such character that it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions, and such right is a fundamental right protected by this amendment (First) and Amendments 5, 9, and 14. Doe v. Irwin, 441 F Supp 1247; U.S. D.C. of Michigan, (1985)

It becomes important to compare the U.S. Bill of Rights to your state Bill of Rights.

Since I am from Texas I will use our Constitution as an example.

U.S. Constitution

Texas Constitution

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Article I, Section 6

FREEDOM OF WORSHIP. All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No man shall be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent. No human authority ought, in any case whatever, to control or interfere with the rights of conscience in matters of religion, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious society or mode of worship. But it shall be the duty of the Legislature to pass such laws as may be necessary to protect equally every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship.

Article I, Section 8

FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND PRESS; LIBEL. Every person shall be at liberty to speak, write or publish his opinions on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that privilege; and no law shall ever be passed curtailing the liberty of speech or of the press. In prosecutions for the publication of papers, investigating the conduct of officers, or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence. And in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

Article I, Section 27

RIGHT OF ASSEMBLY; PETITION FOR REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES. The citizens shall have the right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good; and apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Article I, Section 23

RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. Every citizen shall have the right to keep and bear arms in the lawful defense of himself or the State; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms, with a view to prevent crime.

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
Article I, Section 25
QUARTERING SOLDIERS IN HOUSES. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in the house of any citizen without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.
Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Article I, Section 9
SEARCHES AND SEIZURES. The people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from all unreasonable seizures or searches, and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, shall issue without describing them as near as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Article I, Section 19
DEPRIVATION OF LIFE, LIBERTY, ETC.; DUE COURSE OF LAW. No citizen of this State shall be deprived of life, liberty, property, privileges or immunities, or in any manner disfranchised, except by the due course of the law of the land.
Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
Article I, Section 13
EXCESSIVE BAIL OR FINES; CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT; REMEDY BY DUE COURSE OF LAW. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law.
Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Article I, Section 15
RIGHT OF TRIAL BY JURY. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. The Legislature shall pass such laws as may be needed to regulate the same, and to maintain its purity and efficiency. Provided, that the Legislature may provide for the temporary commitment, for observation and/or treatment, of mentally ill persons not charged with a criminal offense, for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days, by order of the County Court without the necessity of a trial by jury.
Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Article I, Section 13
EXCESSIVE BAIL OR FINES; CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT; REMEDY BY DUE COURSE OF LAW. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law.

The Texas’ Article 1, Bill of Rights contains several more sections but (I feel) it is important to look at Sec. 29-31. Section 29 locks in the “Bill of Rights”. Section 30 defining the rights of Crime victims and Section 31

Sec. 29. PROVISIONS OF BILL OF RIGHTS EXEMPTED FROM POWERS OF GOVERNMENT; TO FOREVER REMAIN INVIOLATE. To guard against transgressions of the high powers herein delegated, we declare that everything in this “Bill of Rights” is exempted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate, and all laws contrary thereto, or to the following provisions, shall be void.


(a) A crime victim has the following rights:

(1) the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process; and

(2) the right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.

(b) On the request of a crime victim, the crime victim has the following rights:

(1) the right to notification of court proceedings;

(2) the right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the victim is to testify and the court determines that the victim’s testimony would be materially affected if the victim hears other testimony at the trial;

(3) the right to confer with a representative of the prosecutor’s office;

(4) the right to restitution; and

(5) the right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.

(c) The legislature may enact laws to define the term “victim” and to enforce these and other rights of crime victims.

(d) The state, through its prosecuting attorney, has the right to enforce the rights of crime victims.

(e) The legislature may enact laws to provide that a judge, attorney for the state, peace officer, or law enforcement agency is not liable for a failure or inability to provide a right enumerated in this section. The failure or inability of any person to provide a right or service enumerated in this section may not be used by a defendant in a criminal case as a ground for appeal or post-conviction writ of habeas corpus. A victim or guardian or legal representative of a victim has standing to enforce the rights enumerated in this section but does not have standing to participate as a party in a criminal proceeding or to contest the disposition of any charge.

(Added Nov. 7, 1989.)

Sec. 31. COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME FUND; COMPENSATION TO VICTIMS OF CRIME AUXILIARY FUND; USE OF FUND MONEY. (a) The compensation to victims of crime fund created by general law and the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund created by general law are each a separate dedicated account in the general revenue fund.

(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section and subject to legislative appropriation, money deposited to the credit of the compensation to victims of crime fund or the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund from any source may be expended as provided by law only for delivering or funding victim-related compensation, services, or assistance.

(c) The legislature may provide by law that money in the compensation to victims of crime fund or in the compensation to victims of crime auxiliary fund may be expended for the purpose of assisting victims of episodes of mass violence if other money appropriated for emergency assistance is depleted.

(Added Nov. 4, 1997.)

Last but not least, I must include Texas’ marriage clause. It is quite upsetting that Texas has not filed suit against the recent SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage. By issuing the recent decision, SCOTUS greatly overstepped its bounds and brought the sovereignty of the states into question.

Sec. 32. MARRIAGE. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

(Added Nov. 8, 2005.)

The above gives you a good example of why you need to do the Constitutional “Two Step”. Of course to fully understand your state you must dig into the rules for legislation, courts, elections and everything else that goes into your state government.

Posted in #OpExposeCPS, Constitution, Eyes on Texas, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Judge Went Pontius Pilate on Giwa Family

When advocates, friends, and family gathered in Texas’ 314th District court Thursday, January 7, 2015 in support of the Giwa family they never expected the day they would experience.

Two days earlier the Giwas attended a Permanency Planning type meeting where it was announced that the primary goal was “Unrelated Adoption.” No one ever mentioned what the concurrent goal was. Those that knew of this goal was expecting this to be a Permanency hearing. Early on it in the hearing it was realized that this was actually the 60day Status hearing for the two girls that had been taken November 7, 2015.

No one expected the outcome of the day. But let the video speak first.

Sorry… Having problems with the embed player.


Local advocates and court watchers noticed during the morning hearings that Judge Phillips’ demeanor toward the cases seemed a bit different on that morning. It was even part of the discussion topics over lunch. It seemed that he was making CPS prove their cases.

Just after lunch there was a case where both CPS and CASA testified that the mother had completed services. Phillips asked a couple of questions about employment and housing… congratulated the mother and told her the child was coming home. True every case has different factors and we don’t know all of them as they related to her case but advocates have seen similar cases in this court go quite different.

About mid-afternoon the court started shutting down; when suddenly they realized they had forgotten the Giwa case. The court coordinator rushed about and got everyone back to the courtroom.

Witnesses were sworn and as soon as the county attorney read the case into record and called the caseworker as a witness, the judge took over questioning. He quickly clarified that this was a 60day Status Hearing for the girls and the son was on a separate case.

Almost immediately the question of venue came up. The caseworker said something about she had thought that the respondent’s attorney had filed a motion for change of venue early in son’s case. The judge almost immediately said that if motion to change venue were filed that he would transfer both cases to Fort Bend County immediately. The Giwa’s attorney Kory Booth announced he would do that.

But only after he had agreed to the transfer did he start actually questioning why the girls were in the system. Of course the testimony immediately was that the son had been placed on a “no fly” list and the parents were arrested at DFW Airport while trying to board a plane. State reason for arrest was “Interference with child custody.”( TX PE §25.03)

When asked about pending charges over the girls, the worker first answered “Child Abandonment” but quickly changed that to “Reckless Endangerment” and began quoting the conditions of TX PE §22.041 (c) but the judge stopped her. She went on to state that the DA from the arresting county had refused charges and they were trying to get them through Harris County. Which sounds like forum shopping to me.

At no point during testimony was it proven that the girls was in any danger other than the fact that their parents were arrested. It is quite certain DFPS had no intention of keeping them out of the system or they would have used the Federal and state mandated “Reasonable Efforts.” For the state that would have been to use the Five day protection of TX Family Code (TFC) §262.110. They certainly failed to meet the 3 conditions of an emergency removal without a court order under TFC §262.107 which in itself raises questions of Official Oppression ( TX PE §39.03).

Many in Texas (including Judges and Attorneys) do not realize that the statute (TX HR §40.061) that defines a DFPS employee’s immunity was amended in 1997 to include the conditions that removes it in subsection (c).

(c) This section does not provide immunity to a department employee who, in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship in which child abuse is alleged or that arises out of a child abuse investigation, in a criminal prosecution for an offense in which child abuse is an element, or in the preparation of the suit or prosecution:

(1) commits or attempts to commit perjury;

(2) fabricates or attempts to fabricate evidence;

(3) knowingly conceals or intentionally withholds information that would establish that a person alleged to have committed child abuse did not commit child abuse; or

(4) violates state or federal law in the investigation*
or prosecution**
of the suit.

*Investigation includes at any point during DFPS investigative activities.

**Prosecution begins at child removal and ends when final orders are written at a “Trial on Merits” 12-18 months after removal.

Which when compared to the caseworker’s actions it becomes quite clear that she violated her immunity to prosecution. Now charges in addition to Official Oppression could possibly include Unlawful Restraint (TX PE §20.02) or direct Abuse (TX PE §22.04). But it seems very clear that the children’s rights as crime victims were violated under Art 1, Sec 30 of the Texas Constitution.

But is seemed to digress a bit from the court.

Once the Judge established that he did not feel the girls belonged in the system he turned to question where the family stood on services. Caseworker immediately jumped on the fact that CPS was asking for a third psychological exam. Attorney Booth spoke up and said that he had a copy of the 2nd evaluation and that it had been given by a CPS approved vendor.

Judge Phillips took one look at it and again became disturbed with CPS. He asked if she had seen it which she confirmed she said she had. He named the type of evaluation (I believe MMPI2) which is one with built in traps to catch a person lying or trying to fake the test. He then pointed out that a 3rd evaluation would be excessive and would not prove anything.

Then the question of permanency for the son came up. This was when the subject turned to the permanency goal of “Unrelated Adoption”. He told CPS in no uncertain terms that he did not see any evidence supporting Terminate Parental Rights (TPR).

It was about then he repeated that he was transferring both cases to Fort Bend County and was ordering the girls home that day.

This is where he took on the persona of Pontius Pilate. It was clear that he knew that neither case should have gone this far and they had done so under the jurisdiction of the 314th District court. But instead of (in the least) dismissing the girls case, he washed his hands of them and sent them to Fort Bend County. Much like Pontius Pilate did when he sent Jesus to the cross.

Not sure if the courts of Fort Bend County can accept these cases directly or if they will have to be sent to the Second Administrative Regional Judge Olan Underwood to decide where these cases will be transferred. He has the power to send them to either county. Only time will tell.

Posted in #OpExposeCPS, Abuse by CPS, Eyes on Texas, Texas DFPS | 3 Comments