About 7:30 am, on December 22, 2015 there was a report of a beached whale in Galveston, TX. Thirty minutes later a protest in Houston started to draw awareness to problems with Texas’ CPS system began. Both events had media coverage. The whale footage aired… the protest did not.
The protest was to draw attention to a situation where CPS was hitting a family hard. The family had a young set of twins, but the boy was not developing as fast as the girl. The mother had been studying in Scotland. The child had been examined over there and the parents wanted second opinion. When the parents returned to Houston the Scottish Social Services accused them of fleeing to avoid an investigation and contacted Texas DFPS. Texas demanded that the child be examined here and then petitioned the court for Temporary Managing Conservator-ship back in April. The parents immediately went to media.
When the court decided to return the child, part of the court order included a gag order plus there was a restriction that the child would not be removed from Harris County and the contiguous counties. Early in November the family received an emergency call that the fraternal grandmother in Nigeria was near death. She had never seen any of the children. The family filed for emergency passports and was arrested while trying to board a plane in Dallas. Once again they were accused of fleeing. (Fox 26 story)
Now all 3 of their children are in state custody and in a recent hearing the court sanctioned the family $5,000 for violating court orders. This drew the attention of some civil rights activist, who called for the protest.
One problem we have is: “The general population doesn’t know what is happening with CPS and Foster Care and it doesn’t know that it doesn’t know.” So we have a massive education task before us.
A recent Texas development is that on December 17, 2015 a federal judge ruled on a Class Action lawsuit that Texas was violating the Constitutional rights of some 12,000 Texas children in foster care. A very serious development. One that needs to be addressed farther but is far to extensive to cover now so it will be addressed in a follow-up peace.
What happened with the whale? I know that it died. We know that a necropsy was planned for Wednesday to find out why it was sick. Not that I dislike animals. I really love them. But in general I tend to worry about humans over animals especially when it comes to children being mistreated by the system charged with the duty to protect them.
But this was not the first time a a situation involving an animal took precedence over a child caught up in problems with CPS.
In July of 2012 an Austin police officer shot a beloved family pet named Cisco. A few days later a woman leaving a Woodlands, TX clinic was murdered and her baby kidnapped. Police was quickly able to locate the getaway car from witnesses’ descriptions. The perpetrator and baby were soon located. But instead of simply returning the child to his family, CPS decided to conduct an investigation on his father whom had a felony drug conviction which triggered a pending drug screen sending the baby and his two siblings to be placed with relatives.
It was not enough that the man’s wife was murdered, but CPS saw fit to strip him of his complete family over the wrong doings of a complete stranger. We are unsure how long the children were kept away because the media coverage soon fell away. We do know that by the time Verna McClain was convicted and sentenced to “life without parole” the children were home.
In the 3 days between the shooting of Cisco and that of this woman the Facebook page “Justice for Cisco” gained a little over “100,000 likes” while the “Angel Eyes over Texas” page had only drawn just under 200 “likes” in over 2 years of champion the cause of Family Rights. A friend even did a blog piece on this “It’s a Dog’s World” To this day the Cisco page carries right at 97,000 followers compared to AEovrT’s 1,562 proving Texan’s have a far greater concern over animal rights than children and parents dealing with CPS.
But really when you think about it we can see why. It’s estimated that 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 37-47% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 30-37% have a cat. (Source: APPA)
But when you start looking at children involved with CPS only about 3% of the child population is affected by it. Even extending it out counting Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and other extended family about the worst case scenario is about 19,080,000 million or about 6%. This means there are about 8 times more Americans affected by animals than the child welfare system. So what can we do about it?