In 2008, Parent Guidance Center went out to Eldorado, Texas to witness firsthand what was happening to the families involved in the infamous FLDS case. We were one of the only groups at the beginning of the case NOT condemning these parents before they were proven guilty (or innocent) and the only organization saying something very different than what the news was portraying. We commented (below) as eye witnesses to the travesty that unfolded. We gained a very different perspective from their portrayal in the news – or rather the same perspective we see ALL pre-condemned parents in the Texas CPS system go through that are deprived of justice – not just people from a pre-condemned church in Eldorado. The FLDS case was just par for the course in our line of work. The good news is that in this case the children went home!
Below are some archived comments as events unfolded . . .
OUR CONTINUING COVERAGE OF THE FLDS SITUATION PROVIDED BELOW (2008)
(Due to the precedent-setting nature of the events surrounding the raid on the FLDS compound in Eldorado, TX, PGC will be providing indefinite coverage and opinions of this event for as long as it takes to find the truth. We believe every family deserves a chance at the truth and our advocacy for families extends to all, regardless of race, religion, creed, orientation, income level, value system or belief system. We do not advocate any form of abuse and neglect whether it be perpetrated by individuals, groups or even the State; however, we equally do not advocate “guilty until proven innocent” mentality as it does not serve families or society as a whole. )
JUNE 2, 2008: JUDGE SIGNS ORDER FOR CHILDREN TO GO HOME
The restrictions are harsh for parents who have yet to have substantiated evidence that they abused or neglected their children. The control the State has placed on them, control they were forced to agree with since their children were effectively held as ransom for their supposed lack of cooperation, is a price these parents are willing to pay because they are just desperate to be reunited with their children.
Perhaps DFPS will conduct an investigation that follows their own Handbook Guidelines, Administrative Rules and Regulations, the Texas Family Code and even Federal Laws. The tragedy is that, since they did not (as the 3rd Court of Appeals and Texas Supreme Court both ruled), the families have suffered irreparable damages and trauma from the initial removal and subsequent 2 month separation. Nothing will change this experience for any of them. That is why removal is designed to be the very LAST OPTION when all else has failed. The reunion is bittersweet; the effects last a lifetime.
May 30, 2008: DFPS MAKES EFFORT TO SEND KIDS HOME BUT JUDGE REWRITES THE ORDER REQUIRING SIGNATURES BEFORE KIDS ARE TRANSPORTED-THIS SENTENCES CHILDREN AND PARENTS TO ANOTHER WEEKEND APART SINCE THE PARENTS ARE SCATTERED ALL OVER TEXAS ATTEMPTING TO BE CLOSE TO THEIR CHILDREN
The problem with the rewritten order is that it is essentially like House Arrest on the Ranch with the Parents placed under Probation-like Control for actions they haven’t been accused of individually. Again, the Judge attempts to treat all families as one when the Supreme Court was very clear that this is not appropriate. The order is akin to the State having conservatorship-like control without having it in name (TMC). If the result is the same, then what is the difference for the families? They still remain in the State’s chokehold with their children as the ransome.
TEXAS SUPREME COURT RULES-MAY 29, 2008
UPHOLDS FLDS APPELATE COURT RULING
Although the Texas Supreme Court’s Ruling is a huge victory for families, the damage incurred is done; the trauma suffered by all is irreversible. The FLDS parents and children alike will NEVER be the same again. It is more than unfortunate that Texas DFPS (Department of Family and Protective Services) was under the impression that neither the Federal and State laws, nor their own Rules and Regulations, applied to them. We hope this will encourage the type of meaningful systemic reform to our Child Welfare System that is necessary to actually value Families where Removal and subsequent Separation is a last resort. (It goes without saying that their should also be evidence.)
May every person who judges a CPS-involved parent think twice before they assume guilt before innocence in the “best interest of a child.” Please, hug your children tonight and do not forget the other parents who are going through similar experiences.
MAY 22, 2008
Texas Appeals Court rules State had NO RIGHT to remove all children from the FLDS ranch. Also, ruled that it was unlawful to declare the ENTIRE ranch as ONE household. CPS case is unraveling.
IT IS A GREAT DAY IN TEXAS FOR THE FLDS FAMILIES AND ALL FAMILIES IN TEXAS AND THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!!!
JUSTICE MAY BE SLOW BUT HOPE IS SURE AND THE FLDS HAS MAINTAINED THEIR HOPE AND FAITH THROUGH THIS ENTIRE TRIAL
THE FLDS SERVICE PLANS
LINK TO FLDS SERVICE PLAN
Could you change your entire way of life-your belief & value system-all within 12 months to the satisfaction of people who at the most despise you and at the least totally misunderstand you? See our “What Does It Really Mean” page for more explanation of Service Plans and what these parents are really up against to seek reunification.
Texas CPS immunizing FLDS children vs. The Texas Family Code:
Is Texas CPS knowingly VIOLATING THE TEXAS FAMILY CODE by consenting to the immunizations of the FLDS children in their custody while they KNOW that the parents have expressly NOT given consent for the immunizations? (CPS denies such knowledge, but oddly, the public has this knowledge.) For any child who is immunized, will CPS violate the Texas Family Code? If so, it will be TOO LATE for the children since CPS has already given the order to do it. Read it for yourself.
Section 32.101 (c) states: A person otherwise authorized to consent under Subsection (a) may not consent for the child if the person has actual knowledge that a parent, managing conservator, guardian of the child, or other person who under the law of another state or a court order may consent for the child: (1) has expressly refused to give consent to the immunization; (2) has been told not to consent for the child; (3) has withdrawn a prior written authorization for the person to consent.
Texas CPS will force immunizations on all FLDS children in State custody! So far, the majority of legal remedies attempted on behalf of the parents and children of the FLDS have been blocked by the courts. Restraining orders are being filed by their attorneys on behalf of the children to try to block this. This is another precedent being set that will have an effect on the rest of society. For any parent, correctly or falsely accused alike, denial of rights is dangerous. There are rules and regulations that CPS is supposed to follow and the Texas Family Code. CPS can not expect to prosecute their case using the Texas Family Code while getting away with their own violations of it at the same time. Immunizations have nothing to do with the original accusations of abuse, but do go along with the continued attack on a “belief system.” Under the guise of child protection, Texas CPS has managed to question the rights of individuals on immunizations, home schooling, home birthing, living arrangments, religion, employment practices, organic foods, basic child rearing, values, morals, and even types of toys utilized! All of these have been lumped together as having something to do with child abuse. Any parent or caregiver can now be considered as a possible abuser with these incorrect correlational inferences.
CPS actions are NOT matching words (who is being punished?):
Said the children would remain with their mothers-DIDN’T HAPPEN
Said the children under 4 would remain with their mothers-DIDN’T HAPPEN
Said the nursing children would be allowed to nurse-DIDN’T HAPPEN
Said the siblings would not be split up-DIDN’T HAPPEN
Said the children would not attend public school-?? (why immunize right now against the will of the parents and despite the dangers to this group?)
Said this wasn’t about religion-?? (why attack belief system with assumptions for all instead of actual individual actions?)
Said parents would be given their day in court-due process-DIDN’T HAPPEN, HASN’T HAPPENED, DUE PROCESS BLOCKED EACH TIME A FILING/APPEAL IS DENIED (seeing a pattern here?)
Said this was about imminent risk-?? (why is no one being procecuted (Texas Family Code 261.101) for failure to comply with “mandantory reporting” if so many had knowledge of this “abuse” for up to 4 years?)
APRIL 18, 2008: IMMINENT RISK or TEXAS EMINENT DOMAIN?
The FLDS Verdict has been decided
Family Preservation has lost another battle and victims are considered perpetrators while the children are punished by the trauma of separation
Let’s examine why every parent in America should realize the ramifications of this decision and think about the precedent being set.
As Parent Advocates, we have watched countless Hearings determining the fate of children and their families. Never before have we witnessed a group (people living at the same ranch in Eldorado) of people placed “collectively” on the stand as a “belief system” and “value system” are used as the preponderance of evidence that ALL children in this group are at “imminent risk” for abuse and neglect. After the initial DFPS “investigation” decided that ALL children would be placed under the same heading, and after Judge Walther decided to sign one collective Emergency Order with one collective removal, the result of the Show Cause/Adversary Hearing was sealed as well: it too would have to be collective. Of course, at this point, individual rights, family rights, parental rights, and yes even the children’s rights were thrown straight out of the collective window.
THE PROBLEM: No one can read minds. No one can prove “belief systems” or “value systems” exist for individuals without individually SHOWING evidence. With the original decision of denying due process during the investigation, the domino effect began. The rest is history. It is history for the FLDS. It is history for Texas. It is history for America. And pay attention because it is history for ANY family that will face a Child Protective Services investigation in the future.
Now that the State has determined that they are allowed to judge the many by the few (by hiding behind the guise of child protection and the no-man’s-land of quasi-civil/quasi-criminal proceedings used in child welfare cases), a precedent has been set that will handily be available for use against ANY collective group, or even groups of supposedly like-minded individuals. The saying goes that you can bring parents to their knees through their children. This is truer than anyone may really understand until it happens to you. As Parent Advocates, we have seen this repeatedly for more than 4 years in the Child Welfare System.
Having said that, we DO NOT advocate abuse and neglect of children in any form; however, we equally DO NOT advocate the total denial of due process and collective grouping of ALL parents in an investigation as abusers and neglectors. Let us give you some scary examples that may just hit closer to home than you may be willing to admit because “systemic abuse and neglect” is apparently easy to prove or not essentially necessary at all:
- What if ALL Catholic parents are grouped as abusers/neglectors after it is discovered that a priest molested their children, the Church covered it up, and the priest was subsequently transferred with NO prosecution? Is this “systemic abuse” and are parents who still allow their children to hold the Catholic “value system” or “belief system” somehow guilty? Will whole parishes of children be removed from their parents now under the FLDS precedent so that the authorities can “investigate” further? If so, then don’t forget they’ll all get one, big Show Cause/Adversary Hearing instead of individually being allowed to answer to the charges. This is ridiculous, but NOW plausible.
- What if the State determines that circumcision is considered abusive to baby boys and any parent that holds the “belief” that this practice is necessary for religious reasons, or otherwise, is now considered a “group of believers” collectively? Now, with the new precedent, the State may come in and take your children to investigate whether you hold this “value system” or “belief system” that is considered abusive. It is systemic. You will be judged by all others who also circumcise their male children. Also, don’t forget the State will include the girls when removing the children because the abuse is indeed “systemic.” Also, parents will all get one, big Show Cause/Adversary Hearing so they can be judged and answer the charges as a group. This is totally ludicrous, but now possible.
- What if some of your family members use illegal drugs? What if you associated with them at family gatherings? Guess what-if they have children then you can now be grouped with them as a possible child abuser/neglector in a CPS investigation. Signs of systemic abuse are as easy as this: you share the same genes, they have kids and you have kids, and of course you must share the same “belief system” and “value system” because you all are Baptists. And furthermore, if you ever went to the family campground down at Aunt Matilda’s on the river, think twice now before going on the annual river trip because the State may decide to remove ANY and ALL of the children from the private campground to investigate “systemic abuse” since a few of the attendees are known to use illegal drugs and they have identified this group collectively. (All it takes is a call to the hotline from mad Uncle Otis who didn’t get invited again this year. He knows your kids names, the location of the campground, and that two of his nephews used drugs.) Which family member will “represent” your group at the Show Cause/Adversary Hearing? This is absurd; however, it is now more realistic than ever.
- What if a fellow student in your child’s classroom or daycare reported that a teacher molested him/her? The new precedent allows for the entire group of children from the classroom or even the school or whole daycare to be removed from their parents for the purposes of further “investigation” to look for “systemic abuse.” You can now be classified as group with the same “belief system” or “value system” since you all liked the school district or thought the daycare shared your values and beliefs for your child’s education. Don’t worry though because you will all get one, big Show Cause/Adversary Hearing to judge “imminent risk” collectively. Again, this is outrageous and yet so feasible.
We wanted to give our visitors a taste of the future if this daunting precedent continues to be justified and rationalized by Texas. The sins of the few being charged to the many by association, location, and personal belief and value systems is such dangerous ground to walk on that we felt it would be useful to show families how this could affect them in the future.
Parent Guidance Center believes that the actual perpetrators should be brought to justice; we do not advocate punishing the children and families for what a few may have done.
Also, we fervently believe that Texas had a tremendous opportunity when this group moved here to provide education on our laws, build community relationships, and to win the trust of these people and now we have not only ruined our chances with them, but we have also ruined our chances in the future with the way this was handled and even continues to be handled. We hope you are as disturbed as we are by the seriously flawed precedent that is being set against due process for families in Child Welfare cases by the FLDS case and will look at the ramifications of the decisions if nothing is done to correct it.