Featured Image
Members of the Tutt family. Texas Home School Coalition / YouTube
Candi Summers

Opinion, , , ,

Multi-year Child Protective Services investigation devastates Texas family

Candi Summers
Image
Image
Friends pray for Christina as she prepares to enter the hearing on January 7th, 2014 where 4 of her children were returned.
Image
The Tutt Children attend the Inauguration of Governor Greg Abbot in Austin, Texas
Image

PETITION: Demand TX Legislature STOP Child Protection Services From Illegally Taking Children Sign the petition here.

August 26, 2019 (Texas Home School Coalition Association) — On November 21, 2013, Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) forcibly removed seven children of a Texas homeschool family, in spite of no evidence of abuse or neglect, by order of Judge Graciela Olvera of the 256th District Court of Dallas County.

The action against the Tutt family calls to mind the saying "No good deed goes unpunished." The Tutts were a Christian family with five biological children, three adopted children, and one in the process of private adoption. (Three of the biological children are grown and living outside the home.) The Tutts spent several years as a licensed CPS foster home, adopted a child from CPS foster care, and were serving with Safe Families, working with at-risk families and directly with CPS to help children in need of care because of abuse or neglectful situations. At the time of the incident that drew CPS's attention, they were caring for a sibling group of five, including an autistic child, through Safe Families. Additionally, CPS had independently placed an infant with them, knowing that they already had 11 children in their home. This family obviously had a heart for helping children in bad situations, and CPS itself was aware of this goodwill and called on the family as a resource for such children for many years.

* * *

A Tragic Turn of Events: What Happens When CPS Opens a Case

On September 21, 2013, a four-year-old autistic child in the Tutts' care wandered away from the home after climbing over a baby gate, out a dog door, and over a 5-foot fence. The Tutts' eight-year-old followed the four-year-old but could not bring him back, so he stayed with the child while the other Tutt children notified their father, Trevor, who immediately got in his car and began to search for them. Unfortunately, Trevor turned right at the end of the block while the children turned left, and a police officer picked the children up and returned them to the home before Mr. Tutt could find them. Without entering the home, but seemingly upset with the number of children there, the fact that the shaded yard did not have grass, and the fact that the autistic child had soiled himself, the officer contacted CPS.

This call resulted in an investigation by CPS caseworker Shan Robinson, who, after walking through the home, acknowledged, "There is no problem here." Mrs. Christina Tutt was cordial and fully cooperative with Ms. Robinson. During the visit, Ms. Robinson questioned Mrs. Tutt about her ministry to the homeless and asked why she would choose to stay at home with her children. Ms. Robinson said, "Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!" Apparently, she meant that quite literally, because the caseworker issued a "safety plan" requiring the Tutts to take parenting classes and requiring Mrs. Tutt to have a psychological examination. Mrs. Tutt insisted the caseworker put an expiration date of October 20, 2013, on the safety plan.

On October 31, 2013, 11 days after the expiration date, Ms. Robinson returned. Mrs. Tutt produced certificates documenting parenting classes within the last year and two family therapy sessions in the previous two weeks. In addition, Mrs. Tutt produced a letter from her doctor noting her physical and mental fitness to care for children. Ms. Robinson signed a copy of the doctor's letter to show she had received it and noted that CPS had no services that could be offered to the family because the Tutts had already taken so many parenting classes on their own. She told Mrs. Tutt she would see if the doctor's letter would be sufficient proof of mental fitness. Ms. Robinson did not contact them again.

* * *

Judge Olvera Holds Illegal Hearing

On November 14, 2013, Judge Graciela Olvera held a hearing regarding the Tutt family without informing the family or inviting anyone to represent them. The judge issued an order to remove the children from the Tutt home, even though CPS had acknowledged there was no evidence of abuse or neglect. Under Texas Family Code chapter 262, removal from the home requires immediate threat of harm to children, but after the order was issued, CPS took no action for a full week.

On the morning of November 21, 2013, three cars of armed constables arrived at the Tutt home and took possession of the children, not allowing Mrs. Tutt to put shoes on them and refusing to put them in their car seats. The constables lied and told Mrs. Tutt that they were taking the children and herself to a meeting with a judge and CPS.

On arrival at the local CPS office, the caseworker, Ms. Robinson, told Mrs. Tutt that her children were being removed by order of a judge. She would not tell Mrs. Tutt the charges and would not show her any paperwork. When Mrs. Tutt attempted to have her children placed with friends and family per standard CPS procedure, she was told, "We don't do that anymore." Mrs. Tutt cited the CPS Handbook, Section 4511, but was rebuffed, and Ms. Robinson refused to allow any of the children to be placed with friends or family. Mrs. Tutt was told the children would be placed in foster care and the matter would be further discussed in a December 4 hearing. Things seemed horrible enough already, but it only got worse.

In the interim, the guardian ad litem appointed by Judge Olvera to represent the "best interests of the children" did her own "educational examination" of the traumatized children and concluded they were not being "properly educated." Her descriptions of the children's inability to count objects, say the alphabet, or spell their names were unbelievable to the Tutts' many friends and family who had witnessed their academic ability over the years. The guardian ad litem also told the Tutts' attorney that the children were being "brainwashed" to think they did not need education. The paperwork that facilitated the removal of the children was not served to the Tutts until November 26th, and it did not list any evidence of abuse or neglect. It only contained anecdotes about the caseworker's visit — nothing actionable by CPS.

On December 16, 2013, despite protests by the Tutts' attorney that it is not lawful to remove children or keep them in CPS foster care without evidence of abuse or neglect, the attorney ad litem recommended to Judge Olvera that the children remain in CPS care. No evidence of abuse or neglect whatsoever — the case hinged almost completely on the guardian ad litem's concerns that the children were "severely behind educationally."

According to witnesses in the courtroom, the hearing quickly devolved into a relentless attack on this family's religious beliefs, community service, and right to homeschool their children — with no legal basis for the charges. Mrs. Tutt herself was on the stand for three full hours.

CPS attorneys berated Mrs. Tutt for not using a "state-certified homeschool curriculum," even though there is no such thing in Texas. The guardian ad litem denigrated her for not submitting documentation of her homeschooling to the state on a regular basis, including state-mandated tests. However, since there is no state requirement for documentation, there is literally no way to submit documentation to the state.

When the Tutts' attorney was finally given the floor, she had almost no time to present her case. She had to reduce her witness list from 20 to only six (two of them taking the stand for fewer than five minutes apiece), was unable to fully cross-examine, and was unable to present her closing arguments. By that time it was 9 p.m. The hearing had dragged on for more than 12 hours. Mrs. Tutt collapsed outside the courtroom in utter shock at what had just happened. To add insult to injury, the judge decided to wait until the next day to rule on the case, leaving dozens of family friends waiting in the hallway all day with no resolution.

The next afternoon, Judge Olvera issued her ruling: The Tutts' children would be kept in foster care and CPS would continue to pursue termination of parental rights. The parents would also be forced to undergo drug testing, psychiatric evaluation and parenting classes. Again, there was absolutely no abuse or neglect — only a rogue judge who decided to place her view of what was best for these children above the law. Stunned by the travesty of justice, the Tutts appealed the ruling.

A hearing before a new judge was set for January 7, 2014. The guardian ad litem, in the meantime, met with the Tutts in their home with their attorney and acknowledged she had no concerns about their  parenting ability, the children's safety, the ministry in which the family was involved, or how many children they had in their home. However, she would not recommend to the court that the children be returned unless the Tutts agreed to place their children in public school and never homeschool them again.

* * *

The Tutts' Appeal and Judge Callahan's Illegal Ruling

The Tutt case continued at a hearing in Dallas judge Tena Callahan's court on January 7, 2014. The hearing went from 2 p.m. until 10:45 p.m., with a 10- and a 15-minute break. During the course of the hearing, it was revealed that the initial removal order by Judge Olvera was given at a hearing of which Tutts were not informed and at which they were not represented. Shan Robinson, the CPS caseworker whose affidavit was used as justification to remove the children, testified in the hearing that she was not present at the hearing and did not seek the removal of the children, only an order to compel Mrs. Tutt to undergo a psychological evaluation. Judge Olvera had refused to issue an order to participate and told CPS she wanted a removal without even meeting with the caseworker, and without any evidence that there was any abuse or neglect. Ms. Robinson then changed her paperwork to include language that would give the judge justification for removal and resubmitted it to the judge. Mrs. Robinson specifically added this ending to her affidavit: "It is my opinion that there is imminent danger and the children are at risk of serious harm if left in the care of their parents." This is almost direct language from Texas Family Code 262.102 (1) in the emergency order section of the family code. Ms. Robinson testified at multiple hearings that the home was fine and that there were no grounds for removal, yet she included this language because Judge Olvera wanted the children removed from the home. In other words, Ms. Robinson committed perjury in the document at Judge Olvera's request. Shan Robinson also testified that she knew Mrs. Tutt believed she was in compliance with the safety plan and acknowledged that no attempt was made to contact Mrs. Tutt and inform her that she was not in compliance.

Although Judge Callahan appeared to be much more judicious and reasonable than Judge Olvera had been, she nonetheless illegally ruled that only four of the Tutts' children would be returned to them. One would remain with his biological father (Mrs. Tutt's ex-husband), but the two children in the process of private adoption would remain in foster care. While Judge Callahan seemed to be much more aware of homeschooling's legal status in Texas, she nevertheless ruled that the Tutt children who were returned to them would remain in public school during a court-ordered psychological evaluation of the parents and an educational assessment of the children by an "educational expert who is familiar with homeschooling."

Witnesses at the hearing were thrilled to hear that four of the children were coming home, but were utterly astounded that the judge said, in spite of CPS's acknowledgment that everything was fine, that the children would remain in public school while the parents and children were tested, and that the other three children would not be returned.

* * *

Tutt Children Traumatized in Foster Care

The Tutt children were severely traumatized by their removal. Some of them were told while in CPS custody that they could not refer to their parents as "mom and dad" but only by their first names. The children were forced to attend public school, and several were subjected to forced medical examinations and re-immunized because CPS claimed they did not have shot records. The children were separated, and the older sister was not allowed to comfort or snuggle her younger sister. They were not provided with basic hygiene products. One of the children with special needs was punished for urinating on herself, when part of her disability caused urinary incontinence. Perhaps worst of all, Mrs. Tutt later discovered that the foster home two of her daughters were in included visits from a man previously convicted of murder and the foster mother had an outstanding warrant for public intoxication.

After the January 7 hearing, CPS dragged their feet in performing the court-ordered academic assessment of the children. When Mrs. Tutt asked how to complete the psychological examination, she was given no answers. In April 2014, THSC wrote a letter to the Texas commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services, the department that oversees CPS, demanding an investigation of caseworker Shan Robinson and her supervisor Diana Etheridge, who facilitated this travesty. You can read that DPS letter here.

THSC hosted a press conference on January 29, 2014, to publicize the removal of the children from the Tutt family and to demand an investigation into CPS and Judge Olvera at the Dallas County Courthouse. Friends of the family came in support of the Tutts to publicly call for justice for this family, including the return of their children and their freedom to resume homeschooling. Sadly, in spite of all this, nothing happened. The media and authorities continued to ignore the travesty of justice being carried out in Dallas County. View the video of the Tutt press conference and the comments from the Tutt friends and supporters.

Eventually, the advocacy of Texas homeschoolers resulted in action. The Tutts were assigned a new caseworker, who gave direction about where Mr. and Mrs. Tutt could get psychological evaluations. The new caseworker also finally set up visitation between the Tutts and the children still in foster care. Meanwhile, the children were all placed in public school except for the five-year-old, who was under the compulsory attendance age.

THSC sought a copy of the transcript of the January 7 hearing in Judge Tena Callahan's court. They were informed that the district attorney and the attorney for the biological father objected to our request, and a hearing was set for March 2014 in which they attempted to prevent THSC from buying the transcript. While it is common to protect children involved in these kinds of cases by not using their names, we knew the intent in this action was to prevent the public from having evidence of what actually happened in the courtroom.

On Monday, February 10, 2014, CPS finally allowed a visit between the Tutts' foster daughter K and her siblings (whose adoption into the Tutt family had already been finalized) but tried to refuse to allow Mrs. Tutt to be part of that visit. When asked why, the CPS supervisor produced the old court orders, from December 16, 2013, and claimed that CPS was acting as the managing conservator over all the Tutt children. When Mrs. Tutt told the supervisor that those orders changed on appeal, the CPS worker told her that it didn't matter — the December 16 orders were what they were going by, and it was Mrs. Tutt's responsibility to provide CPS with a copy of the new orders. Mrs. Tutt recorded part of the situation on her phone but had to stop and use her phone to call her attorney instead.

There was no legal justification for the judge's decision to separate K from her foster family and her biological siblings who were members of that family. In fact, in the state of Texas, people who have adopted a child's biological siblings are given first right of refusal when that child is put up for adoption. Additionally, even if the family had not adopted K's biological siblings, the family had cared for her for 18 months and thus had legal standing to adopt her as fictive kin. In spite of these legal precedents, the court and CPS blatantly refused to allow the Tutts to regain possession of K or move forward on her adoption. They even went so far as to have the adoption case in Tarrant County closed without the Tutts' consent.

As the February 28, 2014, hearing approached, the children restored to the Tutts continued to struggle with the trauma of their experience with CPS, and the Tutts sought professional help for them. CPS illegally sought the children's records from the public school and recruited one of the tutors from the public school to spy on the family for them. THSC helped the Tutt family with the legal costs of defending their children, and kept exploring any possibility to help them get their children back and continue homeschooling.

* * *

"K" Left in Foster Care Indefinitely

On February 28, the Tutts were back in court for a "status" hearing. The attorney appointed as guardian ad litem claimed that K was "doing well in her foster home" and she suggested K remain in the foster family's care in spite of the fact that there was no legal cause for her to have been removed from the Tutts and her biological siblings.

The remainder of the hearing focused on education for the four children who were at home with the Tutts. Their adjustment and emotional state were not taken into account as it pertained to school performance. All of the children were being compared to their public-school peers. CPS subpoenaed almost a dozen public school officials to testify. No educational assessments had been made, and the teachers testified that they didn't have any resources to get the children to "grade level." One teacher said that in the public school system the math and reading coaches are only used after a child does not show significant improvement within the classroom. Mrs. Tutt also told the court that she and Mr. Tutt had enrolled the children in private tutoring for math and reading, out of their own pocket. Based on the recommendation of a CPS-contracted psychologist, Judge Callahan ruled that the Tutt family must submit to monthly, unannounced CPS visits, family counseling, and psychiatric evaluation of both parents by a CPS-approved psychiatrist. The judge said that she would decide on what was best for the next school year at a hearing in June.

Additionally, THSC and the Tutts were seriously concerned about the competence and reliability of the new caseworker assigned to family. The new caseworker promised to fix a problem with the adoption subsidy that was being denied to the family, but did not do so for several months in spite of calls from the Tutts and THSC. In a letter to the Commissioner of Family and Protective Services, THSC's Tim Lambert specifically addresses the misconduct of case workers Shan Robinson and Kristina Lindsay.

As the summer continued, the Tutt children were all doing well academically, despite the guardian ad litem's report that they were all at least two years behind academically. She reported that the 10-year-old daughter "could not spell her last name and did not know what 2+2 was." This same child made As and Bs and passed the STAAR test above her grade level. Once the Tutts finally overcame resistance by the school to have them tested, two of the other children were diagnosed with having special needs.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the case for the family was CPS's failure to enforce court-ordered visitation with Christina Tutt's oldest biological son, who had been placed with Mrs. Tutt's ex-husband. He was noncompliant for more than eight months, and there was no help from the guardian ad litem to facilitate visitation.

Following the stress of the CPS worker's monthly visits ordered by the judge, 10-year-old E was diagnosed by her pediatrician with situational depression caused by emotional trauma. During one visit, the CPS caseworker said she would need to speak with the children alone at least for a few seconds. E refused and Mrs. Tutt did not allow it. The caseworker kept assuring the children she was not there to take them but the youngest daughter yelled "I don't trust you!," an understandable sentiment considering the children were lied to when they were originally taken and throughout their weeks in foster care. The monthly visit brought E to a state of severe anxiety and reopened the wounds caused by her removal and her desperate time in foster care, where she said she felt isolated and abandoned. These feelings were exacerbated by the fact that her parents were not allowed regular visits with her, only having two visits between her removal and her return six weeks later. She started trauma therapy at the same counseling center as three of the other children.

* * *

THSC Continued to Fight for the Tutt Family

THSC worked tirelessly through all the channels available to them to bring this injustice to light and continued to cover all legal costs of the case. The family and their friends were so grateful for their support and protection. THSC sent another letter to the Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), among other officials, regarding this case and the caseworkers involved. Additionally, a THSC representative spoke with the Texas Commissioner of Health and Human Services, who had become aware of the case and initiated an investigation.

The last week of June 2014 there were several hearings in the Tutt case in Dallas. THSC-retained attorneys represented the Tutt family as they sought to continue the adoption process of K, the biological sibling of two of the adopted Tutt children. CPS repeatedly said that they would work to prevent the adoption of K by the Tutts, despite having no reason to do so. In another hearing that week the judge ruled that Mrs. Tutt must pay child support to her former husband, with whom the judge placed her teenage son. Mrs. Tutt had not seen her teenage son in over 7 months. In spite of the ex-husband defying the court order to have this son attend counseling with a court-appointed counselor and Mrs. Tutt, the judge later agreed to allow the father to use a different counselor, who would only comply with the court-ordered counseling if Mrs. Tutt prepaid a $4,000 fee for services.

In yet another hearing, Dr. Ronald Johnson gave testimony as an expert witness for the family that it would be in the best interest of these children to be returned to the home. The judge seemed to accept this testimony but found it necessary to say that the focus on the education of the children "had nothing to do with homeschooling," although the hearings in December and January were almost solely focused on the alleged lack of education of the children so CPS could justify keeping the children away from their parents. On a positive note, the judge chastised CPS officials for not completing the psychiatric evaluations of Mr. and Mrs. Tutt, which she had ordered 60 days earlier. She ordered that the Tutts have an evaluation done by a qualified psychiatrist before the next hearing in August.

As August approached, THSC had still not received a copy of the January 7th transcript that Judge Callahan ruled in March they could have, and for which they had paid $2,500 to the court.

Attorneys for the Tutts continued to prepare for the filing of a writ of mandamus with the Second Court of Appeals. In order to do that, the attorney preparing the action had to take affidavits from family and friends who were in the courtroom for the 12-hour hearing in December and eight-hour hearing in January. The judge refused to make a transcript of the January hearing available to the attorneys representing the Tutts. This was a surprising ruling as representing attorneys are entitled to the court records of their clients.

On Friday, August 22, the Tutts were back in the courtroom for a hearing scheduled to decide whether they would be allowed to homeschool their children. CPS attorneys focused heavily on the issue of socialization and homeschooling during cross-examination.

* * *

Judge Callahan's Conduct Unbecoming of a Texas Judge

However, perhaps the most disturbing development to come out of that hearing was the deliberate and unconcealed oppression of public accountability in the courtroom. After taking testimony from both sides, Judge Tena Callahan declined to render an official order. Judge Callahan severely chastised the Tutts for their decision to speak to a local press contact about their issues with CPS. The judge went so far as to tell Mrs. Tutt, "You're a big girl. If you have an issue with CPS, you take them on." This unabashedly narrow perspective regarding the nature of interactions between CPS and Texas families highlights the root issue facing the Tutt family: a judge and a caseworker who see no substantive difference between state control of a child's life and the parents' control of the child's life. This perspective was evident in the statement of the CPS-retained psychiatrist, who reportedly testified that she had never seen a family or a child go through trauma as a result of the child being removed from the home and placed in foster care.

Judge Callahan pulled a spectator, who attended to support the Tutts, out of the courtroom to question her on who she was, why she was there, and whom she knew inside the courtroom. The judge then had the bailiff confiscate the woman's cell phone for the duration of the hearing and informed her that, even though this was a public hearing, in the future she would not allow any electronic devices that could send and receive messages inside the courtroom. It was then explained to this supporter that if she did not comply, she would be held in contempt of court and jailed.

The hearing also progressed through the realm of social media when an assistant district attorney from Dallas County hacked a private secure web page for supporters of the Tutt family and used private information from the group in an attempt to intimidate a witness in the case. The degree to which the court and CPS abused, disregarded, ignored and removed the rights of the Tutt family is beyond justification on any grounds.

On September 14, 2014, as Mrs. Tutt sat in line registering her children for their second year in forced public school, Judge Callahan finally ruled that the 4 children in the Tutt home would be released from CPS oversight and allowed to return to homeschooling.

Meanwhile, the motion filed by CPS at the beginning of this case to terminate the parental rights of the Tutts was still pending. The Tutts' attorney filed a writ of mandamus with the Texas Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas, arguing that both judges in this case had abused their authority. She asked the court to rule that when the district judge ruled that the taking of the children by CPS was unlawful, she should have complied with the law and returned all of the children to the family. Sadly, the Fifth Court of Appeals issued a ruling denying relief to the family due to a lack of an official transcript, to which the Tutts were lawfully entitled but which Judge Callahan delayed providing for months.

* * *

Fire: Trouble on Top of Tragedy

In December 2014, the family's home sustained serious fire damage when the freestanding garage caught fire because a squirrel chewed through the wiring. The garage was already engulfed by the time Trevor discovered the fire. He was at the store and arrived home just in time to get Christina and the children out of the house. There was no noise, smoke, or any indication of the inferno outside from where they were inside the house, getting ready for dinner.

In the meantime, hearings and court actions continued on behalf of the children still separated from the family. THSC prepared legal counsel for a jury trial, if necessary, to restore the children to their parents. Although CPS is limited by law to 12 months in such cases before it is required to drop its involvement if it has not proven its accusations, it will not come as a surprise to those who followed this case closely that the judge granted CPS an extension to allow more time to continue legally harassing the Tutt family.

At the beginning of 2015, Ms. Cecelia Wood, the Tutts' attorney, filed a second action with the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas. This writ of mandamus asked the higher court to free the Tutt family from government interference, in light of the earlier court ruling that the children were unlawfully removed in the first place.

As they fought this uphill battle, the Tutts yearned for their family members to return home. Seven-year-old K, the biological sister of two of the Tutt children, remained in foster care, where she had been for more than a year. K was repeatedly reprimanded for insisting her last name is "Tutt" but was allowed to visit her two siblings on a weekly basis. CPS continued to work aggressively to prevent the Tutts from adopting K. K's biological mother (in jail, charged with murder) had previously signed a document waiving her parental rights and agreeing to allow the Tutts to adopt her three children, but CPS acted as though it had never happened and took the biological mother to trial to terminate her rights, forcing the Tutts to witness at the hearing.

At the beginning of 2016, despite a serious situation that required immediate medical attention, Medicaid told the family that one of their children's accounts was on hold because CPS was still listed as the conservator — despite the Tutts having been granted full conservatorship over their child over two years before, and despite an order for CPS to fix this Medicaid issue over a year before when it was not yet time-sensitive.

The Tutts' case was still pending at the Texas Supreme Court with full briefings requested by the court and completed in October 2015. Within days of the filing of those briefings, CPS initiated a new investigation of Mrs. Tutt based on an alleged "outcry" by K, who was still in foster care. Since the Tutts no longer lived in the Dallas area, their local CPS office was required to open an investigation even though it took weeks before the caseworker received the recording of the interview in which the child allegedly made this outcry. As experienced family law attorneys say, "manufacturing" new allegations is a common tactic of CPS in such cases to strengthen their case when they are in danger of losing.

* * *

K No Longer Allowed to See Siblings

THSC's Special Counsel for CPS investigations, Chris Branson, represented the Tutts in this investigation and the charges were dropped by the local prosecutor, but the weekly visits between K and her biological siblings were stopped and never reinstated.

The Tutts' attorney filed a writ of mandamus with the Supreme Court of Texas seeking relief in February 2015, and the high court requested briefings from both sides. Fourteen months later, in April 2016, the court denied the family's request for relief again with no explanation. Continuing to fight, the Tutts' attorney then filed the motion for a rehearing that was also refused. In September, Judge Callahan said that a jury trial could not be scheduled in her court until at least March of 2017.

* * *

A Sad Ending for K and the Tutts

The Tutts, like many families in these horrific situations, were traumatized by the multiple investigations, the constant threat of CPS starting another investigation, and false allegations of abuse. Their hearts were broken knowing that K had spent more than three and a half years in foster care while CPS and the judges did everything possible to delay a trial for the family. THSC fought for three and a half years on behalf of the Tutt family to reunite their family and allow the family to continue homeschooling. Despite several requests to speed up the girl's return home, including a joint trial with others involved in the case, the judge refused. Ultimately, to protect their family and K, still in foster care, from further abuse by CPS, the family was forced to make a heart-wrenching decision. The Tutts cancelled their plans to adopt K.

The Tutt case is a classic example of CPS abuse and unnecessary trauma to a family. It's easy to feel that nothing good came out of this case. However, despite the overwhelming injustice perpetrated by our courts, there is hope. THSC used the facts of the Tutt case to identify and close loopholes and weaknesses in state laws and CPS policies. Because of the efforts of the THSC Watchmen and support from the homeschool community, nine important CPS reforms passed! It is our hope and prayer that no Texas family is subjected to this sort of injustice again. However, another key element in this case was incompetence or utter disregard of the law by the judges. This is why THSC is also active in vetting and endorsing elected officials who interpret and enforce state laws.

Won't you join THSC today in fighting for the freedom of Texas parents to raise their children?

Candi Summers lives in Arlington, Texas, with her five children and husband Nathan. Candi has served on the advisory board of THSC since 2015. Homeschooled in Texas from 1980 to 1990, she now homeschools her own children.

Published with permission from the Texas Home School Coalition Association.

FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Sign up today!

Select Your Edition:

You can make a difference!

Can you donate today?


Share this article