CPS Removed a Dallas Family's Kids, and the Home-School Community Is Pissed

Categories: News

LambertTuttEtc.jpg
Texas Home School Coalition President Tim Lambert, flanked by Tutt family supporters.
For a full and detailed account of what Christina and Trevor Tutt have experienced over the past four months -- a run-in with CPS, the removal of their children by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, an ongoing legal fight to get them back -- read this.

It's a one-sided narrative compiled from third-party accounts that, given the Tutts' public silence and the black box that is family court, is basically impossible to verify. But this much is clear: Texas' home-school community is pissed.

"What we really have here today is abuse of a Christian family," Tim Lambert, president of the Texas Home School Coalition, declared at a press conference on the steps of the Old Red Courthouse on Wednesday.

There was abuse at the hands of Associate Judge Graciela Olvera of Dallas County's 256th Family District Court, who ordered them removed, and abuse by two unnamed CPS workers (identified here) who justified the removal by falsely claiming the children were in imminent danger, Lambert said.

Several close friends of Trevor and Christina Tutt flanked Lambert at the press conference, describing the couple as loving, conscientious, exceptional parents. Through these spokespeople, the parents acknowledged that a 4-year-old autistic boy they were caring for did briefly wander away from home one day in September, spurring the CPS investigation. But they dismissed as absurd the notion that the Tutt children were in danger. Nor, they said, did CPS present any evidence that was the case.

"There was never anything alleged to be neglectful or abusive," said Beth Byrum, a family friend who attended a hearing in Olvera's court two weeks after the children were removed. "That's part of what made our head spin."

Instead, they said, the Tutts are being persecuted by a judge and state agency that don't understand why they care for so many kids -- they had seven kids in their custody when CPS showed up: two biological, the rest adopted or in the process of adoption -- or why they would home-school them. (Note: The post originally said some of the children were fostered, which is incorrect. The Tutts used to be CPS-licensed foster parents but now have children placed with them through private adoption.)

The Tutts regained custody of four of the children after a January 7 hearing before another judge. But the others are still in foster care, and those who were returned are being forced to go to public school, the Tutt supporters said.

That's the part that really rankles Lambert. "Texas does not have anything close to educational neglect," he said. Forcing the Tutt children to attend public school violates their parental rights.

The Tutts are going to continue to fight to have all the children returned to their custody and to regain the right to home school. Meanwhile, Lambert is demanding that Olvera be removed from the bench and calling for an investigation of the two CPS workers.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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75 comments
k_sechrist
k_sechrist

I cannot believe that the Texas Home School Coalition or anyone else would print nothing but lies. I happen to be the grandmother of one of the kids removed from their home. It was a good thing too. My grandson has told his mother and the authorities of being abused while he was there. Both Christina and Trevor Tutt took my daughter to court to try to force her to sign her legal rights over to them. She refused and therefore, they took her to court. They are NOT Christians and anyone believing their lies really needs to pray and ask God to show them the truth. My grandson was dedicated to the Lord when he was a baby and I know that God was the one who worked it out so that he was removed from this evil woman's home. Her and her husband set out to find parents having trouble with their children and then manage to take them away. My grandson belongs to God and He will expose the truth. At least my grandson is safe from these evil creatures, as they can have no contact with him whatsoever. It seems that now they are trying to use the media to force the legal system to return the children which should never ever happen. These people are sick and need to be stopped.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

Funny, I was homeschooled and I didn't get ripped away from my parents. Huh.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Here's what I read as the State's case, based on the affidavit filed by the CPS worker in the Petition:


The Tutts adopt a lot of kids.  A two year old got out and wandered around for about a half an hour, and that prompted a CPS visit.  The two year old was accompanied by his 8 year old adopted brother, who saw him outside and figured that he shouldn't be alone.  (Good call, IMHO, especially for a kid.)  The cop's report said that the kids were all filthy, the house was filthy, and yard was filthy, and the toddler looked like "he hadn't been bathed in a couple of days".  (My call?  I

m shocked that a cop is a judgmental asshole who takes it out in his report when his time is 'wasted' having to take kids home because they wandered off.)  The father was out looking for the kids when they cop brought them home, which no doubt further pissed off the cop.


When CPS showed up, (unannounced, IIRC) the house was clean, and the kids were fine, but there were even more kids there than the family had official custody of, because they also take in kids from parents who don't think they can take care of their own kids.  CPS noted that both parents were being treated for depression, and wanted a psych eval.


So, CPS went to court with that.  That's all they were asking for -- an order forcing the parents into a psych eval.  The judge, on her own, decided not to do that, and to simply bust up the family and take the kids into foster care.  The family was never notified that any of this was going on.


CPS noted in the history that they had been called out a few times, but on all the unannounced visits, the kids and house were fine, and even noted that the final disposition of one of them was that the report to CPS was in retaliation for someone else having a CPS visit. 


The homeschooling angle?  CPS noted that because the kids weren't in public school, there wasn't any other way for them to get reports on the kids but from the family's referrals.  (I understand why they would prefer that, but in the balance of rights, tough shit.  I'm sure the police would prefer to be able to rummage around my house and car anytime they felt like it, but they don't get to.)


NOTE: This is what is in the state's affidavit.  That doesn't mean it is gospel.  It's "the other side" that people are looking for.  


My own commentary?  CPS was doing its job.  Seeking the order for a psych eval might have been overzealous, but in the grand scheme of things, it seems like something the family would have complied with.  The one that is over the line is the judge who looked at one affidavit, threw out all the experienced recommendations of CPS, and said, "you know what?  This family looks weird to me, so I'm gonna destroy it.  Fuck you, I'm a family court judge and it's in my power to shit on anyone I don't like."

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

That's the part that really rankles Lambert. "Texas does not have anything close to educational neglect," he said.


I would disagree there.  DISD is educational neglect.

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Child Custody, Grandparent /Grandchild Child visitation can be an angry and bitter world .

motherwhoknows
motherwhoknows

They take these kids but leave the 2 year old Gracie Ford with the dad after 4 reports to CPS they did nothing.  Now Gracie is dead.  So what are their priorities?

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

What I can tell you just from reading the Temporary Order is that the Tutts were ordered to submit to random drug and alcohol testing and a psychiatric evaluation, the latter of which is not particularly common in these cases.  I don't know what is going on, but there's more than meets the eye.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Well [I wasn't going to get involved in this] the only possible reason CPS should have been involved is the autistic child wandering away from home.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Either the parents are not what they appear to be or they are being persecuted for home schooling.

The former will come out and the latter cannot be tolerated in a free society.

mcdallas
mcdallas

Let me be clear: there is MUCH more to this story.  


I am a homeschool parent.  I'm sure Myrna is not surprised.


However, I stayed away from the petition that this group was passing around.  Far away.


Much more to the story and if the typical family who's backing this group would do a little sleuthing, they'd be embarrassed by supporting the narrative.

Bdavenport
Bdavenport

@k_sechrist I'm glad someone is speaking the truth.  It's ridiculous how they are trying to make this a home school issue.  CPS didnt just target these people.  The police dept called because they let the children wander around unsupervised.  Neither of the Tutt's work and their house stays filthy (I should know since I live right by them.)  It's sad how people have latched on to this story and ran with it.  They have this unhealthy obsession with adopting other people's children to reap the government benefits so they don't have to work. 

txtopnotch
txtopnotch

@alteredjustice And you actually wrote a complete, grammatically correct sentence with no syntax, spelling or punctuation errors.  That's better than some public school-educated folks can do.

littledebrarae
littledebrarae

@everlastingphelps The two year old wasn't two ......it was four.  And I find it amazing that you just 'forgot' about the part that the so called 'affidavit' that you quoted was written 'after' the liberal 'elected' judge decided to persecute the home schooled family.


And you 'say' it's just CPS doing it's job?  Wow.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@everlastingphelps The chid who wandered was actually 4 years old, not 2.    The affidavit you are citing was written up by the caseworker AFTER the judge decided she wanted a removal and was worded in order to give the appearance "cause" for removal--but none of the things cited are cause for removal in the State of Texas under the family code.  The caseworker ended the affidavit with language that included "immediate danger of harm if the children are left in the home" and yet that case worker had not been in the home for over 2 weeks when the affidavit was written.  Immediate danger of harm is part of Texas Family Code 262 and it means that if the children are left in the home ANOTHER DAY they will be abused or neglected.  Additionally, while the caseworker stated that the family did not have legal custody of the children there, that was not the case. All the children were there legally, having been placed by private agencies and CPS itself.  Yes, CPS was doing it's job and the family was cooperative. (did you note the fact that the incident occurred on Sept. 11 and CPS did not even think it urgent enough to show up til Sept. 18th to look into it.  Did you note that the affidavit ends with words to the effect of the department having done everything in it's power to avoid having to remove the children yet the caseworker stated she was informed on the 5th that compliance was required and she did not CALL THE FAMILY and TELL THEM, instead she waited 8 full days and then asked the judge for a court order to compel them to participate in psych eval?)


I appreciate you sharing this information with everyone. I am curious how you managed to see it when you are not a party to the case and it is a sealed document.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@motherwhoknows it appears the case with these kids has been going on for years, Gracie's unfortunately was brand new.  That lady should suffocate and burn for what  she did to her

easydoesit
easydoesit

@James_the_P3 that was the result of the FIRST hearing before the Judge who issued the order. It was appealed and at the SECOND hearing the new judge removed all of those stipulations, leaving in place only a psych eval.  There is definitely more than meets the eye here.  

toodlebug
toodlebug

@James_the_P3 Also parenting classes and a psychological evaluation (Different from psychiatric). And visitation is supervised. I agree, there is much, much more to this story.


Bdavenport
Bdavenport

@holmantx When CPS simply asked to see the children's school curriculum to verify she homeschooled - she had NOTHING to show.

TXmom
TXmom

@mcdallas please share what you know. I'm a homeschooler as well and am very interested in this case.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@mcdallas yes, please tell us what you know, MCDallas... where you at the court hearings? Do you know the family? Dish...

ruddski
ruddski

Mcd, why not give us a hint of what you know

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@txtopnotch @alteredjustice  Well, if you want to be picky, I should've put a comma after "homeschooled," but it's a minor error. I attended public school in Richardson, but probably learned more of that sort of thing homeschooling.


There are positives and negatives to both.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@bvckvs @everlastingphelps  Firstly, you presume that you are dealing with someone who is on welfare.  That is not the case.  Mrs. Tutt has private insurance.  Secondly, what the caseworker fails to mention in her affidavit was that on her last visit in the home, Mrs. Tutt gave her a stack of parenting certificates from the classes she continually attends to stay current for her work with children and families, as well as a letter from her doctor attesting to her mental fitness, which the caseworker signed as received.  The caseworker testified in the January 7th hearing (yes, i was there for all 9 hours of it!) that she told Mrs. Tutt that  she would check with her supervisor and if she needed anything else she would let her know.  At the staff meeting 5 days later, the supervisor said that the letter from her doctor was not sufficient and Mrs. Tutt needed to have a psych eval at a CPS contractor instead.  The caseworker testified that she knew Mrs. Tutt thought she was in compliance and the caseworker did nothing to communicate with her to let her know she was not.  Instead, the caseworker went a week later to get an order to participate from Judge Olvera, who didn't want to issue an order to participate, she wanted to issue a removal.  Instead of telling Judge Olvera that there was no cause for removal and the kids were safe (as the caseworker testified to repeatedly in the hearing), the caseworker came up with an affidavit that listed many things that were not cause for removal and then ended with the statement that she believed there was immediate threat of harm to the children if left in their home... a home she had not been inside for 19 days, and a home that she had declared safe on her 3 previous visits during investigation.  Then out of nowhere, November 21st, armed constables showed up with writs of attachment to take the children by any means necessary including use of force.  And there, my friend, is the rub.  

Easydoesit
Easydoesit

Sorry for the multiple posts, my ipad is possessed today...

Bdavenport
Bdavenport

@easydoesit @everlastingphelps I noticed you failed to mention the 4yr old is autistic and had a shitty diaper on.  Also, have you ever been in their house?  It stays filthy with tons of animals and crap piled everywhere.  Not to mention neither adult has a job.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@easydoesit @everlastingphelps I clicked the link on the website.  If it is supposed to be sealed, it is not properly secured on the website.


Also, I said official custody, not legal custody.  I understand the difference.  

easydoesit
easydoesit

@ScottsMerkin @motherwhoknows It only appears the case has been going on for years because these are adopted children and whenever there is any action in the courts involving them, their old case file is reopened.  This has only been going on since November of 2013.

Easydoesit
Easydoesit

Judge callahan removed the random drug and alcohol testing that the judge olvera added to the cps safety plan because she said it was overkill, there had been no allegations of any drug or alcohol abuse at any time. She also removed the psychiatric eval that judge olvera had added on top of psychological eval and all the parenting classes because judge callahan saw the stack of parenting certificates that were submitted to cps by the parents. She seemed pretty pissed, too, that olvera and cps had upped the safety plan to that level, saying it was a waste of taxpayer money and there was no cause for any of it.

Easydoesit
Easydoesit

If you go to the top of the comments, someone posted quite a bit of info from the affidavit submitted to the court by the caseworker.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@bvckvs @easydoesit @everlastingphelps  ? when did the adults ask for the state to give them a psych eval? Which adults are we talking about?  The Tutts do not want the state to give them a psych eval, but CPS refuses to let them go to anything other than a CPS contractor for it, which I find a bit "stacking the deck..."  I'm not assuming that you were stigmatizing them for welfare, but they have ready access to health care so your comment that access is a problem was not accurate.

Easydoesit
Easydoesit

Thank you for clearing that up. I have no clue about things like thtat.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@everlastingphelps @easydoesit OK. Well, the children in the home were placed there officially by a private agency and that involved legal paperwork and power of attorney, and by CPS themselves which also involved legal paperwork and power of attorney. Those children were not removed after the incident, but the family chose to return the child who wandered to his mother the day that he wandered--he had autism and in spite of numerous safety precautions they felt they could not keep him in their home safely.  That was before CPS even showed up. The 7 children removed on November 21st were their 2 bio children their 3 adopted children and 2 children who they had been given temporary managing conservatorship of, one by the Dallas County Courts, and the other by the Tarrant County Courts.  One of those two was a bio sibling to two of the adopted children and her mother voluntarily relinquished her parental rights and requested they adopt her as well.  The family was about to have permanent custody finalized as a step towards finalizing her adoption on the 26th--5 days after CPS removed her to foster care.


everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@easydoesit @everlastingphelps Legal custody is any custody that isn't illegal.  When my niece spends the night at my house, I have legal custody.  


Official custody is when a court declares that you can enforce custody against other people who may have physical custody of the child.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@everlastingphelps wow. that is interesting. please tell me the difference between legal and official custody, I am curious.


Bdavenport
Bdavenport

@easydoesit @ScottsMerkin Most people go their entire lives without ever getting a visit from CPS.  The Tutts have been investigated at least 3 times before this removal.  Just sayin.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@ghkyluhhje no, this is a new case involving CPS and the removal of the children.  It is just consolidated under the same case number because it involves the same people. Not the same case, the other case was a parental termination and then an adoption.  Saying "this case has been going on for years" makes it sound like this family has been fighting CPS for 4 years over the kids.

ghkyluhhje
ghkyluhhje

 easydoesit-In other words, you are simply restating that the case has been going on for years. That's the definition of reopening an old case file.

easydoesit
easydoesit

@bvckvs @Easydoesit  No joke.  Especially when they are doing it as a punitive action for someone calling them on violating the law... (Olvera removed the kids illegally according to Judge Callahan... and in the first hearing, in Judge Olvera's courtroom she didn't allow the cause for removal to be addressed AT ALL... and then magically decided that not only should the kids stay in foster care, the parents should both have psych and psychiatric evals, random drug and alcohol testing, and parenting classes....) Thank goodness for the appeals process in the court of an associate judge!

Bdavenport
Bdavenport

@easydoesit @toodlebug Not all of them.  Her oldest son also despises her and testified against her.  He is still living with his father, by choice!

mcdallas
mcdallas

@ruddski Actually, it looks like some of the stuff I was able to find a few days ago is "unfindable" now... whatever that means.  I'm not saying anything bc I don't want to end up like Shutze and get mentioned in someone's lawsuit.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@easydoesit@whocareswhatithink@sconley34@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz@ruddski  Now that I have had time to go through most of them, need to pull Modify of custody from 11/14/2013, that seems to be where the story really starts, but if you read the 12/4/2012, you get a bit of a better picture, albeit one sided, but from what I can gather, they are custodians of 2 of the children in this docket and not the adoptive parents.


I find it a little weird that they have changed the childrens surnames, considering they are not the adoptive parents (not legally yet anyway) and reached out to the birth mother (who is in prison)to place them with family during this mess instead of another foster home - but that just me.

ruddski
ruddski

Maybe the DO will rent a reporter and find out what it's all about.

sconley34
sconley34

@whocareswhatithink@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz@ruddski

You blew the case wide open!

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ruddski
ruddski

Oh, so a yenta is one who wants to know the whole story behind media reports, in order to have an informed opinion, not one based on misleading or incomplete news reports.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Yenta:


Latin Name: Overbearingus relentlus


Notable Characteristics: Bursting with good intentions, often far too many. Sees every interaction as an opportunity to squeeze in advice about your love life/job search/pie recipe. Spotted in maternal and nonmaternal varieties.


Songs & Calls: "She's just not right for you—a mother knows." "I'm just saying, I have a guy who has a guy who can do a better job on your windows." "Nonsense, of course you need help!"


These types annoy mostly because their opinions are unsolicited. And because sometimes, although you hate to admit it...they're right.

ruddski
ruddski

Dunno, don't care what a yenta is, I just wanna know the secret.

Bdavenport
Bdavenport

@easydoesit

You do realize that when Ms. Tutt got "official custody" of the youngest girl the mother was in jail and she met the aunt at Wendy's right?  Ms. Tutt trolls for babies of the disadvantaged.

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