Thursday, June 18, 2009

Madden expects veto of bad CPS bill

According to an action alert from the Free Market Foundation urging Governor Perry to veto SB 1440 expanding CPS powers, one of the bill's co-sponsors, Jerry Madden, now think last-minute amendments were a "mistake" and he expects Governor Perry to veto the legislation. I hope he's right. All the Governor's vetoes must be announced by Sunday.



Anonymous said...

We can only hope that this bill is veto'd, but if Perry isn't done letting his hair tweet, he might not have time to sign off on the veto's needed this year.

Anonymous said...

I don't care one way or the other, but seeking a veto is stupid if you think it prevents CPS from doing the same thing without the bill. Wake up, you child-haters, the bill codified the due process required to take a child without consent for an interview. Without the bill, CPS is left to make up its own rules, which can be more flexible than the process contained in the bill.

Riki said...

Actually, CPS already has the rules set out in its own policies, the Texas Family Code, the Texas Constitution & the US Constitution. It's not our fault (nor does it make us "child haters") if CPS repeatedly refuses to follow those guidelines.

Anonymous said...

Riki, with all due respect, CPS doesn't have a road map right now and does, in fact, make it up as they go along. Should they? Of course not. See the Gates decision.

In reaction to the Gates decision, this bill puts procedures in place, standardizing DFPS practice across the state. It will force the Dep't to create a record where no record currently exists (you know, a written statement, signed under oath?). SB 1440 puts judges on the hook for finding probable cause.

Is it a perfect bill? Nope.

Is it better for parents (and children) than the current morass of ad hoc procedures and CPS discretion? Yep.

I'm sure the veto of this bill is a done deal given the politics involved. That's a shame.

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform said...

Thank you Fort Worth Star Telegram for publishing NCCPR's op ed on SB 1440:

We are well aware of the fact that CPS will keep trying to take children illegally even if this bill is vetoed.

But at least thanks to the Gates and FLDS decisions there is, in fact, some law for CPS to obey - in theory - and some grounds to appeal such actions. SB 1440 is really an attempt to undermine those rulings and go back to the way thing were before those decisions.

If this bill really strengthens protections for families, why do so many groups that favored the FLDS raid want this law, while groups who opposed the raid want a veto?

There's more on the NCCPR Child Welfare Blog at

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,

Riki said...

Anon@9:48 pm You are obviously a CPS shill, either an employee or one of their sympathizers. Use your head for something besides decoration. Use this little-known search engine called "Google" & look up the CPS policy handbook (yes, it's online), the Texas Family Code, the Texas State Constitution, & the US Constitution. Everything you need to know is right there. The fact that you refuse to even LOOK at them tells me more about CPS' real motives when it comes to baby-snatching.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wexler:

First, congrats on what I strongly suspect will be a win for your point of view – Gov. vetoing SB 1440. Impressive job of “get out the vote.”

Second, you’re just wrong on the analysis.

This bill has nothing to do with the YFZ/FLDS case. You’re missing the limited nature of the 3rd Court of Appeals and S. Ct. FLDS decisions. Unfortunately, those decisions had nothing to do with due process. Those are no evidence rulings. Period.

SB 1440 has everything to do with the Gates decision.

Gates concludes with: “now that we have clearly established the law in this area, we expect that TDPRS, law enforcement agencies and their agents and employees will abide by these constitutional rules and seek to involve the state courts, who act as neutral magistrates in this complicated matters, as early in the process as is practicable.”

That’s what SB 1440 attempts to do – involve courts at the get go and lay out a process to comply with the standards laid down in Gates.

The problem with your position, and the Gov’s expected veto, is that a veto leaves in practice no discoverable and transparent process for parents’ attorneys to examine for abuse.

The Dep’t should have made sure that all stakeholders, including your organization, were at the table when this bill was drafted. It might have been a better bill.

I just don’t agree that no bill is better than SB 1440.

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform said...

Mr. Anonymous:
The reasons SB 1440 undermines the Gates decision are well outlined in a detailed legal analysis from the Texas Home School Coalition:

If the bill really created a "process to comply with the standards laid down in Gates" I doubt that Gary Gates would be among the opponents. If, on the other hand, it's really a process to *undermine* those standards, his opposition makes more sense.

The connection to FLDS: Before CPS can take a child out the door, CPS generally has to get *in* the door. SB 1440 makes getting in the door without justification far easier. It's *always* been way too easy to take away children on little more than a whim.

And finally, Mr. Anonymous, I very much appreciate your reasoned response and civil tone. But I think all of us are owed one ting more: Whatever errors I may make in my analysis, I'm willing to put my name on it. How about you - or at least an explanation for your anonymity?

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wexler:

Thanks for the link to your thoughtful letter.

It's about 6 pm Friday - is this an academic discussion yet? Maybe they're just waiting for the UT baseball team to take the field.

After a very cursory review (apologies), I suspect the main difference btwn us is that you see SB1440 as supplanting Gates and I see SB1440 as supplementing Gates.

I don't see how the state could do an end run around the constitutional "floor" or framework laid out by the 5th Circ. I'm not naive enough to think that SB1440 isn't an attempted CYA by the Dep't. It is.

However, on the whole, I trust in process.

Process is too often lacking on the DFPS docket in most Texas courts. I see SB1440 a first step toward better process.

If DFPS thinks that SB1440 will allow them to ignore Gates standards, they will be whacked by the appellate courts. The Waco Ct of Appeals has been doing a good job of whacking the Dep't the last 10 years or so.

And further, I suspect the 5th Circ would take it poorly if the Dept starts/continues to ignore Gates.

As to anonymity: one of the advantages of the internet - those of us who are not Executive Directors can express ourselves.

I am not affiliated with the Dep't, the courts, or CPPP. I do represent parents every once and again in DFPS and child welfare cases.

Even tho' I disagree here, do appreciate those of you in a "watch dog" role.

As I mentioned previously, I hope you get a seat at the table next go around.

Anonymous said...

The very nature of a CPS investigation is intrusive and traumatic for both parents and children. What you are seeing with the VETO of SB 1440 and the overwhelming reponse to this power grab by CPS (which CPS did not ask for) is a result of CPS trampling on the rights of so many parents and CPS abusing and traumatizing so many kids.

A prime example of that is the FUBAR CPS raid on the FLDS in El Dorado based on a CRANK phone call.
CPS traumatized more kids in one week than the FLDS has in 10 years.

SB 1440 would standardize EX PARTE hearings with only CPS present and NO parents or their lawyers, before a judge. Parents need to be there to tell their side before CPS runs roughshod through your life and traumatizes your kid.

I have not mentioned the hellhole of Texas foster care or the fact that a kid might be raped by his/her CASA advocate.

I think that CPS and CASA do more HARM to kids than good.

And by the way, I used to be a CASA advocate myself.

Robert Morrow Austin, TX

National Coalition for Child Protection Reform said...

Just to clarify: It's not my letter, it's from the Texas Home School Coalition. The bill has, in fact, been vetoed. There's a link to the veto message on the NCCPR Child Welfare Blog.

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,

Anonymous said...

As a grandparent who is still undergoing the ordeal of a CPS investigation, I am soooo thankful for the veto of this bill. CPS acted on a call against my daughter accusing her of neglecting her unborn baby due to "body odor and dry, peeling skin" Not only did they want an investigation, but because she was "visiting" my house, everyone who lived with me had to be involved also. Not only a waste of the CPS worker time, but he even took it to a court hearing and wasted the court and judge's time also, but yes, the judge ordered "ME" to comply with the investigation even though my name was nowhere on the petition presented by CPS attorney's I, for sure, won't be taken in by the CPS accounts of being sooooo overworked since I'm in the middle of seeing them search for someone to persecute.