• Fri, Jan 10 - 12:04 pm ET

Being A Foster Parent Doesn’t Give You The Right To Brainwash Children With Your Christian Ideologies

94175038The news of Trevor and Christina Tutt, a Christian couple who fosters children and has been fighting in family court for the past few months, is all the rage on Facebook right now. I didn’t get the memo, because I don’t have a lot of religious friends – but people are pissed that these parents have had their foster children taken away because the state deemed their homeschooling practices insufficient.

Trevor and Christina Tutt of Dallas have several years of experience helping at-risk children through both CPS foster care and the ministry Safe Families. In addition to five biological children (three of whom are now grown and living outside their home), the Tutts have three adopted children and are in the process of adopting another child.

In September, local police contacted CPS after they found one of the Tutt’s children, an autistic 4-year-old, wandering lost, with his pants soiled, down the street. The Tutts claim that they were looking for the child, and just happened to make a wrong turn, enabling the officers to find them first. A local judge ordered the family’s seven children to be removed from the home.

According to Christian News Net, ”government officials were allegedly displeased with the family’s homeschooling. THSC advises that the Tutts were informed that their children were not “properly educated” and were being “brainwashed” by their homeschooling parents.” Well, if you are being forced to learn a Christian curriculum, you are being brainwashed. But I guess separation of church and state doesn’t apply to Christian home schoolers who are willing to foster children with developmental disabilities. Is that the argument?

“The hearing quickly devolved into a relentless attack on this family’s religious beliefs, community service, and right to home school their children—with no legal basis at all,” Lambert reports. “CPS attorneys berated Mrs. Tutt for not using a ‘state-certified home school curriculum,’ in spite of the fact that there is no such thing in Texas. The guardian ad litem denigrated her for not submitting documentation of her home schooling to the state on a regular basis, including state-mandated tests. This, of course, is not only not required, but there is no way for someone to do so in Texas.”

There may not be a “state-certified home school curriculum” (which is very distrubing) but there are certain obligations a homeschooler must fulfill, as per the Texas State Law Requirements Regarding Home Schooling:

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
  • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
  • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

Is it possible that the foster parents aren’t fulfilling these obligations? Apparently, after listening to hours of arguments during a hearing, a Texas judge believes that they aren’t.

“This case exemplifies the new attack against parental rights and home schooling in which a family court judge who has a low view of parental rights believes he/she has the authority to decide what is ‘in the best interest’ of the children in question,” he stated. “This is a grave new concern for families who are pursuing home schooling or some other decision for their children that society might find unorthodox.”

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the state to step in. There was a 4-year-old child wandering – whose parents didn’t notice he was gone for a time. In terms of questioning a faith-based curriculum – methinks all the people who are up-in-arms about this would have no problem with it if the foster parents were Wiccan. Or Muslim. Or any other faith the Christian right may not understand.

I’m just not comfortable with the idea of  foster parents ramming religion down the throats of their foster children. But maybe that’s just me.

(photo: Getty Images)

Share This Post:
  • Véronique Houde

    I agree with you, Maria. If you’re fostering, you’re taking responsibility to temporarily (for the moment) take care of other people’s children while they (hopefully) get back on their feet. It’s not up to you to decide to give them a religious education…

  • blh

    OK don’t be a fucking bitch. If you’re not religious, wonderful. No one cares. But having a Christian education is NOT brainwashing. Or any other religion! If you’re religious, obviously you’re going to raise your kids in that religion and it’s not the same as being “brain washed”. You could just as easily say that atheists brain wash their kids. Now this couple not properly educating the kids and whatever other neglect was the problem, not the religion. But I will say it’s a weird situation to teach foster kids about religion but it’s not like someone is going to pretend they aren’t religious jsut bc they have foster kids.

    • CMJ

      Weird. You sound like way more of a “bitch” than Maria did in her post.

    • Danielle Marie

      Way to go! You managed to stoop to the level of a high schooler who has zero legitimate argument do must resort to name calling!!

    • Aimee Beff

      As a non-religious person I don’t mind at all if other people teach their kids about religion. What I do care about is when people teach religion and call it “science”, which a lot of homeschooling (not all – I know some very well-educated home-schoolees) curricula try to get away with.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Yeah I have zero issues with people teaching kids about faith of all sorts, especially if it involves the Golden Rule, but I do have issues with people calling my writer a “fucking bitch” for having a strong opinion, so unless you wanna get the ban hammer settle down Gladys

    • CMJ

      So Christian of people!!!

    • keelhaulrose

      I have no problem with someone teaching their child Christian values, and taking them to church. Hell, if you want to homeschool your child, be my guest, though I think you should do it to state educational standards.

      I DO have a problem with someone taking foster children, who they may not adopt, and giving them an education that is going to harm them should they be sent back to their bio parents or moved to a different home.
      Not all, but most strict Christian-homeschooling curricula are not in line with state educational standards. A child brought up in it, then sent to public school (or even most private schools) will be behind their peers. I have a BIG problem with that. I strongly believe in a well-rounded education for all students.
      What I have unfortunately seen are young adults with this strict, Christian homeschooling being unable to cope with real-world situations where people oppose their viewpoints. They’re the types who think their religion trumps all and can’t handle when there are laws that differ with their viewpoints. And, too often, I’ve seen them go to college and fail because they just aren’t prepared with the basics that many of the other students have. (I will caveat here with this happens to public-school kids, too. My dad was roommates freshman year with a valedictorian from a small town, and the kid flunked out of college because he couldn’t keep up).

  • Givemeabreak

    Wait… what? I really don’t care what religion someone is (I’m a Christian) so long as they are providing a loving, stable, SAFE home for their kids or the kids they are taking care of (read=foster children). Before I go on I will admit I am NOT sure that those needs were being met by this family.
    That being said, my Grandparents raised (from youth – high school) 26 foster children. They adopted 2 of them. They had over 100 temporary foster children and emergency care kids go threw their doors. My Aunt adopted all 6 of her children from foster services, and had i have no clue how many went through her home as temporary or emergency care. My family attended church and sunday school every week and these children went with us. They were our friends and some like family. They went to birthday parties, school, outings, vacations and everything with us. But we weren’t supposed to take them to church with us?
    “Sorry Billy it’s Sunday and I’m going to church so you have to stay home with a babysitter so I don’t brainwash you and ram my religion down your throat.”
    I don’t like the idea of someone thinking that sharing your life and opening your home to children calling it, “ramming religion down their throat.” Are foster families to neglect their own spritual lives to provide a home for these kids???

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      No- absolutely not! But I think there is a difference between exposing your foster children to religion by taking them to church with you – and keeping them homeschooled with a faith-based curriculum. Foster children have not been legally adopted – I don’t think these types of decisions should be able to made for children who may only be with a family for a short while.

    • Givemeabreak

      Ok, I get that, but in this story, the children living in their home were their biological children or already adopted except for one that was in the process of being adopted. So that one child that they are in the process of adopting, is supposed to go to public school (if he/she is of age) until they are adopted? I completely understand that the children that are not theirs and just there for temporary or emergency care still going to public school, but not the children that are being raised as their own or are their own.
      Either way, I think ithe whole situation is just awful.I agree with you there.

    • Mel

      I realize this question wasn’t to me, but I’m gonna stick my snoot in anyway. Birthing and adopting children does not make them your possessions. Regardless of why or how long they are with you, they deserve to be prepared to become whatever adults they want to be. To me, I’d venture to say, to most people this means giving them as broad a foundation and education as possible. So, no, you shouldn’t be able to brainwash your bio or adopted kids either by replacing school textbooks with a bible (or torah or qu’ran).

    • Givemeabreak

      Children are most CERTAINLY not possessions, but everyone parents differently do we not? I don’t recall reading anywhere in the actual article that they had replaced the core textbooks with the Bible, but were teaching them alongside one another. I have my children in public school, they went to Christian private pre-schools for 2 years before attending. My nephew goes to a private Christian school and daycare. Different parents different parenting styles.

    • Mel

      Of course, it takes all kinds of styles to make all kinds of people. That’s fabulous and a great part of the fun. That said, teaching the bible side by side with a science or math textbook is religious indoctrination. School is for education and church/home is for faith and religion. So, no it’s not right to adopt 5 kids so that you can keep them in the home, isolated, and learning religion all day.

    • Givemeabreak

      I highly doubt that they adopted 5 children to make them stay home and learn religion all day long. That seems awfully judge-y to imply that doesn’t it?

    • Support Tutts

      it’s awfully presumptuous that they were using faith based curriculum… they actually had one of their adopted children in public school because she had special needs. They didn’t have an issue with public school per se, just the fact that the judge/CPS was choosing FOR THEM where they were allowed to send their children. This is about State law in Texas and parental rights in general, not necessarily home schooling specifically.

    • Sod Buster

      Maria Guido has an anti-christian bias birthed by her phobia of christians and christianity and she displays it for all to see.
      .

      [Disclaimer: My wife and I and all five of our children are follwers of Jesus. We homeschooled all five of our younguns, the oldest of whom just graduated from college. They are all doing much better in life than my 6 siblings and I did at their age.]
      .

      I grew up with 5 sisters and 1 brother. Once, my parents inadvertently left my younger sister [she is an MD today] at a friends house where we had all been visiting and did not realize their mistake til we were several miles down the road.
      .

      It was embarassing for mom and dad. My siblings and I still laugh about it today, but nobody accused them of neglect or irresponsibility. The social workers did not come to investigate.
      .

      We survived to adulthood without having the benefits of seat belts or bicycle helments. Not because my parents were irresponsible, but because seat belts were not even offered as an option and bicycle helments were non-existent. When mom and dad weren’t looking we occasionally played with sticks and we did not put our eyes out.

  • Jayess

    I feel somewhat fuzzy on this. For one, I don’t particularly like “Christian homeschooling,” despite my Christian background because to my mind it’s “how not to teach evolution” aka “bad science.”
    However, I want to give the family the benefit of the doubt. I mean, it’s not just fostering; they’re in the process of adopting. And I get what the other commenter said, obviously, if your family goes to church, mosque, synagogue, etc. you’re not going to leave your foster kid at home. I dunno.
    On the other hand, I’ve read a lot of scary stories about Christian right foster and adoptee parents doing some pretty horrendous things recently, and having “Christianity” be a pre-req for the child to be part of their family. That makes me uncomfortable with the whole situation.
    But I still want to give them the benefit of the doubt, because fostering and adopting is HARD and more good people should do it. So, it makes me want to believe, and I really do hope, that they are good people and that everything turns out okay.

    • My2bits

      Just had to respond to the evolution remark. I was homeschooled and went to Christrian private school where we were taught Creationism. However, we learned evolutionary theory as well. We were just taught that it is a theory and not fact. Particularly, the origin of earth theories (Big Bang, etc) and age of earth theories We learned all sides and how to think for ourselves. Unfortunately, many people assume the exact opposite. I find that I had a much more well rounded science education than the vast majority of my public school peers. We were also taught natural selection, and (believe it or not), Creationists actually do believe in natural selection. I would go into more detail, but it takes forever to type on the IPad. :-)

    • Mel

      Sorry, but constantly saying the word “theory” when discussing scientifically proven evolution, automatically contradicts everything you said. No, students shouldn’t get to decide what science to believe, just like we don’t get to decide what 2+2 equals. Facts are facts, and by placing religious doctrine in the same room as science, you mixing education with faith.

    • My2bits

      Creationism is also called theory. Anything that cannot be tested with repeated concurrent results is, by definition, a theory. That’s why things like the Big Bang and the ability for a species to completely genetically mutate into another species are theories. Natural selection and derivation of species have been proven by repeated testing and can be called fact.

    • Mel

      I’m with you that creationism is a theory.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      I’m sorry but Creationism is not considered a theory because it appeals to the supernatural.

    • Aimee Beff

      That … that is the EXACT definition of a theory in science: something that has stood up repeatedly to the tests, experiments, and predictions made based on it. The Big Bang is a theory because we can, for example, measure the background radiation left over from it. Gravity is a theory because it lets us predict the movement of planets, stars, satellites, galaxies, and so on. Evolution is a theory because we can make predictions based on it that hold up when we check DNA comparisons, the fossil record, etc. Seeing one species evolve into another takes millions of years but for the evolution of novel traits in an existing species, look up the work of Richard Lenski, it’s pretty cool stuff!

    • Shelly Lloyd

      But science does not take appeal to a supernatural entity. There is not way to test or measure what a supernatural entity is thinking. Also part of science is predictions, and while one may be able to make a prediction or hypothesis about what a supernatural entity will do, there is not way to test that prediction or hypothesis. How do you test a God?
      I’m not saying that Creationism does not have merit as a very intriguing philosophy, but it is not a science.

    • Aimee Beff

      That’s exactly why creationism isn’t a theory and evolution is. Evolution is testable and has a sizable stack of data to back it up. Creationism not so much.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      Ok, sorry. When you said “that is the EXACT definition of a theory in science:” I thought you meant that in regards to creationism.

    • SusannahJoy

      I’m sorry, but you are wrong. The way scientists use the word “theory” is vastly different from how you’re using it. And that’s the problem. You were taught that evolution is just one of many ideas. You were taught that “theory” means “we don’t really know” and it doesn’t.

    • Jayess

      Listen. I’ve heard it. “My background is Christian” is code for being a recovering fundamentalist. I had to sit through science classes where all my friends thought that as soon as evolution was introduced, it was their God-given directive to fight the teacher. Everyone around them affirmed them for being good Christians.
      It’s school. It’s provincially-mandated curriculum. Just pass, even if you (ignorantly) disagree.
      Your reply immediately put me in mind of my much-beloved friends and classmates. You “just had to respond to the evolution remark,” just like they had to argue with my science teacher. Evolution does not endanger your salvation, but fighting it does make you appear ignorant and close-minded. I know we don’t know each other, but I would honestly say to you with no animosity – if arguing evolution is the testimony you want to present on an internet forum, you may be doing yourself no favours.

    • Frownie

      Btw some Christians also believe in evolution or are open to the idea, and I’m not sure that having your understanding of the origins of the universe skewed as a child ever actually hurt anyone. Millions of people across the world have different ideas about how the world came into being.

  • Guest

    Too often we hear about these stories after the child is dead. When we talk about abusive relationships in adults, one red flag is “isolating” the victim from friends and family. While I think homeschooling can be a fantastic option (something I would consider for my bean in a non-isolating way), it CAN (not always is, but “can”) be used to isolate. Especially to isolate within a small, same-believing, hyper-strict community. With all children I can defend some potential state intervention here, with foster children (and even higher-risk adopted-older children) the state’s interest in protecting that child is at IT’S VERY STRONGEST. Stronger by far than the custodial foster parent’s interest in controlling that child.

  • HopeYouNeverMakeAMistake

    Yeah, you’re usually pretty-level headed but this is uncalled for garbage, at best, and highly offensive and discriminatory at worst…as a Christian (and a pretty liberal one at that), I reserve the right to teach me children (biological or otherwise) about my religious beliefs, just as I would teach them about anything else that was of value to me. I would not love my children any less if they chose not to embrace my religious beliefs, but they’re a part of my culture, not brain-washing (unless you consider teaching my children about our country’s history, our extended family’s native languages, Grandma’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, etc., brain-washing as well). You don’t have to believe in God and you are not obligated to teach your children about him. But surely as you advocate for every other group of people with differing values and belief systems, you just come off as a jackass when you turn Christianity as an excuse to suddenly be intolerant.

    • CMJ

      I think the issue for me is that there is a slight difference in teaching your children about religion, taking them to church, and living your life a specific way than homeschooling your children with a curriculum that is strictly based in religion. There is truly no way for the child to have other views because they aren’t exposed to anything BUT that specific thing.

      It’s a tricky situation….and while I can see that it is not necessarily akin to “brainwashing,” it is one that is a challenge within a system (like Texas’) that really doesn’t have a way to monitor that type of home schooling curriculum.

  • pixie

    I think there’s a difference between teaching religious studies in a homeschooling situation and “forcing religion on foster children”. I personally don’t see anything wrong with foster parents sharing and explaining their religious beliefs with foster children and adding that into their curriculum. That being said, the foster parents should also respect the children’s decision if they decide to not follow that religion. They should not be forced to go to church (if they’re old enough to decide/stay at home by themselves) or have religion brought into every subject area. There is nothing wrong with a healthy understanding of and respect for different religions.

    Where the problem lies is some children in foster care are in and out, lives in constant turmoil and not a whole lot of structure. Visits with their bio parent(s) and going back to their foster homes can cause stress on the children, especially if they don’t necessarily understand why they cannot live permanently with their bio parent(s). A difference of faith or belief system could possibly add to more confusion and stress if they’re expected to practice both (one with foster one with bio). Explaining to the children what you believe in and why and welcoming them into your belief system if they want to is the easiest way to avoid a huge amount of stress.

    Basically what I’m saying is there is nothing wrong with teaching foster children about religions, especially one the foster parents practice, BUT the children’s safety, mental and physical health, and non-religious education should be put first. A confused and frightened four year old autistic child found wander around with soiled pants raises some eyebrows, not necessarily about their religious teachings, but about their concern for the safety of the children and ability to watch over them.

    • brebay

      My problem with it is they don’t say “these are our beliefs” they say “This is the absolute truth.” Not okay.

    • Mel

      Except that the kids are a captive audience. Just like in school. I think we’re living in a fantasyland if we believe that the foster parents are simply presenting their religion as an option. Children don’t know that they have the choice to opt out, and in most religious families that choice simply doesn’t exist until adulthood. By the circumstances it inherently becomes a situation of brainwashing. If nothing else, these kids have been pushed around enough and are probably willing to go along with just about anything if it means they get to have a home and a family. I think it’s gross to present a kid with the option of “learn and practice our religion or go back to your foster home or dangerous bio parent(s).” So, when you think about it from the kids’ perspective, the religion is not a choice, it’s a requirement. They have to go along to get along. ESPECIALLY if they are homeschooled!

    • pixie

      I know it’s difficult, and I’m just saying what I think an ideal situation would be. It might not happen, but it would be better if foster parents open up a dialogue with children who are old enough about religion. Did their bio parents follow a certain religion (with younger children they could simply be asked “did your parents teach you about God/Allah/Vishnu/whatever?”) or were there no religious teachings at all?

    • Mel

      I think that’s a great idea, too. I think the problem here is that Christian Fundamentalists (and other exceedingly devout religious folks) are not presenting religion as an option. By cramming as many kids into their home as possible and force feeding them religion through the homeschool lessons, it feels to me like they’re more interesting in spreading their gospel than they are in nurturing the foster kids to become whatever they wish.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      right, it’s not like we are privy to info they had lessons on different religions every week

    • Candi Summers

      Just fyi, because i know the family…this is not a fundamentalist family by any means. Additionally, the children temporarily in their care were in the local public school, as was one of the Tutts daughters with special needs. The issue the family has is not with public school, but with a judge deciding for them where they must educate their kids. That is against state law, parents in Texas have the right to choose the venue and style of their children’s education.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Wrong. Every child is absolutely entitled to a scientifically-accurate fact-based education.

    • Alexandra

      But shouldn’t a foster child feel like they’re part of a family? I mean, if they could just do their own thing, separate and apart from the family, why be in foster care at all? Just stay in an orphanage.

    • pixie

      You can feel like you’re a part of a family and not practice the same religion or attend the same religious institution. Most families I know do other things together that make them feel like a family besides going to church.

    • Mel

      I want to be clear – I do NOT think all Christian are evil or
      brainwashers or whatever. I think that the totality of the
      circumstances in this situation, however, should lead us to believe that this is not just a
      matter of whether or not the foster child attends church on Sunday.

      Yes, attending a church service might be part of “being part of the family.” I agree that’s legit. What I’m saying is that it’s nonsense to pretend like the religion is being offered as a choice or option. Again, children are a captive audience. And I disagree with the conclusion that by choosing not to attend church for an hour every week means that they don’t want to really be part of the family and should “just stay in an orphanage.” Bringing that religion into the education is wrong. Simply wrong. The child certainly doesn’t have the option of opting out of that! And homeschooling for religious reasons creates an environment ripe for brainwashing.

  • staferny

    I agree that a loving, safe and stable home should come first and foremost when fostering. As long as they can show that their homeschooling is on par with the academic standards of the schools then I don’t see much of an issue, the kids are likely in a better situation than they would be with their bio parents.
    I have an amazing friend who fosters, she has now adopted 2 of the children that came to her as babies with fasd and many other developmental issues, she enrolled them in Catholic school just like she had with her 3 bio kids, I’m pretty sure their birth mother wasn’t Catholic but she physically abused them and was drunk/on drugs through her entire pregnancy, I don’t think that Christianity is the greater evil here.

    • Mel

      I’m not willing to settle for “well, brainwashing is better than being beaten by their bio mom.” Both things are wrong. One isn’t more wrong that the other. Kids should be both safe and educated. That’s not too much to ask.

    • staferny

      Brainwashing is in quotations, there is no proof yet that they were “brainwashing” the kids, just homeschooling them with a Christian curriculum. Maybe you haven’t seen toddlers taken from their parents because they’re neglected, covered in cigarette burns and bruises but yeah, I think it’s quite a bit worse than teaching kids about baby Jesus.

    • Mel

      Oh, there you go! You got me! I’m evil and stupid and I think that baby jesus is worse than cigarette burns.

      Oh please. It’s counter intuitive not to realize that a christian curriculum is, in and of itself, a form of brainwashing. When you kid can’t even learn about science and math and reading and all that other important stuff without also ingesting as much jesus as possible, that’s brainwashing, no quotation marks needed.

    • staferny

      I did not call you evil or stupid and I’m sorry if you took it that way, just because I stated my opinion it doesn’t mean I’m saying that yours is wrong.
      I went to a catholic private school, we said prayers 4x a day, and had religion classes for an hour a day every day, I didn’t have a choice that I was enrolled in that school but I don’t feel as though I was brainwashed.
      Until there is more information on what exactly the parents/foster parents were teaching the kids I’m not going to throw stones.

    • Mel

      By suggesting that I could possibly think that breaking children’s bones was worse than hearing about jesus, yes, you absolutely implied that I was stupid or cruel or both. I’ll grant that you didn’t mean to, and just move on from it.

      I’m not opposed to prayer or the bible or whatever. I’m not even that much opposed to religious private school in general. It’s the concept of teaching religion hand-in-hand with education. Math is school and bible is church. That’s all I’m saying.

    • staferny

      Nope, still didn’t suggest you are stupid or cruel and I never once mentioned breaking bones. I’d appreciate you didn’t make assumptions about what I’m suggesting.

    • Mel

      Okay, if we’re being literal, swap “breaking bones” with “cigarette burns” if it makes you feel better. I’m not making assumptions I’m replying to your direct comment. Clearly we’re not going to reach a consensus, so it’s best to move on. Take care!

  • Givemeabreak

    I hate to recomment, but it sounds like you have a bigger issue with the fact that these people are Christians, and teaching Christianity, then the fact that their 4 year old wandered off. Is this right? (Honestly asking a question)

    • Mel

      I think it’s wildly speculative and unfair to suggest she has a problem with people being christians and isn’t really that concerned that the child was in actual physical danger.

      Your Gram sounds lovely and I’m so glad she was able and willing to open her home to kids in need.

    • Givemeabreak

      Gram is lovely and amazing and so many great things, thanks :-)
      That is why I asked Maria this question, because the more I read the article, the more it seemed like it was coming across as a Christian homeschool is unacceptable form of education.

    • Mel

      You’re welcome :) Those kids, and you, sound lucky to have her. And be sure to thank her for helping us out here today!

      I realize you put it as a question, but it just seemed really judge-y to even imply the possibility that Maria might be anti-christian, or any other religion or that she’s attacking people for choosing to homeschool and be christian at the same time. I just don’t like to think that someone could see her as that narrow or bigoted. Just being protective, I guess.

    • Givemeabreak

      LOL! And see, when I read Maria’s articles they come off to me like she is being so judgey about the way other people live their lives and raise their families. But that is just the way they come off too me. Normally once you ask her a question or for further expanse on what she’s written, you get a much clearer picture.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Christian home “school” is absolutely unacceptable because it isn’t education at all! It’s isolation and indoctrination!

      The children have rights, under law, to an accurate, reality-based education, something they will never get from people who think the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

    • Zoe Lansing

      I can’t speak for Maria,but I know I definitely have a huge issue with the fact that a 4-year-old,autistic child was wandering alone on the street with soiled pants. I chose to focus on the religious homeschooling aspects of the case in my comment because that’s what the debate brought up in this article is centered on. The article from Christian News Net that this article appears to have been written in response to also focused on the religious homeschooling component of the case,so I’m guessing that’s why Maria focused her writing on that,as well.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Oh,and at least in the county I’m a CASA in,they do still try to place children with families of the same religion.This is,of course,not always possible,however,particularly if the child’s religion is in the minority in the area.

  • Mel

    Maybe one of the problems here is too many kids? If they took a long time to notice that a 4yo was missing and soiled, then they clearly don’t have their shit under control. I think the religion part is very likely one of the main factors behind the choice to take on so many kids at one time. The whole “be fruitful and multiply” thing just isn’t a responsible choice for everyone. Collecting as many children as possible is just not a wise decision for the kids. As for the brainwashing aspect, I think it’s highly probable that they chose homeschooling for the purpose of isolating the children from things the parents find objectionable. So, if you are always at home, and without much access to the outside world, how could you possibly know that there are other points of view out there that you might like better? I have a feeling that this is the reason for the homeschooling and “hoarding” of children.

  • Amanda

    I agree with some of the other people here, it feels like there are two different things being addressed in the article. I have a problem with children not being appropriately educated or cared for – no matter what faith they ascribe to (or don’t). To me, that’s the big issue. Neglect.

    My parents were foster parents for many years and all of my foster siblings went to church and Sunday school with us. They weren’t required to do extra church activities (unless they wanted to), but church was a family activity. And my parents treated my fosters no differently than they treated me, that was part of giving them a safe and stable home life.

    I’ve seen foster homes were the bio kids and the foster kids are treated differently and it’s a bad scene. I’d rather parents take everyone to church, synagogue, mosque, whatever, than have someone feel less than.

  • Alexandra

    I am Christian, but not practicing. (just as a preface) Maybe these are horrible people – or maybe they made a mistake with regard to this one instance. My mom lost me in a mall once, and I’m an only child!! A security guard found me. CPS was not called. So maybe there’s more to this story.
    If you adopt or foster a child, don’t they become a part of your family? And if you were “cleared” to adopt/foster, then your values and beliefs should be passed along to the children. (probably this will exclude practitioners of “non-traditional” religions, just due to state bureaucracies being what they are).
    I would need more info on this. Were they keeping the kids uneducated except for 8 hours of bible study per day? That’s not home schooling, that is indoctrination/brainwashing and shouldn’t be allowed by the state.
    Or, are they Christians and as a result one “class” or one hour or so per day was on the subject of Christ/religion? That’s no different from going to a catholic school.
    Or do you think these kids would be better off in a state-run facility (that’s not sarcasm or nasty, Maria, I’m really curious).
    I would need more information.

    • Candi Summers

      You can read all the details of the case by going to http://www.thsc.org and using the search bar to look for tutt.

  • Bebe

    I’m guessing (assuming) that the issue here is that the homeschooling was inadequate and the children were not actually being taught to the level that they needed to be learning at. Homeschooling is great…most of the time….but it can also be used as a cover for abuse/neglect, or as an excuse for lazy parents not to actually educate their children, or for extremists to teach “science” that won’t adequately prepare the children for real life. That is my only issue with this; if they were neglecting the children, both physically and educationally. If that is the case, it needs to be fixed.

    I don’t care that they’re Christians, teaching their kids about Christianity, and I don’t understand why you do, either. If they were a Muslim family who lost their fosters because they were teaching them about Islam, would it make you feel the same way? WTF is up with all this “Blech, Christianity is bad!” bullshit lately, Mommyish? Am I to assume that my Christianity makes me not welcome in the wonderful world of feminist mommy blogging? Because that’s really what it seems like, and it’s gross.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      can I say fuck no? we have many Christian readers, and many readers of other faiths, all are welcome here, always xo

    • Bebe

      It really does seem like, lately especially, there have been multiple articles and comments saying things about christianity that none of you would be advocating and tolerating if it were said about any other group of people, and it makes me sad. It may just be my perception, but the impression that I get from this “community” is be whoever you want to be, do what you want to do, and everyone must support you….unless you want to be a christian, then you are delusional and oppressed and your life and choices make us all sad.

    • Mel

      I’m sorry that you feel that way. You’re incorrect, but obviously entitled to you feelings. Maybe Fox News might be a better home. You and your friends can sit around and talk about how everyone is trying to destroy christians.

    • Bebe

      Mel, you seem to have some problems understanding how to act when people don’t agree with your very important opinions. I expect that if you spent half the time trying to understand your own prejudices that you spend trolling people on this forum, you’d be a better person, less angry at the very least. If I were a “christian blogger” I would hesitate to have anything to do with this site because of people like you making nasty generalizations about people you don’t know. “Black people enjoy watermelon and are good at sports, but don’t make good fathers and tend to be criminals.” “Christians sit around all day watching Fox news and are ignorant people who don’t believe in science and can’t possibly be feminists.”

      Your ignorance is showing, and has pretty much proved my point.

      So yeah, Eve, can’t imagine why a christian might be unwilling to write for you all.

    • Mel

      Oh, I’m sorry, is my judgement showing? Oops!

      No, I haven’t forgotten how to act. This is a comments section and I’m on topic and commenting. I think those are the two requirements, right? And it’s terribly ironic that I’m the hateful beast troll, yet you continue to converse with me, spent the last 30 sentencing railing against me personally, blame me for christian bloggers not being available, and now I apparently am a racist(WTF!)?????

      I still can’t figure out what your point is, let alone how I proved it. But…errr…you’re welcome? I think you think I’m more powerful than I really am. I can’t control christian bloggers, I can’t decide who gets to be a feminist, and I can’t understand what you’re talking about in general.

    • Bebe

      Your comments to anyone who disagrees with you are uniformly hateful. You make unfair generalizations about people you don’t know. (Much like a racist does) And you seem to have a serious lack of basic reading comprehension skills. And you justify your actions by claiming “that’s just my opinion.” You’re right, attempting to “converse” with you is pretty pointless because your mind is so closed to any worldview but your own that your emotional range is pretty much anger and nast. I can only imagine how pleasant a real life conversation with you must be…except, people do tend to hide behind the internet to get all their venom out, so maybe being unpleasant to strangers in the comments section of Mommyish is actually a vital community service to your friends and family.

      Dealing with an entire comment section full of people like you would make someone attempting to write for this blog from a christian perspective more trouble than it might be worth.

    • Mel

      You’re right, I’m awful. I’m lowly and terrible and stupid. So please, oh please, feel free to LEAVE ME ALONE. Everybody wins! Except, obviously, the poor unfortunate souls who might have to have a conversation with me ever. Oh well, they can’t be helped. Just like I can’t help my deviant urge to viciously and without provocation, torture people in the comments section. So, thank you for doing your community service by attacking me online and calling me names. Well done. Now, please save yourself. Run for you life!

    • Bebe

      You are choosing to comment on MY post. You are choosing to continue to comment on other people’s posts, and then get all dramatic and ridiculous when they don’t immediately stop expressing the opinion that you disagree with. You can save your hyperbole, I’m not going to get all “oh my gosh! Misunderstanding!” and apologize to you the way other people you’ve insulted and then pretended to be misunderstood by have. If you want me to “leave you alone” maybe you should stop commenting on my post. You’ve expressed yourself, so move on. Unless you’ve just got to get the last word, in true troll fashion.

    • Mel

      Well, let’s see, I snarked you for getting upset about christians being persecuted so you retaliated by attacking me personally in every way possible. According to you, I’m the reason bloggers won’t work for Eve, talking to me is a form of community service, and the people in my life are subject to torture b/c I’m so horrible. You claim to be christian, but I’m not sure vicious personal attacks are what jesus would do. You dealt some pretty low blows and you’re proud of yourself for it. That’s obvious b/c you continue to do it. So, I’m really not feeling a whole lot of christian love radiating off of you. So, your wish is granted. Please have the last word, b/c I’m going to happily leave you alone. Go, and rejoice in trying to make me feel like garbage. You should be so proud.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      Man I keep looking for a Christian writer. I do. I troll Christian message boards and email Christian bloggers and no dice.

    • Mel

      That stinks. Their loss for not getting to hang with us fabulous ladies (and some cool gents, too!).

    • Bethany Ramos

      I’m sorry you feel that way!! I am a Christian and really value my relationship with God, which I have mentioned in my posts. I just don’t appreciate strict religion. You are welcome here!

  • AP

    I take more issue with the homeschooling of a developmentally disabled child that is not theirs than the religion. Developmentally disabled children need early interventions of special needs education to maximize their potential. Most parents aren’t capable of doing that in a homeschool setting, especially with such a large number of kids.

    When the kid is returned to his home, moved to another foster family, or placed in a permanent adoptive home, those parents will have to spend years working intensively with the child to make up for the time lost because he did not have that early intervention. And because interventions become less effective as children age, that child may never be able to make up for lost time. Denying a special needs kid the specialized education and therapies that they need and are entitled to is abusive.

    • Mel

      Excellent point! The disabled child, at least, deserves access to the best care and educational services possible. That’s how I feel about non-disabled kids also, but I know there are many people who are adamantly supportive of homeschool. I get their points, too.

    • Support Tutts

      The disabled child temporarily in their care actually was IN their local public school while in the Tutts care.

    • keelhaulrose

      I totally agree.
      My younger daughter is ‘leaning autistic’ (she has a lot of the signs, but no formal diagnosis).
      I have a degree with an emphasis in special education. When it comes time for her to go to school, I’ll be sending her, not keeping her even though I have done the work and have had experience with autistic children for over a decade. The best resources for her are with someone who can take a more objective look than I can, and who has a system to back them up (not to mention the therapists she sees, too).

  • Clairesmom

    Check your facts. One child is in the process of being adopted by them. The other three were already adopted by them. They had THEIR children taken away because they chose to homeschool them.

    • Mel

      Um, nope. The children were not removed because of the decision to homeschool. Granted, this is Texas we’re dealing with. But, I say, if someone in Texas thinks you’re too forceful with your religious requirements, you must have gone waaaay of the deep end.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      EXCELLENT point

    • Mel

      Thanks!

    • Clairesmom

      Please, to even suggest that God exists is enough to invite the anger of many. And you missed the point of my post. These children are not foster kids. All but the last have been legally adopted.

    • Mel

      No, I think your post was absurd. That’s not the same as “missing the point.” You’ve been listening to a little too much Rush Limbaugh if you seriously think that suggesting god exists invites the anger of most. That’s tinfoil-hat talk.

    • Clairesmom

      As a parent, you are free to choose how your children are educated. Homeschool requirements vary by state, and my understanding is that the family followed the TX guidelines to the letter. If a person wants to teach a Christian curriculum to their children, they should be (and according to the law, are) allowed to do so. If these really were foster children the situation would be different. But they are not foster children. You are defending a govt agency who removed children from a home for religious reasons. Separation of church and state works both ways. As much as I like the phrase, “tinfoil-hat talk,” it doesn’t apply here.

    • Mel

      Glad you liked my turn of phrase :)

      And, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Yes, you can use the bible instead of an english textbook. Yes, you can have bible class instead of p.e. That doesn’t make it right, and it certainly isn’t a good or fair way to raise a child. Your child deserves access to all the info! When you force-feed religion, and don’t pretend that’s not what’s happening, you deny your kid the ability to spread out and maybe choose her own path. There is no war on christianity and these kids were not removed b/c the parents carry a bible. Let’s not be hysterical about this.

      You seem really focused on the issue of adopted vs foster, so I’ll respond to that with “please see above.” Bio and adopted kids shouldn’t be force-fed religion any more than foster kids. They’re not your possessions just b/c there’s paperwork. They’re still individuals and deserve to receive a good, well-rounded education.

    • Clairesmom

      My fixation on foster vs. adoption is because of the title of this article and the repeated reference to them as foster children. You believe that children should be given all of the information and education available to them, I do not. If the children are mine, meaning legal right to parent, then I will withhold and/or emphasize information as I see fit. If they are not mine, I will not. Parenting styles and education choices are individual decisions. If the children are not being abused (TX court records say they aren’t) and are not wards of the state, then CPS should not be involved. As further illumination to my issue with foster vs. adoption, nothing makes me angrier than when people refer to my adopted daughter as a foster child. It suggests that her situation is not permanent, which is certainly not the case.

    • CMJ

      CPS got involved because they found the 4 year-old foster child wandering around outside lost and dirty.

    • Mel

      Well, I’m sorry that your personal anger at people using the wrong word is clouding your judgement here. If you deny your child access to the broadest education available, then you are making a bad parenting choice. Period. That’s the truth. Now, if you want to deny your child information and life experiences, then that’s on you and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can only imagine that do it out of fear. You’re afraid that she’ll find something else to believe in or like more than the path you chose for yourself. I can’t help you with those fears. But if you love her, you’ll let her live a full life, and make her own choices, not just be a carbon copy of you. That’s all I have to say to you on this matter.

    • CMJ

      I don’t think removing the children from the home was correct….which was why the ruling was overturned. That being said, it was still determined by CPS, and the second judge that actually sent the children back home – that the children were not being properly educated.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I’m in Texas, lol. Gotta love it!

    • CMJ

      The other problem? The article linked is from Christian News Net….it’s obviously biased. I don’t have a problem with Maria looking at the other side of the situation.

    • Clairesmom

      Examine the situation any way you like, only it helps when you begin with the truth. There is a big difference between teaching a faith based curriculum to your children, and teaching the same to children for whom you are not responsible.

  • Mikster

    I understand where you are coming from- but how far do you take it? No religious items in the house? No crosses, Bibles, rosaries? No talk of faith in the house? I am a pagan- was raised Catholic- and we are raising our kids Catholic through Confirmation, as those are the vows we took during our marriage & will honor them.
    All of that said- I don’t ram my pagan stuff down my kids throats, but I DO talk about it. I have an altar in my room, pagan wall hangings, crystals about and we talk about animal totems in the course of normal life. And we go to church somewhat frequently.
    I certainly wouldn’t force a child to observe our rituals (in case you’re wondering, on sabbats we have fires- most of the rest is my own stuff), I read Tarot- and I wouldn’t hide ANY of it. Not the crucifixes, Bibles, rosaries, holy cards or statues either.
    And I’d take them to Church on Christmas and Easter as well.
    So where do you draw the line? No expression of faith at all in the homes of foster children?

    • CMJ

      It’s the religious homeschooling curriculum that does it for me. I would have an issue with any religion-based curriculum and I feel that’s the biggest point here.

    • Mel

      I’m so glad you’ve found a balance in your own home. That can’t be
      easy, so well done! But let’s not get carried away with the whole “War
      on Christmas” theme. No one is suggesting that foster parents can’t
      practice their religion or express their faith in their homes. That’s
      nonsense and I think you know it. Unfortunately, not everyone can be
      trusted to know the difference between practicing religion and
      proselytizing and brainwashing.

    • Mikster

      No war on Christmas here- St.Nicholas hangs out right next to the goddess ornaments- and we do Yule with the Yulelog on Solstice.
      But seriously- I think there would be some folks pushing for a total ban on religious expression, and I’m having a feeling that my little altar would totally preclude me anyway. So to be honest, I think there is probably more tolerance in these situations given to mainstream religions than off the beaten track ones. But I don’t want to see an escalation of separation that precludes any family’s practice of their own faith. So please, I appreciate your compliment, but don’t presume to know my thoughts and intent in what I write. I am usually pretty explicit in what I am saying, and I am genuinely a little concerned that things could swing too far in that direction.

    • Mel

      I just don’t agree in any way with the argument that “some folks would push for a total ban on religious expression.” Who are these folks? Why wouldn’t they let you express your religion? Even if there are some loonies out there, who cares? We would never stand for it, so unless you live off the grid in some cave in Utah or something extreme like that, I think it’s hysterical thinking to worry about some folks taking away your religion. That’s what the “war on christmas” reference was. Not holidays in your home, but the nutbags on tv who swear that people are trying to remove jesus from everyone’s lives and other such crap. It’s sad, really.
      And, I never presumed to know your thoughts. I simply responded directly to your words. To do otherwise would be unfair to you.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Trust me,these kids weren’t removed merely because their were crosses,Bibles and rosaries in house.

    • Mikster

      I tend to agree.
      I was merely addressing the greater question posed in this blogging:
      “I’m just not comfortable with the idea of foster parents ramming religion down the throats of their foster children.”
      I am still waiting to hear exactly what activities fall under “ramming religion down the throats” and what is acceptable practice of the family’s faith.
      -Non-Christian here, BTW- I haven’t a goat in this race ;-)

    • pixie

      “Ramming religion down the throats of their foster children” would mean, at least to me, that the foster parents consider their faith the be all and end all. The only acceptable truth is what their holy book claims (be it the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, etc) and what their religious leaders claim. In a household where anything that poses a perceived threat to the belief system is seen as evil and a lie. Where children don’t have the opportunity to learn about other philosophies, religions, and certain scientific things in an unbiased (as unbiased as anything can be, really, because everyone has some bias towards just about everything) manner if at all. Even doing this to biological children is a shame, in my opinion, because it limits their potential and the possibilities of what they can become.

      (I’m not saying having a faith system is a bad thing, or that believing in one thing rather than another is a bad thing, but I believe that our children should be exposed to a wide variety of beliefs. A sort of “this is what I/we believe in, and this is what people of this religion believe in. They’re not bad or wrong, they just believe different things than I/we do”)

    • Mel

      Very well said!

    • pixie

      Thanks :)

  • Kelly

    It sounds like this family has some serious issues and I’m glad someone stepped in but the idea of requiring homeschoolers to magically follow state certified curriculums that don’t exist and submit updates when there’s no one to submit them too scares the hell out of me.

    Nevada doesn’t have anything like that either. I homeschool here and I wish they did but they don’t. The thought of being dragged into court because I haven’t submitted my son’s lesson plan to the imaginary department that handles it frightens me. Those aren’t valid complaints.

    • Mel

      I agree that the submission components seem unclear and unofficial and therefore unfair. I also agree with the 3 measly guidelines that Texas does have, and it sounds to me like they aren’t meeting them.

  • Rachel Sea

    Many autistic children are “elopers” meaning they take off without notice. However if their home is so insecure that a child that young is capable of eloping without their immediate notice, then they probably oughtn’t be fostering.

    And if a Texas court thinks your Christian curriculum is too religious, it’s probably a fact. Having religious studies as part of a balanced curriculum is one thing, having nothing but religious curriculum is quite another.

    • Zoe Lansing

      Yep.Loving Jesus –or Allah or any other God(s)/religious figures ,for that matter—is all well and good but it’s not gonna pay your bills when you’re unemployable due to a lack of basic math,reading and/or writing skills.

    • Support Tutts

      The curriculum being faith based never came up once in court, and you assume that it was.

  • Zoe Lansing

    I’m a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate a.k.a guardian ad litem) in Texas and,based on my training and,more significantly,experience, I have a very hard time believing the children being removed because they were being taught about Christianity.I also highly doubt they were moved merely because they were being homeschooled.Even within Austin,where,compared to Texas as a whole, there are likely far fewer judges and CPS workers who are themselves devout/fundamentalist Christians,I can’t imagine children being removed for either of those reasons.It’s not like there are an overabundance of foster homes,unfortunately,so it almost always takes actual evidence of abuse and/or neglect for a child to be removed.At the very least,there must be a VERY strong suspicion of mistreatment based on reports from credible sources.Homeschooling using a religiously-based curriculum would not qualify as abuse or neglect.”Homeschooling” without providing adequate instruction of the fundamental skills and knowledge necessary to one day survive and find gainful employment as an adult,however,would constitute neglect.Children have a basic right to an appropriate education and parents and guardians have a duty to provide them with one,either at by teaching them at home or by sending them to school.

    • PaulS

      Zoe, this is exactly the concern being raised here. At the Jan 7th hearing, nothing was found to substantiate the claim of abuse or neglect. During cross examination of the CPS caseworker, Ms. Shan Robinson admitted that she had no concerns regarding the safety of the children at the home or the fitness of the parents to raise them and had (in violation of CPS policy) included references to old claims that had also been found to be without merit in her report.

      Why is it that the default position often is that public schools are better for a child’s education than home schooling (religious or otherwise)? To further the point, take a look at the list of worst performing schools in Texas list that TEA just released. Can you guess which school is among them? Yes, indeed the very school these children have been ordered to attend.

      So now we have a case where we have a confirmation (by our own state agency none the less) that the school they are attending is a low performing school but only a suspicion that home school environment is not performing.

      Interesting indeed.

  • h0lygh0st

    offering children faith in a loving GOD, be it Jesus, Allah, or Yhwh, etc, to have good moral values, is way a lot beneficial than telling kids they are relatives of Darwin’s wild unaccountable evolving iguanas or monkeys.

    gross negligence and evil greed are ugly immoral products of godlessness that has dumb down America for hundreds of years now….

  • Sod Buster

    Representatives of the Tutts disagree with the lawyer’s [court appointed guardian ad litem] educational assessment, but regardless, THSC [Texas Home School Coalition] notes
    .
    that educational choices are not to be taken into consideration when removing children from a home, according to Texas law. A 2005 memo from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services notes that,
    .
    “Whether parents choose to home school their children or send their child to another private or public school is not relevant to the CPS investigation. When CPS staff investigates a family for abuse/neglect, the investigation must focus on the occurrence, or risk, of abuse/neglect and not on the child’s educational setting.”
    .

    [However, notice that the government will not apply this standard to itself. When the public schools engage in "educational neglect" and students do not learn reading (or other basics), the government is not pounding down the door of the public school to take all the kids out and put them in a better school. If Johnny can't read at your local public school, well that's just how it is. But when a citizen slips up, time to hold an emergency ex parte hearing send in the SWAT team to get those kids out of there.]
    .
    Or when a teacher employed in the state school is having sex with her students, the state does not remove all the children from the state school and it does not remover the teacher’s own children from his/her home.

  • Frownie

    Erm, the problem wasn’t that they were Christians. They were dickheads. I know heaps of Christians who have adopted (international and from here) who provide a loving and stable home. You do realise we all have a worldview we inevitably teach our children?

  • Steph

    I read this > not long after reading this ^ (seemed apt and funny) http://www.theonion.com/articles/local-church-full-of-brainwashed-idiots-feeds-town,34860/

  • American citizen

    Wow, this article as an absolute load of crap. I mean, seriously? You can teach your own damn kids whatever the hell you wanna teach them, this is still America… barely. And if you wanna talk about “brainwashing”, take a look at the fucking public school system you moron. They teach that evolution is a fact and don’t even mention creationism as a possibility, even though evolution is only one theory out of many (and the least empirically supported theory, at that). Oh, and of you think the child wandering down the street for a couple minutes is a huge deal, then your seriously a fucking moron. Ever tried watching an autistic 4 year old? Clearly not. Grow up, stop preaching tolerance and have some you hypocritical piece of shit.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Ahh, feel that Christian love…

    • http://www.chemtrailareforchildren.gov/ daddybigcat

      your mother is blushing again- do you have to embarrass her all the time? don’t you think you should give your poor mother a break- I mean jeepers hasn’t she been through enough with you?

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Creepy stalker is creepy. Go away.

    • http://www.chemtrailareforchildren.gov/ daddybigcat

      your mother is blushing again- do you have to embarrass her all the time? don’t you think you should give your poor mother a break- I mean jeepers hasn’t she been through enough?

  • Daniel Woodworth

    Fascinating, really. Homeschooled students score fifteen to thirty percentile points above their public and private school peers on standardized tests (including an average of the 86th percentile on the SAT, which is not affected by self-selecting bias) and are far more successful in college and careers. This success, unlike successful public and private schools, occurs regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. In addition, homeschooling costs, on average, less than five percent per student per year what public schooling does. Despite all that, however, the author is so blinded by hate for religion that she would force foster parents to give their children an inferior education to avoid any chance of parents being able to raise their children with a coherent Christian worldview. That makes me sad.

    Leaving aside the author’s worldview-induced myopia, there are also several other glaring logical errors.
    First, “separation of church and state,” even if a valid interpretation of the establishment clause, applies to states (or nation-states, if you want to be more specific), not people. The parents are not violating the establishment clause because their actions in teaching their children cannot possibly lead to an establishment of a state religion.
    Second, the four-year old was not wandering without the parents’ knowledge. His father was actively looking for him; the police just found him first. Anyone who faults the parents for that has never raised a child with autism.
    Finally, the author points out that there are requirements for homeschooling in Texas, and suggests that the Tutts might not have followed them. Fair enough, although that’s all speculation, but she has no explanation for why the judge wanted them to report standardized test scores and other documentation. Obviously, the judge didn’t know the law, so there is absolutely no reason to believe that he correctly interpreted the law in this case.

    It saddens me to see that the authors hatred for Christianity leads her to oppose providing the best education possible, but it doesn’t surprise. This sort of blind hate is nothing, and unfortunately it isn’t going away any time soon.

  • Candi Summers

    Actually, the family was NOT home schooling foster children. The child who was wandering was temporarily in their care and he and his two siblings were attending public school while living for less than two months in the Tutt’s home. The children removed from their home later were THEIR children, not foster children. 2 biological, 3 adopted, 2 in the process of private adoption (one would have had her adoption finalized the monday following the removal.) so your argument is irrelevant.

  • Support Tutts

    The children they were fostering were actually in PUBLIC school. The child who wandered was a temporary placement through a private agency and they returned him to his mother the day that the incident occurred because they recognized that his needs were greater than they could facilitate. After that, the rest of the children they were temporarily caring for (5 of them) went elsewhere through the natural course of things. The children removed from their home were THEIR children, not foster children. 2 bio, 3 adopted and 2 in the process of private adoption (one whose adoption would have been finalized on November 26th had she not been removed.) Those two in the process of adoption were placed by their parents with the Tutts, not the State. And whether they were legitimately following the law in regards to bona fide home schooling should be answered by the fact that their oldest son is a junior majoring in computer engineering at Texas A & M and they home schooled him. http://www.facebook.com/supportthetutts

  • Candi Summers

    The children the Tutts were home schooling were NOT FOSTER CHILDREN. IN fact, they had NO foster children in their home. They had several children placed by their PARENTS through a private agency, and those children were in PUBLIC school while living there. The Tutts even had one of their children in public school.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Bullshit. And regardless, you don’t have the right to force your religion on children, whether they’re yours or not.

    • Candi Summers

      Foster child presumes cps licensure. I happen to personally know the family. The children they were temporarily caring for were placed with them by their mother through a private agency , the mother being of the same religion as the tutts, and the children were attending public school while in the tutts home. This whole blog also assumes they were using christian curriculum, which is not the case. Yes, i have seen their curriculum! Heres the reality: you teach your children what you believe because you believe it. If you have children you probably teach them religion is idiotic and illogical, or whatever you believe about it. Should i say you should not force your non religious beliefs on children whether they are yours or not? No, you are free to confer whatever beliefs you hold dear to your children whether i happen to agree with them or not, that is your right as a parent. When a child reaches adulthood they are free to believe whatever they choose, whether it is in line with what their parents believe or not. You also presume this is some kind of whacko fundamentalist family who goes around forcing religion on people. You could not be more wrong.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Every child is entitled to a scientifically-accurate fact-based education. To teach them falsehoods because you “believe” them is simply abuse.

    • Candi Summers

      I heartily agree. You are presuming to know what the children are being taught. When I say you teach your children what you believe, I am speaking as a generality. You do not know what the Tutts believe, yet as assuming that they are pushing some kind of fundamentalist christian religious schooling on them. As I have said, I have seen their curriculum. I know the family. They have a child in PUBLIC school and they had the children temporarily in their care in PUBLIC school, so your argument seems a bit odd.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      We only have your word, and I’m more inclined to believe CPS over a random stranger who claims to know the family. Frankly, CPS wouldn’t be involved if there wasn’t an issue.

    • Candi Summers

      Firstly, education is not the purview of CPS, so the education of the Tutt children is irrelevant to the investigation. Secondly,I agree, you do just have my word for it and that is not very compelling. At some point very soon, the press will be full of the story of how CPS botched this horribly and you will have more than my word for it. I wish you all the best, sincerely I do.

    • Candi Summers

      (although you can read in the comments here several people who have read the affidavit and attended the hearings: http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2014/01/texas_home_school_tutt.php)

  • ltneid

    It seems the problem is less about homeschooling and more about a family fostering kids, getting money from the state for doing it, and not being able to provide a safe environment for these kids.