Contributed to TLB by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap
Claire Rembis was sick, and had to spend 3 days in the hospital. Her attack of pancreatitis paled in comparison to what happened next. The mom from Plano, Texas, came home to a nightmare that no parent should ever have to face. CPS came and took her children, all 11 of them, because a “well-meaning” couple, members of her oldest son’s former youth group, didn’t think that the 16 and 14 year olds could handle babysitting their siblings while their dad took the baby to the hospital to visit Claire.
Has it really gotten to the point where a mother cannot get sick without risking losing her children to the State?
The children were returned after a few days, because the removal on July 7, 2015, was reportedly illegal. However, the family is terrified because the CPS involvement opened the door to a long list of “services” ordered by the court – services which threaten to rip the family apart.
Family and friends consider these services to be invasive, unnecessary, and excessive.
However, if they fail to comply with these services, they risk their children being removed from their home again and placed into foster care. They are walking on eggshells as they desperately try to comply with the demands of the state – demands that some of their friends say “strip them of their parental rights.”
According to Claire, “they are trying to come after our homeschooling as they cannot find any reason for removal.”
Not only is their homeschooling under fire, but the social workers allegedly want her to discontinue breastfeeding their 3 month old baby.
They also have to find a house to move to, and move, by August 8, because a police officer who accompanied the social worker decided to phone the Rembis’ landlord and allegedly accused them of violating their lease. They received the eviction notice the day after the children were seized. When no lease violations were found, the landlord reportedly decided not to renew their lease. They still have to move.
Not OK With CPS for Teens to Babysit Siblings
During the course of Claire’s 3 day hospital stay, William Rembis, Sr., reports that there were two occasions during which he was at the hospital with his wife, and the baby was with him both times. He had no concerns about the ability of his older children to care for the younger children.
However, Marshall and Patty Parker, members of the church where the oldest of the children, Will, 16, formerly attended, did not believe that a non-adult could handle caring for that many children, as they testified in their affidavits submitted to the court. After allegedly coming by the house to bring food, they called CPS on the family.
Patty Parker: “The children are left at home alone and although the eldest is 16, being in charge of children as young as 2 and as many as 9 children is well beyond his capabilities.”
Will spoke with Medical Kidnap about the allegations. He believes that the accusations could be retaliation against him because he stopped attending that church, where he previously held a leadership position.
“Because I know how to do something that they can’t, apparently it makes it wrong for me to do it. I’m equipped to do this. I’ve grown up in a big family, and I know how this works. I know my siblings. I know how to work with them. I was able to take care of them just fine. It’s not that hard – if they’re hungry, get them some food. We’re able to manage it.”
Claire: “Will is especially good with the little ones. They just LOVE their Will ! Source: Rembis family
Children who grow up in large families and/or with younger siblings typically know how to take care of the little ones. Even WebMD states that kids as young as 12 or 13 are often mature enough to babysit. (Source) In the Rembis family, 3 of the children fit that bill, at ages 16, 14, and 12.
It certainly isn’t against any law for teens to be left at home with younger siblings. Yet, Child Protective Services charged Claire and William Rembis with physical neglect and neglectful supervision for leaving the older kids in charge during an emergency situation.
Allegations of Messy House
The other allegation by the Parkers, which social worker Jennifer Matthews took to the judge to get the order for removal, was that the house was messy. According to blog Cahnman’s Musings:
CPS came to the house yesterday and looked in the windows. They were only able to see in to her twin girls’ room, which (as I can attest with only one girl) was messy. (Seriously, can you imagine someone judging the condition of your home based on the cleanliness of your 8 year old’s room?)
The Rembis family submitted photos to Medical Kidnap, which were taken the day that CPS took their children. The photos are shocking, after reading the allegations in Marshall Parker’s affidavit that the home looked like a “landfill.”
Rembis family’s “messy” home, shortly before CPS arrived. Left: playroom. Right: kitchen. Source: Rembis family.
The order for the removal of the children was signed by visiting Judge Curt Henderson, while the sitting judge was on vacation. The sitting judge had reportedly previously denied the removal. According to protocols, the visiting judge reportedly should not have signed the emergency removal order without notifying the parents’ attorneys first. The apparent violation is believed to be the reason that the children were returned home.
Claire and William say that the allegations against them have no basis in truth, and there is no evidence to support the allegations. William says that social worker Jennifer Matthews got the emergency removal order because she lied to the judge, saying that the parents had both been gone for three days.
“The thing is – anybody can make an allegation. Their mission [of CPS] is to substantiate the allegation. They don’t even try to disprove them. Some of the allegations were really far-fetched.”
In the Rembis family’s video recording of CPS taking their children away.
Claire asks incredulously,
“They said we left them [the kids] for 3 days?”
William: “Yeah, that’s what they said.”
Dramatic Escape From CPS by Oldest Teen
The Rembis family received word shortly before the arrival of CPS that they were coming to remove the children. They were terrified, but also devoutly Christian. The parents gathered their children to pray together and tell them how much they love them.
Will, the 16 year old son, tells Health Impact News that he has heard stories about the horrors of foster care, and he thought to himself:
“I am not about to be taken away by social services.”
He went to his room to get his shoes, but CPS arrived while he was still in his room. He grabbed his longboard and tried to get out the back gate, but it was locked. So he walked nonchalantly out the front door, where 3 or 4 police officers and some social workers were standing as the children were being herded out of the house.
He says that he tipped his head to some of the authorities in greeting, and then skated off right under their noses. Allegedly, the social workers later testified that they didn’t see him leave, but Will says that isn’t true. He said he took one look back toward the house, and some of the social workers looked right at him as he skated away.
He spent the next couple of hours hiding and darting between and behind buildings and bushes, escaping social workers who were trying to chase him down.
Once, he tried to go back to his home, and noticed a red Mercedes driving down the street. When the driver saw him, he made a U-turn and came after Will, but, again, he was able to elude the person whom he said was obviously a social worker.
The 16 year old stayed gone for a week, only returning after the other children were allowed to come home. He says that his parents didn’t know where he was, but he got word to them that he was safe.
(It would seem almost ironic that this resourceful teen is the same one that CPS and the Parkers accused of being incapable of caring for his younger siblings when his mother was sick?)
Kids Returned, But With Many Strings Attached
According to an update on the case on their Fundly page, the court date of July 14 “was a grueling day – They faced an army in the courtroom that contradicted themselves on sworn affidavits and went to great lengths to not just maintain state custody of these children, but to strip them of their parental rights.”
Claire: “Oh my heart. My heart. Making them leave just ripped my heart. Look at Aurora (right). Her eyes. I’ve never seen her look so… empty. My God. They are so sensitive. They have such tender hearts. Such sweet souls. My God it was just too much.” (Source: Rembis family.) This was the day CPS came.
At this point, the family asserts that the judge has no idea about most of the evidence in their defense.
Testimony by agents of CPS took up almost the entire hearing, while Claire Rembis was only given 20 minutes to testify about the most important people in her life. None of the witnesses who intended to speak on the family’s behalf were given the opportunity to testify.
Still, after being placed in several separate foster homes, and one of the siblings being sent to a shelter, the children were returned home. However, CPS was able to get court approval for a significant number of “services” ordered.
The older kids came home first, and several days later, the younger ones were returned. It was reportedly somehow “because of their ages” that the state kept the little ones longer.
“Services” Are More Like Blackmail
When one thinks of “services” being “offered,” the implication of the words are that they are helpful benefits that one may either accept or refuse. Not so with CPS services. Few Americans realize what these taxpayer-funded services actually are, and most believe that their purpose is simply to help struggling families. However, as many families from all over the nation report to Health Impact News, the “services” that CPS “offer” seem to amount to tyranny, slavery, and blackmail to them. The underlying threat is: Submit, or lose your children.
Other parents and attorneys have described them as being the equivalent of a fishing expedition. When CPS doesn’t have enough grounds to take or keep the children, services are ordered in order to “catch” the parents in something that they can use.
Young Will Rembis describes them as both “a waste of time” and “another way for them to spy on us.”
In a recent story on the Coumpy family in Arizona, court documents actually show that submission to all services is demanded or else the children could be adopted out. (Story here)
Extensive (Excessive?) List of Services Demanded By CPS
Although the allegations that originally got CPS involved in the Rembis family’s lives were not proven, the door was opened for the state to make all sorts of demands on the family, for the purpose of “reducing the reasonable likelihood that the children … may be neglected in the immediate or foreseeable future.” In the words of William Rembis,
“What happened to innocent until proven guilty?”
Some of these service requirements listed in the overwhelming court order include:
- Intensive parenting classes. Parents must “show comprehension of each child and his or her independent needs.”
- “Shall allow the Guardian Ad Litem and Attorney Ad Litem(s) to have unlimited, uninterrupted, private access to all children and encourage child participation in and/or out of the home.”
- Parents are required to notify CPS within 24 hours of any medical appointment for the children. CPS workers may attend the appointments.
- Psychological evaluations for the children
- Early Childhood Intervention evaluation for their daughter Sunday
The photo on the right was texted to Claire to show that baby Sunday was fine in foster care. The photo on the left was taken a week before at home. Claire: “The joy is missing from her face. The twinkle in her eye is dim. My God how on earth are we supposed to just let this happen to her!!! She needs to come home NOW!!!!!!! She was taken illegally, bring our baby back NOW!!!!!”
- Evaluation and treatment for scabies within 48 hours of the order for their daughter Cora. When her own doctor examined her, he found that she had mosquito bites, not the scabies that CPS accused her of having. Medical diagnosis – “Bite of nonvenomous arthropod.”
- Tuberculosis testing for their daughters Cora, Pocahontas, and Cinderella
- Follow up appointment within 48 hours of the order for baby Enoch with a pediatrician. Parents required to email weight and blood test results to CPS if no one associated with CPS attends the appointment
- Medical physicals within 15 days of the order for William Jr., Alexander, Sebastian, Belle, Aurora, Pocahontas, and Cinderella
- The parents must follow all recommendations of the medical professionals, whether they agree or not
- Inform CPS of any person besides the parents babysitting the children, providing detailed information on the babysitter
- “Shall allow the Department, Guardian Ad Litem and Attorney Ad Litem(s) to inspect any parts of the house without parental interference.”
- And more, including demands which impact the Rembis family’s choices to homeschool and breastfeed
CPS Makes Demands About Homeschooling
According to the Texas Homeschool Coalition,
“Home schools in Texas have been determined by the Texas courts to be private schools, and private schools are not regulated by the state of Texas. There are no requirements, such as teacher certification or curriculum approval.”
However, some of the requirements of the court ordered services could be seen as a direct attack on the family’s choice to homeschool their children, including:
- Developmental assessments to “assist the parents for future educational needs and in determining what agencies/churches/homeschool co-ops or networks each child may need.”
- Provide CPS a list of all homeschool curriculum, workbooks, and log in information for the GALs “so that they may look to see if the children are in fact logging in within 10 days of this order for curriculum using now.” (NOTE: It is summer. Most children are not doing school currently.)
- Must join a homeschooling network and provide information about it by August 4
CPS Demands the Baby to Grow at an Unreasonable Rate, and Attacks Mother’s Breastfeeding
Other requirements relate to allegations that came in after the children were taken that they were not adequately feeding baby Enoch, who was breastfed. Claire said that the social workers have made it clear that they do not want her to breastfeed, even though she is a breastfeeding mother with many years of experience nursing many children.
One of their concerns is the pain medications that she was taking for the pancreatitis attack. However, due to her extensive knowledge and experience with breastfeeding, Claire researched experts on risks of medications during lactation. She reports that MotherToBaby, a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, vouches for her to continue nursing even with the medications she is taking.
The other concern is that Enoch is small. Allegedly, a pediatrician hired by CPS is calling this “failure to thrive.” Claire reports that tiny babies are her family’s norm, and that they don’t grow quickly in the beginning, even though they are healthy. Enoch’s pattern of growth is very similar to her previous 10 children.
However, she says that the pediatrician hired by CPS has ignored the genetic component, and that she testified to the court that she was basing the concerns about the baby’s weight on the CDC charts, not the WHO charts. Breastfed babies gain weight at a different rate than formula-fed babies, and the WHO charts are based on breastfed babies being the norm. The pediatrician allegedly falsely testified that the CDC charts are based on breast-fed babies, but this is not true. According to the CDC website,
“The CDC growth reference charts are based on primarily formula-fed infants.” (Source)
When she took her baby to family physician Dr. Robert Paul for a second opinion, he noted that Claire’s recent illness could also have impacted his weight. He checked out as being healthy.
Claire is afraid that the court is holding her baby’s weight to a false expectation. CPS has demanded that Enoch weigh 9 lbs 8 oz by August 4. On July 13, he weighed 7 lbs 15 oz. KellyMom reports that, according to La Leche League’s Breastfeeding Answer Book, breastfed babies up to 4 months gain an average of 5 to 7 ounces per week. For Enoch to reach the goal weight demanded by CPS, he would have to gain more than 8 ounces in each of the last 3 weeks, which is well above average.
Mrs. Rembis has been feeding her formerly exclusively breastfed baby formula in the hopes of reaching a goal that the data clearly demonstrates is excessive.
- She must maintain a daily feeding log of every feeding, noting the amount, time, and duration of feedings, as well as log all spit-up.
- Said log must be emailed at the end of each day to the social worker, the Guardian Ad Litem, the Attorney Ad Litem, and the parents’ attorney.
Recording of CPS Originally Forbidden
In the original court order, the parents, and any one of their “agents” were forbidden to videotape or audiotape any conversations or meetings with CPS or their agents. The family held that this was in violation of their constitutional rights and their rights as Texas citizens. There were already numerous concerns that social workers were acting in violation of the Rembis’ parental rights. They are thankful that the judge has now altered the ruling to permit recording.
Family Is Terrified
Their next court date is August 31 at 9:00 a.m. at the 417th District Court of Collin County. William and Claire Rembis are desperately trying to comply with all of the court’s demands, because their children mean everything to them.
They are terrified. Two days after receiving the final court orders about what services are required, CPS representatives descended upon their home in droves – 5 visits within 16 hours.
Strange cars have reportedly begun driving down their street slowly, as if they are looking for something. A neighbor has allegedly been writing down the license plates of visitors to the Rembis home and sending them to the social worker. Two different friends have reported that a neighbor was snapping photos of them as they got out of their vehicles and walked to the house. Another neighbor was seen sneaking around the bushes by their home late one night recently. Social worker Jennifer Matthews is reportedly no longer assigned to their case, yet she has been contacting friends of the family through Facebook. The family feels like they are being stalked by people who “don’t have the kids’ best interest at heart.”
Meanwhile, they have to pack and search for a new home that will have room for their large family by August 8, all the while working to cooperate with the numerous services of CPS.
How You Can Help
There is a Facebook page called The Rembis Family that has been set up for supporters to follow their story and offer support.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott at (512) 463-1782(512) 463-1782, or reach him here.
Senator Van Taylor at (512) 463-0108(512) 463-0108, or reach him here.
Congressman Jeff Leach at (512) 463-0544(512) 463-0544, or reach him here.