Rembis children the day CPS investigated their home on May 16. They had only been living in Lubbock for about 2 weeks, and their furniture had not yet arrived. Image provided by Rembis family.
by Health Impact News/Medical Kidnap.com Staff
Claire and William Rembis recently moved to Lubbock County Texas for a new job offer in May, but little did they know that Lubbock CPS was considered the “worst county in all of Texas” in terms of removing children from families according to one Texas attorney. The Rembis’ had only been living in Lubbock County for 2 weeks, when CPS started investigating their family all over again, initiated by a call that one of their daughter was out in the front yard alone. They thought their nightmare with Texas CPS was over when Judge Wheless dismissed their case last year and rebuked the Collin County social workers for “clearly harassing” them. Their lives were about to be turned upside-down and scrutinized all over again.
Read Health Impact News’ original article on the Rembis family here:
CPS allegedly has persistently accused the Rembis’ of being “against CPS” at their last hearing on August 9th, because they exercised their 1st Amendment Right and spoke out on MedicalKidnap.com, Facebook, YouTube and various radio shows about CPS abuses. According to Claire, the family began to fear for their physical safety, because the social worker Kristin Stecklein, became increasingly aggressive and intimidating. Claire reports that Stecklein would pound on the door multiple times a day, even bringing large threatening men along with her to pound on the door, while Stecklein would walk around the house peeking in windows and yelling. Claire pleads,
We are terrified. I feel like I’m reading a book about a missionary in China or Anne Frank. Someone dialing a number – making a call – just like that – it can end everything. This is so scary. Our kids – they color, they read, they play outside. We don’t do drugs; we don’t have a criminal history.
I just don’t understand. This is too much. It’s just so heavy. We are such a normal, boring, uneventful, laid back & happy family. I just cannot wrap my mind around all of this. This can’t really be happening again? I almost wish that we had an issue or two that we could blame for all of this. Because then, we could fix it. And if we could fix it, CPS would never be involved in our lives again – because it was fixed.
Children Abused and Traumatized While in State Custody Last Year
The Rembis’ are concerned first and foremost about the safety of their children, and know that when their children were in state custody for only a few short days last year, they were abused. This raises “safety concerns” for the Rembis’ about CPS, and their need to protect their children from CPS. The Rembis children were not only emotionally traumatized, separated from their parents and each other, but some were also sexually traumatized.
Claire was horrified to learn that her 9-year-old son was asked by a CPS worker if he “masturbated,” and he did not even know what that word was. She says he wasn’t even placed in a foster home, but spent 3 days in a homeless shelter with other homeless adults and children. In only 36 hours away from home, this child’s innocence was lost.
Despite the fact that there were no sexual allegations in their previous case, 4 of their children received “Sexual Assault Exams.” Claire discovered that the 1.5-year-old had to be “restrained with ropes” during the exam. Two of the children told her:
I don’t want to see that doctor again. I could have gotten germs. It was really gross. They touched me down there and they didn’t have gloves on. They looked down there, and they touched down there, and they touched IN there.
Claire discovered that in the foster homes where 4 of her girls were placed, one night a foster boy named “Simon,” who was around 10, was “allowed to have a sleep-over” in her girls’ room, in her 5-year-old daughter’s bed! The other girls told their mom later, that the 5-year-old had wet her bed and was troubled the next morning. To this day she has been having regular “accidents,” because of this traumatic event, reports Claire.
For children in foster care, these types of abuses are more common than many realize. See:
Taking Time to Heal from CPS Abuses
The Rembis’ had moved to Montague County for 8 months of rest and healing, after being terrorized by Collin County CPS last summer. Although anonymous allegations continued to be made against the Rembis family during this time, the social worker in Montague County appreciated that the allegations being made were clearly not neglect, and even testified in court last year that he “had no concerns” about the Rembis family.
Claire reveals how her family could finally rest and heal after their terrifying ordeal with CPS:
By the grace of God, we were blessed with a country home that met our needs perfectly. It was temporary housing but it was exactly what we needed at the time. Secluded, beautiful & a resting place for our weary souls.
During this period of time we spent many, many hours simply enjoying our family. My husband worked very little hours & my small business of 4 years was put on hold.
Our days & nights were filled with country air, small town hospitality, new friends & we were ministered to. God used the CPS tragedy to bring us closer together & to strengthen us. We connected with a tiny Baptist church out in the country. They poured into our family in so many ways. My husband became close friends with the pastor helping to heal his wounded soul. This was very much needed as it was some members of our sons’ previous church that called CPS on us causing our children to be removed.
Previous Attorney Warned Claire of an “Advocate” Making Allegations
Last year, Claire says she was informed through various sources, including her attorney, that someone who was acting as an advocate was also making allegations to CPS, even after the family moved from Collin County to Montague County. Claire wonders if this same “advocate” has continued to make allegations, causing Lubbock County to be on high-alert as soon as they moved to town. Claire explains, that when their case was dismissed last year, their attorney advised them “to file a lawsuit against CPS as soon as possible before they came back,” because it was clear to him that CPS was not planning to leave them alone.
Lubbock Police Investigate Allegation About a Wandering Child and Find No Concern
On the afternoon of May 16th, my husband drove the van across the street to the coffee shop (before heading in to work). He left the house through the garage so that all of the locks on the front door could remain locked. About 10 minutes after my husband left there was a police officer at our front door. I was terrified thinking that something terrible must’ve happened to my husband.
When I opened the door I saw a woman next to a car across the street & she was staring at the officer and I. The officer told me that they had received a call from someone stating that one of our children was wandering outside without supervision & that this child had a, “wet pamper”.
I was shocked! I asked the girls if they knew what he was talking about. They told me that Sunday was in the front yard & that Pocahontas brought her back inside.
I told the officer that I didn’t know how she got out. I told him that if the person who called was so concerned, then why didn’t she knock on the door or ring the doorbell so that she could talk to me?
Then he told me that she didn’t do that because the girls told her that I was asleep. I told the officer that the kids & I were outside working on our garden & that if she had just rung the doorbell she could’ve spoken to me about her concerns. I told the officer that we would figure out how she was able to get out & then secure that exit. When the officer left, the lady stopped him to talk.
The lady found out that the officer was not going to report us to CPS so she called them herself. CPS showed up lightning fast.
When officer Scott investigated and saw that everything was under control, the family believes the investigation should have ended there… but it didn’t.
Social Worker Enlists Neighbors to Spy on the Rembis Family
Kristin Stecklein, the CPS case worker. Image from Facebook.
Claire learned that Lubbock County social worker Kristin Stecklein had been enlisting neighbors to spy on her family:
We had only been here for about 2 weeks before CPS got involved. We hadn’t had a chance to even get to know our neighbors before they were told that we are abusive & neglectful. Not only is it against CPS’ own policies to share confidential information like this but now we are dealing with, “defamation of character” issues.
Social Worker Demands to Investigate
Since there was no imminent danger and no warrant, the Rembis’ initially refused to allow the social workers to investigate, as is their 4th Amendment Right. But under duress and coercion, they allowed Stecklein and her supervisor Jo Ellen Carroway to inspect their home and interview their children on May 16th.
They kept blackmailing me by saying that they were going to get a search warrant if we didn’t cooperate. I told them that if they were granted a search warrant it would be because they lied to the judge. I told them that our childrens’ lives were not in danger. I also offered to take photos of the kids & the house w/my phone so that they could see that everything was OK.
They said that that wasn’t good enough. Kristin said something like, ‘we’ll be right back with a court order.’ She said it in a sarcastic power tripping kind of way.
They walked back to their vehicle & then my husband pulled up. He came inside & after I gave him a brief synopsis of what had happened, he left to go up to the courthouse so that he could speak with the judge when they met with him to get the search warrant. They hadn’t filed anything in an attempt to obtain an order so my husband left & went to the CPS offices.
He spoke with the supervisor. He asked her what had to be done to get them to leave us alone. He told her that our kids had endured so much trauma by what they did last summer. He also told the supervisor about the traumatic sexual assault exam done to Sunday for no reason at all. He also told her that we didn’t have the money for an attorney this time. He also told her that we had just moved in & didn’t have our furniture yet. She assured him that that wouldn’t be used against us.
So, when my husband came back home, the CPS workers came behind in. They went in to every room, looked in our refrigerator & then told us it was time for the kids’ interviews.
I told the worker that I would be recording them. She said that I couldn’t. I told her that I could, that I wasn’t breaking the law by doing so. I explained to her that it was imperative to document in case they lied about something.
Well, then she turned around & started walking out the door saying, “…you aren’t cooperating so I am getting a court order.” Then my husband quickly said, “NO! no, no…” He told her that she could do the interviews. Then she told us that she had on a recording device & she would share the recordings with us at a later date (oh the irony!).
The kids took turns going out on the porch. They introduced themselves, said they didn’t want to speak & then came back in. All of them.
At the conclusion of the visit, I asked her if she had any concerns. The only concern that she stated was that our youngest didn’t have a crib. She asked if she could buy him one & I said yes. She brought it back later that night & then we never heard from her again.
A Case of Double Jeopardy?
Because all the children had refused to speak to her on May 16th, Stecklein claimed in her affidavit that her interviews were “not productive in gathering information to find out if the children are safe and have their basic needs met.” On June 16th she filed an Order In Aid of Investigation of Child Abuse or Neglect, 30 days after the initial investigation, with a hearing scheduled for June 29th.
In the affidavit filed she told the judge that we wouldn’t let her investigate us! So, she asked for permission to come inside & take photos & to take the kids to the CAC (childrens’ advocacy center) for interviews & photos of their bodies if they wanted them.
Claire says that the CPS Affidavit was full of lies, mostly from their “CPS History,” which were allegations that had already been dismissed as “harassment.”
The Rembis’ filed an affidavit disputing all the accusations CPS made, but say that their affidavit was not included in the court documents, which was illegal. The Rembis’ pointed out to CPS that using allegations from a closed case was a violation of their own policy and procedure. The Rembis’ also declare that 5th Amendment protects them from “double jeopardy.”
Regardless, Judge Kevin Hart granted Stecklein’s request to continue to investigate the Rembis’. Claire says that when Stecklein showed up on June 30th to take the children for interviews at the CAC, she informed them that she filed for a de Novo hearing, hoping Hart’s ruling would be overturned.
Kevin Hart was sworn in as an associate judge December 18, 2000, inside the 72nd District Courtroom at the Lubbock County Courthouse. (Image source.)
Judge Hart Defies Americans with Disabilities Act
The Rembis’ claim that Judge Hart’s ruling was an unfair trial, violating William Rembis’ Civil Rights, because Hart refused a hearing device to William, who is legally deaf, and he was unable to hear most of what was being said in court.
When William asked if he could come closer so that he could hear what was being discussed, he says that Judge Hart laughed at him. Being denied a court hearing device, is a violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Rembis’ have filed a complaint with the ADA regarding this, and have since received a letter stating that the ADA is investigating this issue.
Prosecuting Attorney Considers de Novo Hearings a Waste of Time
In a written testimony dated June 10, 2016, CPS’ prosecuting attorney Deirdre Ward, a former CPS caseworker, states that de Novo hearings are “a waste of time and resources,” and are typically requested by “disgruntled parents” to delay adoption and get “more visitation” time with their children. Ward further explains that referring courts are not familiar with the “nuances of law unique to CPS cases,” but that associate judges “receive specialized training and information” to “deal with federal laws which greatly impact federal funding.” (Source.)
Rembis’ Accused of Being “Anti-CPS” During De Novo Hearing
During the de Novo hearing, Claire learned that MedicalKidnap.com’s website was being projected on the wall behind her while she was being questioned about being “anti-CPS.”
Recalling the de Novo hearing, Claire laments,
The bottom line is this had nothing to do with the safety of our kids. They are trying to paint a picture of us being uncooperative and anti-CPS, even though we already allowed them to interview our children once. We are not anti-CPS. We are anti-lying and anti-corruption. This is revenge on us for speaking out about CPS.
Listen to the Rembis’ de Novo hearing on YouTube:
During the hearing, prosecuting attorney Deirdre Ward questioned Claire’s motivation for recording interactions with police and social workers, asking if she has a problem with “department workers,” to which Claire responds, “My problem is with workers who lie.”
Ward then questioned Claire about her Facebook, saying that there is “a post currently on that page that talks about the reasons why you don’t agree with CPS investigators interviewing your children.” After presenting the below Facebook post to Claire, Ward asks, “Would it be a fair statement to say that you and your husband have spent a lot of time in multiple occasions fighting against CPS?” When William objected, Judge Darnell overruled and threatened to not interrupt the court again, or he would go to jail.
Claire says, “The CPS attorney asked everyone to look at this post from my Facebook page. She said that it proves that we are, anti-CPS.”
Ward repeated the question, asking Claire if she spent a lot of time fighting against CPS, made a lot of complaints against the department on social media, if she had participated in radio interviews against CPS, and if she had participated in any newspaper articles or been interviewed by any radio stations about their involvement with CPS.
Claire answered that, yes, she has spoken out about their involvement with CPS.
When social worker Stecklein took the stand, William questioned, “If you take our kids to the Children’s Advocacy Center to be interviewed, do you think that there is a possibility that they’ll suffer emotional harm since they’re being taken away from their parents and being asked questions without their parents present… don’t you believe that’s causing emotional harm… or you don’t?”
Stecklein replied, “No, I do not.” William then asks Stecklein, “Would it surprise you to learn that our children have expressed emotional concerns regarding the past interactions with CPS?” Judge Darnell interrupted, mockingly asking, “would it surprise you, sir, that children can be intimidated by their parents?”
In closing, William expressed concerns about their Constitutional Rights being violated, saying,
“We should be protected from illegal search and seizure and we object to anyone coming into our home without a warrant… It’s the principle of it – they shouldn’t be allowed to just come and go as they please in my house. It seems like the Constitution of the United States should come into play here when we’re talking about going into somebody’s house and searching.”
Judge Darnell yelled at William,
“You don’t think it’s UNUSUAL to have 11 children in the house? … and NO FURNITURE and NO FOOD? And CPS should stay out of your home? Is THAT what your telling US!?”
Judge Prejudiced Against Large Families and Freedom of Speech?
Claire asserts that Judge Darnell was rude and prejudiced, openly expressing his disdain for their large family in both word and body language. She says that Darnell continually overruled their objections, rudely interrupted them, and then made a ruling founded on CPS lies, basing largely on the fact that they exercised their 1st Amendment Right to speak about their former experience with CPS, and appeared to be prejudiced against their family size.
140th District Court Honorable Jim Bob Darnell. Image Source.
This type of behavior seems to be in direct violation with the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct which states:
Canon 3: Performing the Duties of Judicial Office Impartially and Diligently
(4) A judge shall be patient, dignified and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, and should require similar conduct of lawyers, and of staff, court officials and others subject to the judge’s direction and control.
(6) A judge shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, and shall not knowingly permit staff, court officials and others subject to the judge’s direction and control to do so. (Source.)
Social Worker Schedules Interviews and Gives Less than 24 Hours Notice
At the de Novo hearing, Ward stated that it was the “department’s preference” that the family bring the children in for the interviews, but that if they didn’t, then the department was authorized to transport the children to the CAC for the interviews. After the de Novo hearing, Claire says she called and left messages for Stecklein, asking how to go about scheduling the children’s interviews, but Stecklein never returned her calls.
According to Claire, on August 10th, Stecklein left a notice in her postal mailbox (a federal offense) regarding interviews Stecklein scheduled for Thursday August 11th at 8:30am, without checking if that time and day would work for the Rembis’ schedule.
The next morning, on August 11th, Stecklein allegedly stopped William in his driveway around 9am, as he was returning home after working all night, demanding to know why the children had “missed” their interviews. William explained that they had tried to call to coordinate the interviews times, so that they could bring the children to the CAC, but Stecklein never returned their calls. He explained that the times she scheduled did not work for their family, as he was just now getting home from work, and that he and Claire would call Stecklein to schedule the interviews at times that worked for their family’s schedule.
Family Flees Home in Fear – CPS Raids Home and Locks the Family Out of Their Own House
After the stressful events from the past few months, and especially the past week, the family feared for the safety of their children, and decided to leave home to visit friends, seek out an attorney, rest and pray. Since there was no court order restricting them from leaving their home, they figured now was a good time to get away for a few days and seek help to raise funds for an attorney. Before scheduling the children’s CPS interviews, they just wanted to make sure they had good legal representation to uphold their Constitutional rights.
All but the oldest son, Will, had gone on the trip. Will stayed behind, because the family was expected to return after they had time to prepare their case. Will informed Health Impact News that after his family had been gone for only a few hours, an officer, a Juvenile Crime Detective, and CPS entered the home without knocking, stating they had a warrant to search the home. Will told his mother later that the social workers were “taking millions of pictures of everything, going through drawers, looking in cabinets, searching everywhere.”
Will says that when the social worker questioned “why the family had so little food in the house,” Will clarified, “it’s not IN the house, because they took it on their trip!”
Will identified the police officer as CJ Mitchel, and said he was kind and supportive of the Rembis family, allegedly saying he had “no concerns,” and that the Rembis’ home was in “better shape than his own home of only 6 children, and he didn’t see why CPS was having concerns.”
Will said that the Juvenile Crime Detective Jon House gave him a business card, asking Will to call him regarding his family’s whereabouts. House wrote the Rembis’ cell number on the back of the card, asking Will to call his family and inform them that they were considered “missing persons.” Will says he told the detective, “they’re not missing – they’re coming back!”
Image of business card given to Will during raid of the Rembis’ home on Thursday August 11, 2016. Image provided by Rembis family.
Later that day, when Will came back home, he discovered that his house had been locked from the inside, and a broom handle had been placed across the sliding door, preventing it from opening, and a new lock had been placed on the gate leading to the backyard. Will had been locked out of his own home! He was able to stay with a neighbor for a few days, before joining his family on vacation.
Social Media is the New 911
Will states that when House asked him if he understood why CPS was investigating his family, he replied,
Everyone knows it’s about the money. A family of 11 children like mine is a LOT of money. It’s basically a legal kidnapping ring. Our last caseworker, Jennifer Matthews got a bonus after my siblings went into foster care.
Will further illustrates,
This situation just shows that CPS has turned into an organization of legal child trafficking. There’s an entire nation of people who don’t even know about this corruption. Social media is the new 911, and we need to expose the government. Social media is literally a power tool to do this.
Rembis Children: Huge Cash Cow for the State?
The monthly foster care payment to the state alone can be as much as $6000 (per child, per month), or more since they are considered “special needs” just for being a sibling group, or if the state medicates them after taking them into custody for any emotional trauma resulting from being legally kidnapped (as is the case with most children put into foster care).
The late Senator Nancy Schaeffer summed it up as follows:
Child Protective Services and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, guardian ad litems, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that the social workers are the glue that hold “the system” together that funds the court, funds the court appointed attorneys, and the multiple other jobs including the “system’s” psychiatrists, therapists, their own attorneys and others. (Source: The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services.)
To further illustrate the federal funding problem, Claire explains that when CPS ordered educational assessments for her children last year, one psychologist told her:
95% of my clients are CPS cases, because they pay what I ask. Foster kids are like dealing with a child of luxury – they have everything paid for by the state, whereas most families can’t afford my services, and most private insurances won’t pay what I ask, but the government will.
To learn how the states have created a lucrative business out of child trafficking through CPS, see:
Lubbock County CPS – The “Worst County in All of Texas”
Claire recently spoke to a defense in attorney in Lubbock who allegedly informed her:
When it comes to CPS, Lubbock County is the worst county in all of Texas. Once a case is opened against a family, CPS ALWAYS asks the court for removal of children from the home and termination of parental rights at the very first hearing – no exceptions – 100% of the time. The EARLIEST he’s seen a child is returned to their family is 8 months. He’s never seen it like THIS in any other county in Texas.
Too often the public believes that social workers risk life and limb to save abused children, and that they’re overworked, over-stressed and underpaid. A Lubbock newspaper even reported that Texas has lowered the educational requirements for caseworkers, because of the “growing number of abused and neglected children in Texas” who need social workers to “save them,” citing that “Within the past 10 years, the Lubbock County child population increased by 18.5 percent, with 74,078 children in 2015, according to DFPS.” (Source.)
The late Senator Nancy Schaefer, who died while fighting to expose the corrupt CPS system, said:
The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so. Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free. (Source: The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services)
Claire hopes that other families in Lubbock will speak out about their unjust CPS cases and join them in shedding light on this corrupt system, adding:
This reeks of ‘we have an agenda, we’re up to no good.’ This CPS worker was able to obtain a court order based on lies. When you’re dealing with people like that who have so much power, it’s pretty scary.
Pray for the Rembis Family to Get a Pro Bono Attorney
After the treatment they received in both court hearings, and after learning that their home and been searched & locked down while they were gone, and that they are considered “missing persons” because they took a vacation, the family is terrified to return home without a good attorney.
The family needs prayer. Claire stand on the promise in Philippians 4:19:
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Please visit the Rembis Family Facebook page for updates on how you can help.
Comment on this story at MedicalKidnap.com.
Other stories about Texas:
California Family Traveling Through Texas Loses Children to CPS After Autistic Daughter Drowns in Accident
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