Christian families who homeschool face constant harassment from local, state, and federal officials. In one of the worst cases out there, parents in Texas had their children taken from them again after they were accused of neglecting their kids. The reality is, however, that they are being targeted by child services.
By Dave Gahary
For a Texas Christian family whose children were forcibly removed from them, it’s déjà vu all over again. The subject of a front-page article in this newspaper last August, all 11 of their homeschooled children (at the time ages 16, 14, 12, 9, 8 [twins], 7, 6, 3, 2, and 12 weeks) were taken from them, and the only explanation given for this was because they were in the sights of that state’s child protective services division. There was never any history of abuse or neglect. Although all 11 kids were eventually returned to William and Claire Rembis, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) made weekly visits, still gunning for all of them. Hanging over the Rembises was not just the fact that they were separated from their birth children for no good reason at the hands of an out-of-control state bureaucracy, but that the DFPS has an atrocious track record of children in their “care.”
From 2003 to 2005, 118 foster children died in their care, where “compared to the general population, a child is four times more likely to die in the Texas foster care system.” Incredibly, around that same time, 100 children were poisoned and 63 were raped while under state care, including four-year-old twin boys.
This terrifying scenario is not exclusive to Texas. Christian families across the country that avoid public schools and instead choose to homeschool their children are increasingly on the hit list of local authorities. Often times, they face threats that police will take away their kids. Last year, after Claire, 36, was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis following gallbladder removal, she had a flare-up and was briefly hospitalized from July 4-6, 2015, and visited by William and their newborn. An acquaintance reported the family to DFPS when they stopped by the home to find the other kids “alone.”
This time around, an innocent error got their nightmare going all over again.
“In May, I went across the street to a coffee shop, and I went out the garage door, and my youngest daughter followed me out the door, but I didn’t know that,” explained William Rembis, in an exclusive interview with AMERICAN FREE PRESS on Sept. 4.
“One of my other daughters saw her walking down the street, and brought her back to the house,” he said. “She was out the door probably for 30 seconds. Well, somebody—we think it’s a disgruntled neighbor—saw this happen, and anonymously called DFPS.”
The police came out, filed a report, and left. “All it takes is one person, a phone call from an anonymous person, to basically ruin your life,” said William. “They called DFPS on us and we haven’t been able to get rid of them since. They came into our house and looked into our fridge, and said, ‘No, you don’t have enough food here for 11 kids.’ So they opened an investigation on us.”
DFPS got an emergency removal order and removed all 11 children on Aug. 25.
Even the judge from the previous case asked DFPS why they kept harassing the Rembises since there was no evidence of abuse or neglect, no criminal history, no substance abuse—nothing. William believes so-called child protective services entities like DFPS have an agenda, and it’s not the safety of children.
“We have a large family, and they get money for every kid they take into custody,” William explained.
“If you look at the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, they get their funding from that. If they can adopt them out they get more money. We have two kids with special needs; they get even more funding. So it’s basically just a racket. It’s child trafficking.”
Claire Rembis thought that after the judge reprimanded DFPS her troubles would be behind her.
“As homeschoolers in a large family, we’re very well aware of what’s been happening a lot to Christian, homeschooling families, especially large families,” Claire Rembis told AFP on the same day.
When they took the children last year, there were allegations of abuse in the foster care system. “Seven of them were returned within 36 hours, and then the rest came home after a hearing, which was six days later,” Claire explained. “Five children were abused,” she said. “The first one who was abused was my son who was only gone for 36 hours. After he was removed they took him to a homeless shelter in downtown Dallas, where there are other homeless kids and homeless adults. A few hours after he arrived they sent in a psychologist to do some testing. He was with this psychologist for nine hours straight, and one of the things they asked him was whether or not he masturbates.” The son told one of his siblings he was asked that and he didn’t know what it meant. It got worse for Claire and William. “We obtained their medical records, their doctors’ exams, for two of them, and when I was reading through the exams with an attorney, she explained to me that one of the things I was reading was a description of a sexual assault,” she said.
Claire overheard one of her daughters speaking to another sibling saying she never wanted to see the doctor that she saw before because “she almost got her germs.”
Claire’s daughter explained what happened. “She told me the doctor looked at her down there—her private areas—and that the doctor felt everything down there, and went inside,” Claire recounted. “The reason why she was concerned about getting the doctor’s germs was that the doctor wasn’t wearing gloves.” Then a daughter sitting next to them heard that and said, “Yeah, they did that to me, too.” It got worse.
Another daughter, who was a year at the time, was crying and screaming during her medical exam.
“They took ropes and tied her feet down to the bed, and then did the exam,” Claire explained. An “adversary hearing” took place on Sept. 7. No matter how the hearing turns out, getting out of the Lone Star State is on their agenda. “We are leaving. We are surely leaving,” said William.
“Absolutely, without a doubt,” Claire confirmed.
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s “Underground Interview” series.