William and Claire Rembis appeared at a status hearing in the Lubbock County Foster Care Court Wednesday, hoping to regain custody of ten of their children. The court informed that the focus of this hearing was establishing a service plan, a set of orders the Rembis’ must comply with in the months to come in order to regain custody of their children.
The Rembis family has gained national attention for some of the allegations against them in CPS cases as well as their public outcry against CPS.
Wednesday’s hearing was a procedural one which occurred 60 days following their children’s entry into foster care. In the previous hearing in September, the judge also held that CPS would maintain custody of the Rembis children, citing “an ongoing pattern of inadequate supervision” and failure to comply with CPS investigations.
Lubbock County CPS began investigating the Rembis family in May. There have been other CPS investigations into their family, spanning three states and dating back to 2006. A CPS spokesperson explained Wednesday that all three of the previous Texas investigations into their family have been closed.
During that Septemeber hearing witnesses shared allegations that the Rembis’ allowed their children to wander barefoot and unsupervised, and left their children to eat out of dumpsters. The Rembis family denied the bulk of these allegations, they maintain that their children have never been abused or neglected.
“Our children cry at every visit to come home,” Claire Rembis said Wednesday after the hearing. “They miss us. Our son is being bullied in school, our other son is in detention because his hair is too long. He doesn’t want to cut it and we keep telling him he’s not doing anything wrong.”
Assistant District Attorney Kacee Harvey who was present at Wednesday’s hearing explained how the service plan will work for the Rembis family:
“They do have a full year from the time of the removal in order to comply and show the judge they are willing and able to care for their children.”
Since the September hearing, Mr. Rembis has secured a job, he explained Wednesday. However during the hearing, public officials said that on September 30 the Rembis’ were evicted from their Lubbock home by a constable. Since then they have been living out of a hotel, Mrs. Rembis explained that they have submitted a an application for a home in Lubbock. They hope to move to another home in Colorado once they regain custody of their kids. The family is currently looking for long term housing in Lubbock.
Outside of securing long term housing, the court has ordered that the Rembis’ must also attend parenting classes, life skills classes, counseling, psychological evaluations, have verification of employment, pay child support and medical support, and notify CPS within five days of a housing change. In court the Rembis’ expressed that they objected to most of the components of the service plan, but the judge still placed the service plan into effect.
“The department looks at the reason for the involvement with the family as well as the needs of the family, as well as financial needs and any other needs the department can provide and works through a series of questions with the family and tries to use a collaborative approach,” Harvey explained of the service plan process.
The judge reminded the Rembis’ that their compliance with the service plan will determine whether and how soon they’ll be able to get their kids back.
“It just seems like a waste of government money and resources and it’s taking a toll on all of us,” Claire Rembis said. She hopes to be home schooling her children soon.
At the hearing advocates for the Rembis children explained that they are currently doing well in school, though all appear to be behind their age level in classes.
The Rembis parents remained adamant that they want their children home schooled and that they don’t want their children vaccinated.
Kacee Harvey explained now that the service plan is in effect “the clock starts now” for the Rembis family to start complying with the court orders.
“Some of the stuff in the plan goes against our beliefs and our convictions, and certainly those things will be addressed with an attorney and with the judge at a later date,” Mrs. Rembis said Wednesday. “But any and everything that’s court ordered by a judge, we most definitely participate whether we agree with it or not.”
Their next hearing is scheduled on January 4, but the Rembis’ say they’ll be trying to get their kids back before then.
“We will be here, we are going to fight for our children every single day, we will continue to file objections, we will continue to show up in court, and we are not going to wait to come back in January,” Mrs. Rembis said.