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Residents speak out against Child Protective Services

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Sept. 3, 2010 at 4:03 a.m.
Updated Sept. 4, 2010 at 4:04 a.m.

From left, Frances Gamblin, Bill Crouch and Cecil Crouch stage a protest against Child Protective Services on Friday morning when a family member had her children removed from her home.

Bill Crouch, 78, held up the sign, waving it and his free hand at passing cars.

He hoped someone would take heed of the message he was holding and wearing like a sandwich board.

Crouch and son, Cecil Crouch, 55, and daughter, Frances Gamblin, 53, staged a protest against Child Protective Services on Friday morning across from the Victoria County Courthouse.

In addition to waving and wearing signs, the trio passed out brochures and other materials that detailed how to battle CPS.

"I am fighting for everybody, not just our family," said Gamblin. "Everybody who has had their children taken away for no reason. CPS needs to shut down or clean up."

The protest emerged after a family member had her children removed from her home and has been struggling in her dealings with CPS since, said Gamblin.

The children are a 4-year-old girl, 7-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl.

"We're just regular people that want to speak out. I never would have dreamed of protesting anything except now it's my family that's involved," said the younger Crouch.

The children and mother, 32, lived with Bill Crouch when they were removed from his home.

"I went to Korea to fight for our freedom," he said. "Then I get over in America and they come in there like the Gestapo and pick those kids up."

Cecil Crouch said the family member has tried to get assistance from social services and do the things she has been asked to do to keep her children.

Cecil Crouch said there was a problem with the father of one of the children and some "questionable bruising."

"She was told to report things, but then they told her she was guilty of excessive calling," Cecil Crouch said. "It's the families that don't have the money to fight a state agency that are being hurt."

Bill Crouch said his home was a good place for the children.

"They came in my home. We have prayer every night. The kids are in church every Sunday, and they took them out of their home," he said.

No family members on the mother's side have been allowed to contact the children.

In addition to the protest signs, the trio passed out brochures and business cards with website addresses and other information for those who are in conflict with CPS.

"It was designed for a good reason, but it's just gotten out of hand," said Cecil Crouch. "They need to put in some checks and balances. These kids are hurting."

The Advocate attempted to reach CPS for comment but could not make contact with the public information officer in San Antonio.

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