The Schwabs are a very devout Christian family who have homeschooled their children most of their lives. They lived in Colorado for a number of years before moving to Kansas in 2013 because of Raymond’s job. They were already in the process of moving back to Colorado in April 2015, when DCF came into their lives based on what the Schwabs say are false allegations from relatives who didn’t approve of their religious and other beliefs.
The children remain in the system over the fact that Raymond has been using medical marijuana to treat his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and chronic pain as a veteran. The veteran has become a poster child for medical marijuana activism, but the situation is much bigger than that.
When the family lived in Colorado, Raymond worked with the VA to treat his PTSD and pain after being honorably discharged from the Navy for disability. He tried many different medical treatments from narcotics to anti-anxiety drugs, but they didn’t really help much, and had many undesirable side-effects.
Eventually, Raymond fell into heroin addiction. He tells Health Impact News that he isn’t proud of that fact, but he wants the public to realize that this is a pattern that happens to many veterans. He went into a Christian rehab program and got off of all of the drugs.
He was able to get his life back on track with the medicinal use of cannabis, which is legal in the state of Colorado. Medicinal marijuana is a treatment that he says can and does help veterans with PTSD and chronic pain with far fewer side effects than narcotic and psychotropic drugs.
In 2013, he accepted a federal position with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Topeka, Kansas, and moved his family there. Marijuana is not legal in Kansas, for medicinal or any use. Therefore, he stopped his cannabis treatment.
By early 2015, the family decided to move back to Colorado in order to legally be able to treat his PTSD in the way that has worked most effectively for him. Raymond got a job transfer, and plans were in the works for the move. In April, the family says they had a break-in at their home, so they sent their children to stay with relatives for a day or two, so that they could pack everything believing their kids would be safe.
That is when their nightmare began.
The Schwabs declined to name who it was that reported them, but someone took their children to the police in Riley County, saying that they were abandoned. There were allegations of emotional abuse, based on the fact that the children were homeschooled and not vaccinated according to the CDC schedule.
Though the police never investigated the allegations, 5 of the Schwabs’ children were immediately placed in Department of Children and Families (DCF) custody on April 26. The children range in age from age 5 to 16. (Their 6th child is a 19 year old who was not involved in the case.) The children have been separated in foster care.
The couple continued the move to Colorado, with their 19 year old son, believing that they would get their children back quickly, since they knew the allegations were false. Indeed, the allegations were found to be “Unsubstantiated” by early July. However, the children have still not been reunited with their family.