Polygamist Sect Children To Return Home

June 02, 2008 05:26 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Women began arriving at a Texas foster care facility Monday morning to pick up their children, hours after a judge approved their release.

30-Second Summary

State District Judge Barbara Walther, who originally ordered the children into foster care nearly two months ago, signed an agreement between 20 lawyers for Child Protective Services and the parents of nearly 450 children, allowing the children's release.

But Walther did enforce some restrictions. Her ruling orders the parents to participate in parenting classes and not to interfere with any ongoing investigations. Officials will continue to look into allegations of abuse, in particular the allegation that young girls were forced into spiritual marriages with adult men.

Also, Child Protective Services is allowed to make unnannounced visits to the Yearning For Zion Ranch to check on the children. Those living on the ranch are part of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

On May 22, the Texas Third District Court of Appeals ruled that the 463 children should not have been removed from the ranch in the first place, overturning the ruling by a district judge last month that gave the state custody of the children.

The saga began when state officials raided the compound on April 4, after receiving a call from a 16-year-old girl claiming that her 50-year-old husband sexually abused her. Authorities bused hundreds of women and children out of the ranch and placed the children in foster care.

Since then, Texas authorities have said at least 41 of the childen had past injuries of unknown origin and 31 out of 53 of girls between 14 and 17 years old were mothers or were pregnant.

Headline Link: Children return to Yearning for Zion Ranch

Background: Court rejects state’s argument for holding children

From the Raid To the Court Ruling

Opinion & Analysis: The state’s right to remove the children

Video: Life at the Eldorado ranch

Key Player: Warren Jeffs (1955–)

Historical Context: The 1953 raid in Short Creek, Ariz., and the 1993 siege in Waco, Texas

Reference: Court decision, Polygamous sects and how to help the women and children of YFZ


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