News Brief: Friday, April 18, 2008
We are very gratified with today’s decision to keep all the children in temporary state custody because it stops the abuse and keeps all the children safe.
This allows us to keep children safe as we conduct a complete and thorough investigation and provide the physical and mental health services they need.
The children’s safety is our top priority. Our goal is always to reunite children with their parents if we can do so and make sure the child will be safe.
Today’s decision is about the safety of children. It is not a decision about religious freedom. The children will be allowed to worship freely. We respect and value the strong sense of faith these children have. We are not trying to change them; we are trying to keep them safe.
We’ll continue our efforts to identify the biological mother and father of each child, and it is our hope that the parents will work with us to ensure the safety of their children. On Monday, DNA testing will begin for the children and later in the week, testing will be available for the parents.
We’ll begin moving the children into more appropriate placements where we can provide all the services they need while continuing our investigation. We will try to keep children as close to their families as possible so they may see their parents under the conditions outlined by the judge.
Each child will have several people who are looking out for his or her best interests. The children will have court appointed special advocates and attorneys who will monitor their child’s care and progress and report back to the court.
This isn’t the end of the legal process or a final determination on the custody of the children. We will work with the judge, attorneys, special advocates, and hopefully the parents, to make the best decisions we can for the long-term health and safety of the children. We will update the court on the progress of each child’s case by June 5.