Category: system failure

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, family, General, government, law, system failure
Dizzy in the DV Cycle – Literally

October is Domestic Violence awareness month.

So Its Almost Tuesday wants to bring attention to the issue of Domestic Violence… something that affects our children – bringing them into foster care – teaching them violence – and killing them….

Domestic violence is considered child abuse by law in many states, even if the child only witnesses DV between his parents even if he is not the target.

What does that mean? Domestic Violence Awareness month….

Does that mean we’re all too aware in October of the tragedy DV brings our families? Or not aware enough the rest of the year?

One in Four

Women

Will experience

Domestic Violence

In her lifetime.

Up to 40 percent of battered women delay going to a shelter because they fear what will happen to their left-behind pet.

Women are more at risk for harm & abuse within their intimate relationships than anywhere else…and

They are at the most risk for being murdered after they leave their abuser.

What this month means to me is a memory of another October, when I was in Florida, and had received a phone call that my abuser was on his way to my house, and was planning to lock me in and burn me alive inside.

I felt like I was in the cycle of violence – literally – going around and around…

I called the local DV shelter. The woman on the phone asked if I was harmed, and I said, no, he isn’t here yet, he’s supposedly on the way – and she told me to call back if he arrived and injured me and I was forced to run… meanwhile, she gave me the number to the DV Outreach Center. I called the DV Outreach Center. They do not handle the enforcement, they handle needs and necessities, counseling, and clothing, and donations – I would need to call the state attorney’s office office to get my protective order enforcement underway.. and go down to the clerk’s office, file a violation of protective order affidavit, then take that in, and they would turn it in, review it, and it’d go up the chain and if picked up by the state he’d be arrested.

Maybe…

But in nearly 8 years I’d ran from him, he never once got arrested… the state never picked up the charges because he resided in Texas, and Florida didn’t feel it would be worthwhile to extradite him…. so they let them lie….

I decided, that October day… to go in person to the state attorney’s office; but when I got there … they sent me across the hall to the victim/witness department… The lady at the front desk told me to sit down while I wait in the lobby for somebody from the state attorney’s office across the hall

(that I just came from)

would come help me… an advocate from there…

I was dizzy by then…. I think.

I remember looking up at the posters on the wall in “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” – October – Halloween – Costumes with my little boy who i no longer had, tears welling up in my eyes, and a knot in my throat instead of laughter and candy…

Then the advocate came sauntering across the hall from the state attorneys’ office. She asked me if I had already been interviewed by the Victims Witness Coordinator, I said no….

I showed her my Florida Protective Order, and the police reports from Texas that showed numerous violations of the protective order – and began to explain that i needed him arrested for the violations because I was afraid he was on his way to hurt me. If he were in jail I’d be safe..i thought….

The advocate asked me “do you have Florida police reports?”

I said, “No, I have police reports from Texas ..

She asks “Why from Texas?”

I said, “Thats where the violations occurred – in Plano – Texas… when I called the police… when it happened…. here are the reports…”

she said“Well, you need to go to the Texas Courts to enforce the protective order then, where it happened…

I had been through this one many times in Texas –“Ma’am, Plano, Texas Courts won’t enforce the protective order, the police say its not valid because it is issued in Florida…and its more than two years old … but Florida law is different and it is valid… I don’t care who does it, so long as its done….”

She began to look confused…

“So, did you file a report with the police in Florida?” she asks.

“No, “….

I try to explain…again…

“The police in Florida won’t do a report on the violations because the violations occurred in Texas….but Texas won’t enforce the protective order because the protective order is issued in Florida…”

She asks, “Why don’t you get a protective order in Texas then…?”

I’m beginning to sweat with frustration and tears are welling in my eyes…

“I cannot get a brand new protective order in Texas because he has not assaulted me or caused injury to me within some recent time period, so I don’t qualify!”

“Why are you here then….?” she asks….

“Ma’am!!!!!!!He’s threatened to come lock me up in my trailer from the outside, and burn it down… with me inside… please, help? The shelter won’t take me, the outreach center sent me across the hall who sent me here and called you over, and all I want to do is show someone these violations, dozens and dozens of police reports where he stalked me and abducted my son – and have them brought up on violation charges against my abuser… please…?

I point to her poster – –

“Its October, your posters say that this is Domestic Violence Awareness month….I need help! I need some awareness!”

The worker then looked at me and said with a calm collected tone of voice,

“Well, maybe you shouldn’t have such a big lock on the outside of your trailer ma’am…”

…”What?!?”

I was in shock.

Then she quickly tells me she must help the next person waiting, and just as calmly as that she says my case was a tad bit more complicated than her training was sufficient for handling, and her suggestion was that I seek legal counsel with a private attorney… in Texas… or maybe Florida… or both…. to be on the safe side… Then she walked me out the door and told me to have a good day.

No, he didn’t burn my trailer down with me inside.

He was, however, arrested a few months later – 3 miles from my home, for child rape, compelling prostitution of a child, and sexual performance by a child…(multiple counts) He plead guilty and is a convicted sex offender now serving time…

STILL – I never did get to see my son again after my abuser had abducted him, but when all of the police officers, advocates, state workers, judges, etc., refused to enforce my Florida protective order against my abuser… that he violated more than a dozen times in a blatant undeniable way…. because he did so in Plano, Texas and not in Florida where the PO was issued

He was – at that time – in his spare time – molesting and raping his stepdaughter and other children – for many years – but two of those years they wasted shuffling me back and forth across hallways.. across state lines..

… for Two years a little girl did not have to suffer….if they had only listened to me.

Domestic Violence Awareness…

This October…. Listen…

Climbing Out Broken Windows

(our sister blog for domestic violence)

Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

RAPE RELATED PTSD

Many rape victims experience what is referred to as Rape-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (also called Rape Trauma Syndrome). And yes, a woman can be raped by her own husband. Oftentimes that is the abusers way to gain control.

The four major symptoms of PTSD are:

1. Re-Experiencing the Trauma: Rape victims may experience recurrent nightmares about the rape, flashbacks or may have an inability to stop remembering the rape.

2. Social Withdrawal: This symptom has been called ‘psychic numbing’ and involves not experiencing feelings of any kind.

3. Avoidance Behaviors and Actions: Victims may desire to avoid any feelings or thoughts that might recall to mind events about the rape.

4. Increased Physiological Arousal Characteristics: This symptom can be marked by an exaggerated startle response, hyper-vigilance, sleep disorders or difficulty concentrating.

If you’re afraid for your immediate safety, call 911. For help and advice on escaping an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3224.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, General, government, law, system failure
ALERT:: Collin & Dallas Counties Ignore Domestic Violence Outcries

August 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SEEKS HELP

SHE IS IN DANGER AND NEEDS HELP

COLLIN AND DALLAS COUNTIES IGNORE HER SO SHE TURNS TO ITS ALMOST TUESDAY FOR HELP!!

(The comments below were made by a woman on Its Almost Tuesday’s main page, I copy/paste for you all to see)

I am going through almost exactly what Mary has gone through in the Collin County Court System. I feel for her and broke-down several times while reading about her story. I have been a victim of Domestic Violence to my husband, the abuser who has beat & battered me throughout our marriage. There are at least thirty (30) Police Incidents and i finally obtained a Protective Order that Collin County will not enforce because they say it is out of there jurisdiction and that I need to see the City of Dallas. Likewise, the City of Dallas says that it is out of there jurisdiction and that the constable of Collin County is the one to enforce these Protective Order Matters. Collin County says thay dont know what Dallas is talking about. I pay taxes to both. Neither one is helping me and my husband is continuing to take steps to follow-through on his threats to kill me. Something needs to be done, but I don’t know where to turn.

CONTACT US IF YOU CAN HELP

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, domestic violence, education, foster care, General, government, system failure
Sect Leader’s Daughter Tells Attorney Ad Litem to Step Aside
Legal Ethics
Posted Jun 23, 2008, 07:16 am CDT

By Debra Cassens Weiss

The daughter of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has told her attorney ad litem in an e-mail to step aside. She sent a copy of the missive to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The teen, 16-year-old Teresa Jeffs, told the newspaper in an interview that Texas lawyer Natalie Malonis is restricting her visits with the people who matter most in her life and has barred her from corresponding with her father, who has been jailed since 2006. The disagreement has created a rift with Malonis.

“The most help you will be to me now is for you to step aside and let me get a different lawyer that I feel like can help me,” Teresa Jeffs said in the e-mail.

Malonis has succeeded in getting a temporary order barring Teresa Jeffs from contact with Willie Jessop, a spokesman for the polygamous sect, the newspaper reports. Another hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.

Malonis told the paper she is trying to keep the girl free of outside influence. “Right now, that’s not happening,” Malonis said. “There is no question I am absolutely looking out for her. … What’s happening is really a shame because people who purport to care about her are really doing her a disservice.”

Texas law requires attorneys ad litem to represent their clients’ position in court, unless the clients are not acting in their own best interest, according to the story. Malonis has said in court papers that police believe Teresa Jeffs was spiritually married to an older man when she was 15.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, system failure
Over 1300 online petitioners say judicial actions in FLDS case is deserving of impeachment

Click Here to view the 1385 Online Petition Signatures to Impeach Texas District Judge Barbara Walther Over FLDS Fiasco

Published by Daniel T. Weaver on Jun 01, 2008
Category: Government/Law
Region: United States of America
Target: State of Texas
Description/History:
Texas Judge Barbara Walther authorized the removal of more than 400 children from an FLDS compound in Texas and their placement in foster care.

Both an appellate court and the Texas Supreme Court have ruled that the children and parents must be reunified. Even now Judge Walther is blocking the reunification by attempting to get parents to sign agreements with Child Protective Services before they can be reunited with their children.

Barbara Walther’s actions constitute one of the greatest violation of constitutional rights in the State of Texas and she should be impeached and removed from office. This petition will be forwarded to Texas lawmakers after enough signatures are collected.

Signing this petition does not mean that you necessarily support the FLDS and their religious views.

(This petition was created by a third party who is not necessarily affiliated with nor is this petition the true reflection of the opinion of It’s Almost Tuesday – the views and opinions of this Petition is wholly its own, and independent of Its Almost Tuesday.  We are simply sharing the petition’s information for those who wish to sign it.)

Petition:

Whereas Texas 51st District Judge Barbara Walther has violated the constitutional rights of more than 400 children and their parents of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints Church (FLDS);

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Texas and has violated that oath;

and whereas both an appellate court and the Texas Supreme Court have sided with the FLDS children and their parents against Judge Barbara Walther;

and whereas the actions of Judge Barbara Walther have resulted in a great financial cost to the State of Texas and its taxpayers;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther’s actions constitute one of the greatest violations of constitutional rights in the history of the State of Texas;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther should have known ahead of time that what she was doing was unconstitutional, since the Island Pond Raid in the State of Vermont in 1984 was almost identical, and there are other similar cases on record where judges refused to support unconstitutional raids by Child Protective Services;

and whereas Judge Barbara Walther has impeded the reunification of parents with their children, even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that they should be reunified;

we ask that proceedings begin immediately for the impeachment of District Judge Barbara Walther of the State of Texas.

Click Here to Sign the petition

The Impeach Texas District Judge Barbara Walther Over FLDS Fiasco petition to State of Texas was written by Daniel T. Weaver and is hosted free of charge at GoPetition.

please promote this petition

 

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, system failure
FLDS: READ THE APPEAL COURT RULING: ACTUAL COURT PAPERS

This ruling is an awesome show of the law and how it works.  CPS is rarely overturned.  In particular, to have the Third District Court of Appeals rule so specifically on the terms of what they can constitute “imminent danger” requiring the removal of a child, and also implementing the requirement to make every reasonable attempt to return the child to the home.

This is case law that I’m sure will be used throughout many cases in the future of CPS court.  This is a huge advancement for all families who have been wrongly separated by CPS who have not followed the law like they are now being forced to.  These children will surely find their way into history and law books to come and hopefully save the children of our future from suffering much the same fate.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ACTUAL COURT

RULING OF THE TEXAS THIRD DISTRICT COURT

OF APPEALS MEMORANDUM OF LAW

FLDS vs. CPS

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, education, family, foster care, government, law, system failure
FLDS: Appellate Court Rules CPS HAD NO RIGHT TO REMOVE CHILDREN

http://www.kxan.com/global/story.asp?s=8365745

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — The Third Court of Appeals has ruled that Child Protective Services did not have the right to remove children from the Yearning for Zion ranch last month.

The ruling comes as a result of a document filed by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid last month. The TRLA is the largest provider of legal aid in Texas, on behalf of 48 FLDS mothers that TRLA is representing in their child custody cases.

“The way that the courts have ignored the legal rights of these mothers is ridiculous,” said TRLA attorney Julie Balovich. “It was about time a court stood up and said that was has been happening to these families is wrong.”

In the decision, the Court ruled that CPS failed to provide any evidence that the children were in imminent danger and acted hastily in removing them from their families. According to the Court, “The existence of the FLDS belief system as described by the Department’s witnesses, by itself, does not put children of FLDS parents in physical danger.”

TRLA will be holding a press conference in front of the courthouse in San Angelo Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, family, foster care, General, government, law, system failure
CPS v. FLDS: Truth v. Lies: ItsAlmostTuesday v. Media- I CALL FOR A STRIKE

I am disgusted by CPS – again. I am disgusted by the Media – again. I miss my children… again…

So, the saga continues… FLDS, CPS, ElDorado, Media, Rocky, Bullwinkle…. hrrrrm?

My day started out a little emotional with this post as I read the Dallas Morning News Opinion Blog – where Sharon Grigsby posted CPS vs FLDS: 0 for 10 yesterday and i quote:

“The Deseret News and Grits for Breakfast, among others, continue to keep close tabs on those YFZ teens that CPS claims are pregnant. Some on our staff have said they aren’t interested in my continued posts on this topic. Perhaps some readers out there are: Today’s news from the Deseret News is that it turns out no 14-year old girls were found pregnant at the YFZ Ranch during the Great Eldorado…Full Story on The Dallas Morning News:

A lawyer for a 14-year-old girl that is on a list of so-called “disputed minors” said this morning she is not pregnant as Texas child welfare authorities have alleged. “My client does not have children. (She) is not pregnant. She’s the youngest on the list of disputed minors,” said Andrea Sloan.

“The department is communicating to the public that there are 14-year olds who are pregnant,” she said. Texas Child Protective Services caseworker Ashley Kennedy said that investigations were still ongoing.

The bombshell was dropped during the hearing involving Adeline Barlow, 38, the mother of a 10-year-old and the 14-year-old.

That led to quite a discussion when Grits for Breakfast replied as follows:

Posted by Gritsforbreakfast @ 6:29 PM Wed, May 21, 2008

Your observation that “Some on our staff have said they aren’t interested in my continued posts on this topic” confirms my sense that the MSM is less interested in focusing on information that’s not full of salacious accusations against weirdo polygamists. God forbid y’all actually report the truth instead of whatever phony accusation CPS ginned up that day.Pretty amazing that your colleagues would admit it, though. The facts on which they based their opinions were invalid, but they don’t want to revisit their conclusions. I’m asking myself “Why?”, but can’t come up with a single good reason offhand besides some sort of religious bigotry. What else could possibly explain journalists’ callous indifference to truth?

Which led to other comments on DMN Opinion Blog:

Posted by Shirlee @ 6:38 PM Wed, May 21, 2008

Amen! It is very demonstrative of the media’s duplicity that these “corrections” aren’t as widely snapped up and repeated as gospel as CPS’s lies all along, such as their assertion that they were investigating sexual abuse in boys too. That was spread like wildfire through the media, with the implication that the FLDS were guilty. This turned out to be, of course, a red herring to remove attention from their other atrocities. Thanks for having the integrity to point this out.

and

Posted by Kristi @ 7:31 PM Wed, May 21, 2008

Thank you for covering this. I have a friend that keeps saying I should quit yelling their rights have been violated and read some of the books out about them and learn more about their beliefs.

WHY? Their beliefs are irrelevant as far as I am concerned. I don’t have to agree with them or disagree with them – that doesn’t matter. What matters is that people are treated humanely, and that citizen’s rights be protected. REGARDLESS of who they sleep with, or what picture hangs in their room. Jeez.

Thanks for covering this. The mainstream media is nothing but a statist mouthpiece. THey aren’t reporting because all they can do is repeat what the govt. tells them. They are afraid of real investigative journalism.

So here’s my take on it – from the perspective of a parent who has lost her child to false allegations & CPS: First I’d like to thank GritsforBreakfast and DMN Opinion Sharon Grigsby for their guts, perseverance and dedication to this story.

Doesn’t it seem eerily like the OJ Simpson Murder trial? Where everyone tuned in, it was a news sensation who-done-it, bestseller, and yet – in the mix – people forgot about Nicole & Ron, the REAL PEOPLE who were brutally murdered in an act that was not from a movie script, but from domestic violence.

These are children. These are mothers.

These are people who do not live like “normal society” – and this is their lives.

In a letter from a former FLDS member, dan fischer, to the parents involved in these proceedings, one of the things he talks about is the way these families lived, and the way these women lived as mothers. They do not have television, friends, movies or dinners out, or clubs or dancing or even pictures hanging on their walls. They have their children. Their children have their mothers. These children, if they get an education, it is not like they would get in public school. It is a different lifestyle, belief, way of thinking and living. Is it wrong? Who’s to say? IT IS ALL THEY KNOW. To say that they will need psychological therapy is an understatement. These families are forever changed. The children are no longer innocent at all, secure, or stable. They are forever altered.

Imagine today, someone comes into your office, takes your computers, your pictures, your children, friends, families, etc., and says “EVERYTHING YOU ARE DOING IS NOT NORMAL AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE RIPPED APART AND IMPRISONED FOR IT” and you just thought that’s the way things were in life … you were behaving as “normal” and someone comes and rips it all to pieces – because we forget that ‘normal’ is a perspective….

You can’t imagine it – I know I can’t… tho’ I can try. Day to day routine & what you know is based on your experiences, surroundings, teachings, and perspective. Duh… right? Now – how does that tie into the law? How does that relate to the system?

There’s the debate. But wait a minute – the children…. aren’t they the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ALL OF THIS? Remember the children are no longer protected by the sect and their ‘no television’ rules. They are thrown into “normal’ society – for the first time – So they get their first taste of ‘normalcy’ in a place where children are 11 times more likely to be abused than at their natural home? These are children being introduced to society In a place where anger and rage and social workers and doctors and lawyers and psychotropic medications and abuse and lies and faces change and confusion and more abuse and more rage and new foster mothers and new foster fathers and new schools and new kids and danger and fear and confusion fear confusion confusion…. COME ON THESE ARE CHILDREN!

I am a mother first and foremost, and an advocate for children & families. I fight against pedophiles, crooked CPS workers, and system failures within our government. BUT WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING TO THESE CHILDREN?

As a Mother having gone through this CPS involvement and false allegation thing, I want to say this:

– I know that if I had the media reporting lies & making my case into a rumor-filled-gossip office-watercooler-coffee-break discussion, I probably wouldn’t be here typing this blog post right now. I’d be dead, because I would have committed suicide at least 10 times over from the pain and humiliation and suffering that I ALREADY HAD GOING ON added to that media cherry to the top of the rumor cake. No way. I wouldn’t have made it. I do not speak lightly when I say that. I would not be here. My heart goes out to the mothers and children.

As an Advocate-Paralegal who fights against pedophiles, child abusers, and government system failures – I say this:

Lets suppose a 14 year old gets married to an adult… is the sex still considered pedophilia? If a parent ‘consents’ to marry away the child to their sex partner can they essentially thwart the law? What if that marriage – which makes it legal – is forced …. in the name of ‘consent’ but the child never speaks up… or doesn’t know better..?

Child abuse is child abuse. A child has the right to live an abuse-free life. So then, let’s define abuse….Spanking on the butt? To some – yes. To others – no… Some say “Discipline all children with the rod or the child will be unruly” – Others say “Corporal punishment of any kind is abuse…”

Some say keeping these children apart from mainstream society without the ability to choose for themselves whether or not to watch TV or whether or not to go to public school, is abuse;While to others, its a NORMAL WAY OF LIFE.

Go to college v. get a job ? Dog v. cat ? Toilet paper – put it on the roll with the pull side up? Or down?

We could argue all day long as to who is living right or who is living wrong. We could argue all day about whether or not its abusive to live in a sect or abusive to allow no religious teachings in a family.

But we cannot argue truth vs. lie.

We cannot argue the difference between fact or fiction – perjury – telling the truth in the court of law v. falsifying evidence.

WE CANNOT DEBATE WHETHER CPS WORKERS SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT LIE ABOUT THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES THEY ARE INVESTIGATING…

IT IS NOT OKAY TO LIE ABOUT THE FACTS OF A CASE

IT IS NOT OKAY TO REPORT LIES IF YOU ARE REPORTING THE NEWS

IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS NOT TRUE IT IS NOT OKAY TO ADD TO THE PROPOGANDA BY TELLING THE LIE AGAIN AND AGAIN WHEN IT COMES TO REAL PEOPLE’S LIVES & THE EFFECTS IT WILL HAVE ON FAMILIES (isn’t that right Nicole, Ron?)

While everyone has an opinion, not everyone has a child.

Not everyone has a family or a family problem with CPS.

Not everyone has abuse issues in their lives, or conflicts to deal with, or a religious leader telling them one thing with a government telling them another with media saying something else with people giving opinions and everything they know being taken away, and not everyone understands what is involved in a case unless you go through it yourself.

It isn’t an easy thing to deal with when you live in mainstream society I CANNOT IMAGINE that happening to me if I lived in a removed, isolated, lifestyle like FLDS mothers, and I HAVE BEEN THROUGH IT – So if I can’t imagine it, knowing what I know, I KNOW there are most people out there who have no idea what they are talking about.

But everyone has an opinion. So, here’s mine –

I ONLY WISH I HAD THE NEWS REPORTING AND WATCHING OVER MY CASE THIS WAY WHEN I LOST MY LITTLE BOY –

Maybe then I wouldn’t have scars on my arm from my suicide attempts and the tears that fall when I post this – feeling the shame as I still write, admitting it, for the sake of children I don’t know.

If I had this kind of attention to my case, I might have back the years I lost, and the many more to come since my case caused me such despair because I WAS LIED ABOUT BY CPS TOO. Maybe I wouldn’t have lost everything I owned, friends of 20 years and my children.

Maybe my family members that I don’t see or speak to anymore would be over this weekend with my children who are not in my life anymore and we’d laugh together instead of yearning for my children & family back.

Maybe if I had someone to blog about me and my case when my son was forcibly removed and traumatized I wouldn’t have these nightmares about seeing him beaten & drugged in foster care, & the LIES BY CPS WORKERS and GAG ORDERS that made it okay to hurt my child and destroy me so a pedophile could get his revenge – finally – against me – for leaving him and trying to protect my child… REALLY protect my child….

That’s not news. That’s a life. That’s my life. My son’s life. That’s their life & their children’s lives in ElDorado. That’s the lives of your children AND mine, and unless you’ve been through this kind of horrible thing, you just may not understand.

I pray you never do understand -But for cryin’ out loud – tell the truth…. whether you’re reporting on it, or working on the case, or just talking about it to your neighbors.

If mainstream media entertainment “sells” more newspapers based on CPS LYING ABOUT THESE FAMILIES…. I URGE ALL OF YOU TO JOIN IN A STRIKE.

RIGHT NOW I URGE US ALL TO STRIKE AGAINST ANY NEWS REPORTING AGENCY, BLOG, NEWSPAPER, MAGAZINE OR OTHER NEWS/MEDIA SOURCE WHO KNOWINGLY MISREPORTS ELDORADO OR FLDS FACTS & WHO ASSISTS IN SPREADING CPS’ LIES OR WHO FAILS TO CORRECT ANY MISSTATED FACTS OF ANY FLDS/ELDORADO CHILD WHO IS GOING THROUGH THIS TRAGEDY IN THEIR FAMILY.

IF WE ALLOW CPS TO LIE ABOUT A FAMILY & CALL IT ‘NEWSWORTHY’ THEN WE ARE ALSO CHILD ABUSERS WHO SHOULD BE PUNISHED ACCORDINGLY IF WE ARE TO DO RIGHT BY THE CHILDREN. NO FAMILY DESERVES SUCH ABUSE & ATROCITY NO MATTER WHAT THEIR BELIEFS MAY BE – NO MATTER WHAT LIFESTYLE THEY LIVE.

SHOW THE TRUTH WHEN IT IS REVEALED OR BE JUDGED ALL THE SAME. TRUTH IS TRUTH. REPORT IT TRUTHFULLY OR SHUT UP. TRUTH IS TRUTH.

Please. For the sake of these families.

There’s no question about the integrity of truth v. lie ….

just like you can’t be ‘kinda pregnant’….

Because the swing of every pendulum brings with it potential adverse consequences, it is important to emphasize that in the area of child abuse, as with the investigation and prosecution of all crimes, the state is constrained by the substantive and procedural guarantees of the Constitution. The fact that the suspected crime may be heinous – whether it involves children or adults – does not provide cause for the state to ignore the rights of the accused or any other parties. Otherwise, serious injustices may result. Syl.Pt.3,WALLIS v. SPENCER, 202 F.3d 1126(9th Cir. 2000)

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, government, system failure
Checking In: Violations in Texas Foster Care

Below I have compiled a sample of real violations within the foster care system in Texas. These facilities are in major metropolitan areas (ie Dallas/Ft.Worth, Austin, San Antonio areas) and they are listed here exactly as they are reported here by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

While we talk about foster care abuse that goes on, there is a little bit of a difference between saying the words “child abuse” and actually seeing a description of what real adults are doing (or not doing) to these children…. in the name of ‘protection’… and using tax payers money to-boot.

I plan on doing lists like these every once in a while… keep us checking in on Texas Foster Care facilities… checkin’ in on the children.

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description:Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.

Standard Number: 16102

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother abused the foster child by striking the child on the head and possibly causing a bruise.

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically

Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster parent struck the foster child on the head as an inappropriate form of discipline.

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline – Consistent with

Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother used a restraint that is inconsistent with the PMB restraint system used by the CPA.

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

Standard Description: Other Prohibited Discipline – Any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating discipline or punishment

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Two children reported foster mother threw a gas cap at one of them when the child rummaged through her purse.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for being able to intervene when necessary to ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative There was an addendum to the safety plan that included the foster child not have access to pens and pencils. The addendum was discussed with the foster mother on 4/4/08 and then sent to her on 4/10/08; the foster mother signed and dated it. The safety plan states that the foster parent will ensure that the foster child does not have access to any sharp objects, including pencils and pens. The foster mother was aware that the foster child had a bag full of ballpoint pens and (unsharpened) pencils just prior to the child using a pen to hurt another child in the home. The foster mother stated she was not concerned about the foster child having the pens and pencils as he needs them for school. The foster mother did not take the necessary steps to ensure each child’s safety in the home.

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description: Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.

Standard Number: 16102 Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother abused the foster child by striking the child on the head and possibly causing a bruise.

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically

Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster parent struck the foster child on the head as an inappropriate form of discipline.

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline – Consistent with Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother used a restraint that is inconsistent with the PMB restraint system used by the CPA.

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

Standard Description: Other Prohibited Discipline – Any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating discipline or punishment

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Two children reported foster mother threw a gas cap at one of them when the child rummaged through her purse.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for being able to intervene when necessary to ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative There was an addendum to the safety plan that included the foster child not have access to pens and pencils. The addendum was discussed with the foster mother on 4/4/08 and then sent to her on 4/10/08; the foster mother signed and dated it. The safety plan states that the foster parent will ensure that the foster child does not have access to any sharp objects, including pencils and pens. The foster mother was aware that the foster child had a bag full of ballpoint pens and (unsharpened) pencils just prior to the child using a pen to hurt another child in the home. The foster mother stated she was not concerned about the foster child having the pens and pencils as he needs them for school. The foster mother did not take the necessary steps to ensure each child’s safety in the home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for not performing tasks that clearly impede the caregiver’s ability to supervise

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative Caregiver failed to supervise a child while they were playing with another child in a separate room. The service plan requires the child to have line of sight supervision while playing with other children.

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description: Physical Environment-foster home must

ensure that flammable or poisonous substances are stored out of the

reach of children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

A box of matches was found in the hallway of the home by one of the children residing in the home. This child held on to the matches and did not alert the foster parents that the matches had been found. This box of matches was hidden back in the foster parents’ bedroom. Additionally the foster child in respite care over the Thanksgiving holiday was able to access another box of matches that she found in the dresser drawer of the room she was sleeping in. This child started a fire in the wastebasket of the bedroom with there matches. This box of matches was retrieved from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Standard Number: 749.503(a)(9)A(ii)

Standard Description:

Serious Incident-Report to Licensing no later than 24 hours after determining a child 13 years old or older is missing

Narrative

The operation waited more than 24 hours before reporting to licensing that a 17 year old had run away from his foster home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for ensuring each child’s safety and well being, including auditory and/or visual awareness of the child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Foster mother, Cozette, stated she had talked with her case manager about using a baby monitoring for one of the children in her care due to his seizure disorder. At the inspection of the foster home one of the receivers for the baby monitor was unplugged and under a kitchen cabinet. Cozette stated she had not used the baby monitor on the night that the child had a seizure.

Standard Number 749.1521(4)

Standard Description: Medication Storage-Store medication covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act under double lock in a separate container

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Several medications covered by Section II of the Texas Controlled Substances Act were found in a locked box in an unlocked cabinet. The cabinet was in the foster mother’s office, which was also unlocked. These medications, therefore, were not kept under double lock at the time of inspection.

Standard Number: 749.2471(9)(D)

Standard Description:

Verification Certificate specifies the ages and gender(s) of children for which the home is verified

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The verification certificate at the home did not match the characteristics of the children placed. The certificate indicated the home was verified for children ages 10 to 17 even though a 7-year-old child was placed in the home.

Standard Number: 16102

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative A young foster child was sexually assaulted by an older child in the home. The older child was arrested for sexual assault.

Standard Number: AF22101

Standard Description: Children must not be Abused or Neglected

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother abused the foster child by striking the child on the head and possibly causing a bruise.

Standard Number: AF23102b

Standard Description: Discipline – Not be Physically or Emotionally Damaging to Child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster parent struck the foster child on the head as an inappropriate form of discipline.

Standard Number: AF23102a

Standard Description: Discipline -Consistent with Agency Policies

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

The evidence gathered supports that the foster mother used a restraint that is inconsistent with the PMB restraint system used by the CPA.

Standard Number: 749.1957(1)

Standard Description: Other Prohibited Discipline – Any harsh, cruel, unusual, unnecessary, demeaning, or humiliating discipline or punishment

Technical Assistance Given: Yes

Narrative

Two children reported foster mother threw a gas cap at one of them when the child rummaged through her purse.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(4)

Standard Description: Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for being able to intervene when necessary to

ensure each child’s safety

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative There was an addendum to the safety plan that included the foster child not have access to pens and pencils. The addendum was discussed with the foster mother on 4/4/08 and then sent to her on 4/10/08; the foster mother signed and dated it. The safety plan states that the foster parent will ensure that the foster child does not have access to any sharp objects, including pencils and pens. The foster mother was aware that the foster child had a bag full of ballpoint pens and (unsharpened) pencils just prior to the child using a pen to hurt another child in the home. The foster mother stated she was not concerned about the foster child having the pens and pencils as he needs them for school. The foster mother did not take the necessary steps to ensure each child’s safety in the home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for not performing tasks that clearly impede the caregiver’s ability to supervise

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Caregiver failed to supervise a child while they were playing with another child in a separate room. The service plan requires the child to have line of sight supervision while playing with other children.

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description:Physical Environment-foster home must ensure

that flammable or poisonous substances are stored out of the reach of

children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

A box of matches was found in the hallway of the home by one of the children residing in the home. This child held on to the matches and did not alert the foster parents that the matches had been found. This box of matches was hidden back in the foster parents’ bedroom. Additionally the foster child in respite care over the Thanksgiving holiday was able to access another box of matches that she found in the dresser drawer of the room she was sleeping in. This child started a fire in the wastebasket of the bedroom with there matches. This box of matches was retrieved from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Standard Number: 749.503(a)(9)A(ii)

Standard Description:

Serious Incident-Report to Licensing no later than 24 hours after determining a child 13 years old or older is missing

Narrative

The operation waited more than 24 hours before reporting to licensing that a 17 year old had run away from his foster home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for ensuring each child’s safety and well being, including auditory and/or visual awareness of the child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Foster mother, Cozette, stated she had talked with her case manager about using a baby monitoring for one of the children in her care due to his seizure disorder. At the inspection of the foster home one of the receivers for the baby monitor was unplugged and under a kitchen cabinet. Cozette stated she had not used the baby monitor on the night that the child had a seizure.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(5)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for not performing tasks that clearly impede the caregiver’s ability to supervise

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Caregiver failed to supervise a child while they were playing with another child in a separate room. The service plan requires the child to have line of sight supervision while playing with other children.

Standard Number: 749.3041(4)

Standard Description:

Physical Environment-foster home must ensure that flammable

or poisonous substances are stored out of the reach of children

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

A box of matches was found in the hallway of the home by one of the children residing in the home. This child held on to the matches and did not alert the foster parents that the matches had been found. This box of matches was hidden back in the foster parents’ bedroom. Additionally the foster child in respite care over the Thanksgiving holiday was able to access another box of matches that she found in the dresser drawer of the room she was sleeping in. This child started a fire in the wastebasket of the bedroom with there matches. This box of matches was retrieved from the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Standard Number: 749.503(a)(9)A(ii)

Standard Description:

Serious Incident-Report to Licensing no later than 24 hours after determining a child 13 years old or older is missing

Narrative

The operation waited more than 24 hours before reporting to licensing that a 17 year old had run away from his foster home.

Standard Number: 749.2593(a)(3)

Standard Description:

Supervision-The caregiver is responsible for ensuring each child’s safety and well being, including auditory and/or visual awareness of the child

Technical Assistance Given: No

Narrative

Foster mother, Cozette, stated she had talked with her case manager about using a baby monitoring for one of the children in her care due to his seizure disorder. At the inspection of the foster home one of the receivers for the baby monitor was unplugged and under a kitchen cabinet. Cozette stated she had not used the baby monitor on the night that the child had a seizure.

child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, family, foster care, government, system failure
Texas foster care system struggling

Some, but not enough, experience the challenges and joys of opening homes and hearts.


AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Monday, May 07, 2007Yolanda and Michael Gobert tell friends, business associates and fellow members of Little Zion Baptist Church about something they’ve been doing for four years, something they think others should consider: foster parenting.

It’s not an easy sell, and there have been no takers. But, Yolanda Gobert said, “we’re planting that seed.”

Deborah Cannon/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Michael and Yolanda Gobert, center, initially wanted to foster a baby but have discovered the joys of helping teenagers, and now they talk up the foster program every chance they get. Justin, 16, wants to be a politician; Amber, 15, has set her sights on nursing.

The Goberts, who have two teenage foster children, know that there aren’t nearly enough foster parents in Texas. In fact, it’s gotten to the point that some of the children the state has removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect are sleeping in state offices and sometimes hotels because there is nowhere else for them to go.

The Goberts have heard the reasons people say no. People are scared of what an abused or neglected child might be like. They’ve heard the horror stories of children dying in foster homes in Texas. They don’t like the idea of Child Protective Services workers poking around their homes.

And they’re turned off by all the regulations — including a batch added this year.

“A lot of people are saying, ‘Gee, I don’t know if I want to go through that,’ ” said Roy Block of San Antonio, president of the Texas Foster Family Association.

Perhaps worst of all is the risk foster parents take when they open their hearts to a child whose legal guardian is the State of Texas.

“You always, constantly live with the fear that if you say something wrong or do something wrong with the children, they have the right to step in and take the children from you, and you have nothing to say or do about it,” Michael Gobert said.

Still, he urges people to do it.

“If you want to make an impact on society, on the world, I don’t see a better place than through foster care,” he said.

Running scared

In January, the state put in place a series of new rules, the first major overhaul of minimum standards in several years.

No smoking in foster homes. No firearms in certain foster homes (the Legislature is considering reversing that one). Must have a fence or a wall at least 4 feet high around an in-ground swimming pool area.

There are 474 rules for foster homes and the agencies that place children in the homes. They range from how often bed linens must be changed (at least once a week) to whether trampolines may be used as play equipment (no) to how a child may be disciplined.

Officials say the rules are for children’s safety. And state lawmakers are moving to increase oversight of the foster care system in the wake of the deaths of three children in foster homes in North Texas. The Senate passed a bill — expected to come up soon in a House hearing — that would require annual, unannounced inspections of foster homes.

“The state’s running a little scared,” Block said of the January rules. “I’m all for heading these things off so we never have a child injured. But we need homes; we need good homes; we need to not chase away our current homes by making things more cumbersome for them.”

The changes come at a time when there are about 20,000 children in foster care, an increase of about 45 percent since 2001. That’s due to general population growth as well as a recent infusion of money into improving abuse and neglect investigations, which has led to more children being removed from their homes.

The number of foster homes has increased 26 percent in that same period.

“I don’t think you raise treatment standards in the midst of a capacity crisis,” said Scott McCown, executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, which is an advocate for low- and middle-income Texans. “I think the rules that went into effect in January did just that.”

But state officials say there’s always a shortage of foster parents.

“This is not a new development,” said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, which oversees CPS.

This part is new: In April, 92 children spent at least one night in a state office. That’s up from 32 in January, the first month the state started documenting the practice.

It has put rules into place governing the practice, including a requirement that at least two adults supervise them. Last week, CPS found a placement for a teenager who’d been staying in a state office in Round Rock for seven days.

On Tuesday, a state worker sent an e-mail with the subject line “Critical Help Needed for CPS Children.” She was trying to get the word out to civic and church groups that CPS needed community assistance feeding seven children staying in an office in Fort Worth.

“Finding placement for children who have been removed from their home due to abuse and/or neglect has become quite a challenge for our agency,” she wrote. “You may have heard that we have children sleeping in offices due to a delay or inability in locating placement for them. This can be very uncomfortable (for) the children we serve.”

Crimmins said it’s not just a lack of capacity that’s leading to children sleeping in offices. Frequently, he said, providers refuse to accept children with certain emotional or physical needs, even if the provider is licensed to take a child with those needs.

Over time, the number of foster children with special needs has increased, McCown said.

“Whether kids are more troubled or whether we do more about it is kind of irrelevant for the parent,” McCown said. “You’re still expecting them to do a more complex job.”

More help?

The Goberts decided to become foster parents nearly a decade ago. They wanted to be matched with a baby. But they changed their minds after learning at an informational meeting that they’d more likely be matched with an older child.

A few years later, they came around to the idea of older children. The day after they became certified, Amber moved in. Now 15, Amber is an aspiring nurse who spends a lot of time on MySpace.com. Later came Justin, 16, a 400-meter sprinter who’d like to be a politician.

Foster care is, by definition, a temporary arrangement. It lasts only until the children can be safely returned to their homes or adopted.

It wasn’t until the late 1990s that Texas foster parents were actively encouraged to adopt their foster children, but the change reduced the number of foster parents in the system. Once people adopted, they tended to stop being foster parents.

Another factor affecting the number of foster parents, McCown said, is the reimbursements foster parents receive: $20 to $80 a day, depending on the child’s needs. That’s not enough to cover the cost of raising a child, he said.

The Legislature is considering increasing those rates.

When asked what Texas is doing to recruit foster families, Crimmins pointed out that the state handles placements of just 20 percent of foster children. The rest are placed by private agencies overseen by the state. One private agency in Austin, the Casey Family Programs Austin Field Office, has several recruiting events scheduled in May, which is National Foster Care Month. They set up booths at community fairs. They go on radio shows.

Ann Stanley, director of the Casey field office, said some of the best recruiters are foster families such as the Goberts.

“They don’t sugarcoat it,” she said of experienced families. “They tell you, ‘This is when it’s hard. These are the joys.’

“We tell our foster parents this: ‘Your life becomes an open book. You are going to get questions that are really personal.’ ”

Under a microscope

When a CPS caseworker goes into a home of a potential foster family, he or she may ask about everything from the applicants’ work history to their sexual relationships.

Once approved, the foster home must get fire and health inspections. And CPS workers periodically inspect the homes.

Round Rock foster parent Kelvin Austin said he doesn’t mind the oversight.

“You get used to it,” he said.

But some say the inspections go too far.

Lori Hendley, a foster mother in McKinney, said her placement agency warned families that one home in its network was reported for having expired horseradish in the refrigerator, which could be a violation of standards for food quality and storage.

“You’re really under a microscope,” Hendley said. “You basically open up your home to Big Brother.”

Hendley said she’s seen the worst side of the CPS system. In 2004, she and her husband became foster parents for a baby boy they planned to adopt. But the CPS caseworker decided to place the boy with a friend of the child’s birth mother, she said.

“They pulled him out of our home, and they said, ‘That’s the last you’ll ever know about this child, ever,’ ” she said.

She said friends of hers who were considering being foster parents changed their minds after hearing about the Hendleys’ experience.

But the Hendleys didn’t give up. They now have a 3-year-old foster son. They are adopting him and expect the process to be complete this month.

“We hung in,” Hendley said as the boy chattered in the background, “and the reward is in my lap.”

cmaclaggan@statesman.com; 445-3548

child custody, child death, child welfare reform, foster care abuse, cps, domestic violence, education, el dorado, Eldorado, family, foster care, General, government, law, legal, religion, system failure
FLDS parents complain of vague custody plans
0520 Polygamist Retreat_BW
Members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints make their way towards the Tom Green County Courthouse in San Angelo, Texas for the first round of hearings regarding the family plans on Monday, May 19, 2008. (AP Photo/San Angelo Standard-Times, Brian Connelly)
Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Michelle Roberts – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Children from a polygamist sect were the only subjects on the docket Monday at a west Texas courthouse where five judges began handling hundreds of hearings that attorneys for the children’s parents decried for their cookie-cutter approach.

State child welfare officials gave each of the more than 460 children in state custody the same template plan for parents to follow, and judges made few changes. But parents remained without answers to important questions, including whether a requirement that the children live in a “safe” environment means they can’t return to the Yearning For Zion Ranch.

Donna Guion, an attorney for the mother of a 6-year-old son of the sect’s jailed prophet, Warren Jeffs, complained the plans were so vague they would be impossible to satisfy and were contingent on psychological evaluations likely to take weeks more to complete.

“This plan is so vague and so broad that my client has no idea what she can do now,” Guion said of the boy’s mother.

Dozens of mothers in prairie dresses and fathers in button-down shirts, flanked by pro bono lawyers from the state’s most prestigious firms as well as Legal Aid, arrived at the Tom Green County courthouse hoping to learn how to regain custody of their children.

“What the parents are trying to find out here is what they need to do to get their children back, and there’s no clear answer to that,” said Rod Parker, spokesman for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which runs the ranch in Eldorado.

The FLDS parents say they are being persecuted for their religion, which includes beliefs that polygamy brings glorification in heaven.

In one hearing, attorneys complained that the Book of Mormon was confiscated from some of the children at a foster facility.

“If they can openly admit they can take away the Book of Mormon from us today, it’ll be the Bible tomorrow, and it’s outrageous,” said FLDS elder Willie Jessop.

State Child Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said officials have not been able to confirm whether the members’ holy text was taken from them, but they have removed photos, sermons and books of Jeffs, who is a convicted sex offender.

The hearings in San Angelo, 40 miles north of the ranch, are scheduled to run for the next three weeks, and none of the judges would humor any discussion about whether the initial grounds for removing the children in a raid of the ranch last month were valid. It probably will be months before the cases are reviewed again in court.

The state also acknowledged Monday that two more sect members they listed as minors are actually adults. The state has made that mistake at least four times; child welfare officials have complained that church members have not cooperated with their efforts to determine ages and family relationships.

Texas child welfare authorities argued that all the children, ranging from newborns to teenagers, should be removed from the ranch because the sect pushes underage girls into marriage and sex and encourages boys to become future perpetrators.

Church members insist there was no abuse. They say the one-size-fits-all action plan devised by CPS doesn’t take into account specific marriage arrangements or living circumstances.

Some members of the renegade Mormon sect lived in a communal setting in large log houses they built themselves. Others lived as traditional nuclear families in their own housing on the ranch.

CPS spokeswoman Shari Pulliam said the plans look similar now but will be customized as officials get more information.

“It’s logical they all look the same. All the children were removed from the same address at the same time for the same reason,” she said. But “it’s an evolving plan.”

All the plans call for parenting classes, vocational training for the parents and require the parents to prove they can support their children. They also call for safe living environments, though they offer no specifics.

CPS supervisor Karrie Emerson said the parenting classes will be tailored to explain Texas laws regarding underage sex. “The goal isn’t to change any of their religious beliefs per se but just to educate them what might be a problem under Texas law,” she said.

CPS has said that reunification of the families by next April is the goal.

Jessop, however, said the state has made it impossible for parents comply with vague plans and to visit their children, many of whom are scattered to facilities up to 650 miles apart.

“Every parent is accused of being bad, and there’s no cure,” Jessop said.

The unwieldy custody case has been unusual from the beginning. All the children of the ranch were treated as if they belonged to a single household, so the chaotic initial hearing involved hundreds of attorneys for children and parents and broad allegations from the department about the risk of abuse.

So far, 168 mothers and 69 fathers have been identified in court documents; more than 100 other children had unknown parents as the hearings got under way. DNA samples have been taken, but the first results are at least two weeks away.

The children were removed from the ranch during an April 3 raid that began after someone called a domestic abuse hot line claiming to be a pregnant 16-year-old abused by a much older husband. The girl has never been found and authorities are investigating whether the calls were a hoax.

The FLDS is a renegade breakaway of the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.

Sect leader Jeffs, who is revered as a prophet, has been sentenced to prison in Utah for being an accomplice to rape in arranging a marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin. He is awaiting trial in Arizona, where he is charged as an accomplice with four counts each of incest and sexual conduct.

Court documents listed 10 children of Jeffs living at the ranch. If DNA tests confirm that any of the children are his, the children will be allowed to keep a photo, said Meisner, the CPS spokeswoman.