So there were no "lost boys" associated with the YFZ polygamist ranch, according to court testimony, but CPS lost some of them after they were taken away.
This ridiculous news raises several questions: First, would it be accurate to assume that these 21 children have not received their mandatory 14 day hearing which the other 416 got (in minimalist, perfunctory fashion) last week? Since the judge refused to give individual hearings and grouped everyone together, maybe she'll say it won't matter. But CPS is now holding more kids than the court gave it permission to seize last week.
Second was enough food, clothing, medical supplies and other necessities being delivered if you didn't know how many kids you'd taken?
Obviously, the failure to know how many kids are in your custody raises a general competency issue; CPS increasingly appears simply not to know what it's doing. The Local Crank, a Texas family lawyer, opined in the comments to a Mormon lawyer's blog that normally:
CPS would’ve removed the alleged perpetrators (the husbands) and left the women and children in place to receive services. For another, if CPS does a removal, they NEVER allow a parent to just “ride along” since, by definition, if a parent is safe to be around a child, there’s no need for removal in the first place.From that account and other conversations, I believe the Judge, CPS and law enforcement bungled this from the start. Now, as commenters have been lamenting, they're even removing infants from their adult mothers who are still breast-feeding, even though no one believes children that young were in danger. Reports the San Angelo paper:
Excuse me, Judge? You issued a sweeping, house to house search warrant based on a highly questionable anonymous call that turned out to be phony. You refused to allow individual hearings for children, grouping them together like cattle. You accepted the testimony of an expert on "cults" who only learned about FLDS from media accounts over an academic who'd studied them professionally for 18 years. You've ruled the existence of five girls between 16-19 who were pregnant or had children was evidence of systematic abuse, even though in Texas 16 year olds can marry with parental consent. You've ruled young toddlers are in "immediate" danger because of their parents' beliefs or what might happen 15 years from now, not because anyone abuses them.
While acknowledging that infants are best served by receiving breast milk from their mothers, Walther highlighted CPS' position that the mothers had placed their children at risk for abuse in the FLDS setting.
"The court has ruled the conditions those children were in were not safe for the children," she said. "I did not make the facts that got this case into the courts."
If you ask me, Judge Walther, I'd say you've done as much to "make the facts" in this case as anybody. I think you oughtta just own it, but I suspect we'll see a lot more buck passing before this fiasco is done.
BLOGVERSATION: More good stuff from Messenger and Advocate, and The Common Room. Kuff discusses "The Polygamist PR Campaign," pointing out a new site sponsored by FLDS aptly named "CaptiveFLDSChildren.org." Meanwhile, Feminist Mormon Housewives has a poll up asking what should happen with FLDS kids. Go offer your opinion.
And from the MSM: The Dallas News editorializes that the judge "was right to rule that, as difficult as it may be for the state of Texas and these families, that the children must remain in the state's care for now." From the Houston Chronicle, "Polygamist sect unleashes PR campaign." And Jim Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project had this column in the El Paso Times yesterday which included the observation, "It is becoming increasing apparent that either officials were duped into obtaining a false warrant or obtained a warrant for which they knew there was no reasonable factual basis."