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News- Even child custody messes are bigger in Texas

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

(photo- Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)

Not sure how many adoption related blogs are touching on the mess in Texas at the moment, but I thought I’d at least pull some of the bones out of the steaming piles of coverage for contemplation-

Down in this CNN piece, Photos show police well-equipped for polygamist raid from last Wed. are several details-

“More than 400 children — all of whom lived in the large, dormitory-style log homes — were seized in the raid on suspicion they were being sexually and physically abused. They are being held in the San Angelo Coliseum and are awaiting a massive court hearing Thursday that will begin to determine their fate.

FLDS members carefully documented the raid in notes, video and still pictures of police and child protection workers talking with families, but much of that material was seized when police executed one of two search warrants on the ranch, Parker said.

“We’ve known from a little bit of experience to document it and prepare to have that presented in court or wherever it’s to our benefit,” said the FLDS member who declined to give his name. Law enforcement in Arizona and Utah raided FLDS sites in 1935, 1944 and 1953.

The 416 children held by Texas authorities had been accompanied by 139 women until Monday, when officials ordered all the women away except for those whose children are under 5.”

“Meisner said child welfare officials still can’t find birth certificates for many of the children, making parentage and age determinations impossible. She said many of the children don’t know who their parents are and many have the same last name but may or may not be related.

“It’s a difficult process,” she said.”

And this AP piece in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun- Polygamist sect hearing in Texas descends into farce

“The case — clearly one of the biggest, most convoluted child-custody hearings in U.S. history — presented an extraordinary spectacle: big-city lawyers in suits and mothers in 19th-century, pioneer-style dresses, all packed into a courtroom and a nearby auditorium connected by video. “

“Walther refused to put medical records and other evidence in electronic form, which could be e-mailed among the lawyers, because it contained personal information. A courier had to run from the courthouse to the auditorium delivering one document at a time.”

“State officials asked the judge for permission to conduct genetic testing on the children and adults because of difficulty sorting out the sect’s tangled family relationships and matching youngsters with their parents. The judge did not immediately rule.”

“The judge must weigh the allegations of abuse and also decide whether it is in the children’s best interest to be placed into mainstream society after they have been told all their lives that the outside world is hostile and immoral.

If the judge gives the state permanent custody of the children, the Texas child services agency will face the enormous task of finding suitable homes. It will also have to decipher brother-sister relationships so that it can try to preserve them.”

For the moment, I’m haven’t much to say, other than to make brief mention of my own ever so brief visit to another of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints’ (FLDS) other prime locations, Colorado City, AZ (and Hildale UT). The geographic isolation of that portion of northern AZ, (just south of Utah) the north rim of the Grand Canyon area makes for one hell of a study.

Most Bastards aren’t particularly up on Mormon history and politics, particularly FLDS history, but there’s a fair amount of interest in it, particularly in relation to the foster care and adoption.

Back in 2006, the CBC’s programme “The Fifth Estate” did a piece on the FLDS outpost of Bountiful, BC. I found it a useful ‘backgrounder’.

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