Constitutional Law

More than 400 FLDS Kids to Begin Returning Home on Monday

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Updated: After a Texas Supreme Court ruling yesterday that more than 460 children were illegally removed from their parents’ custody at a ranch run by a religious sect that advocates polygamy, they will reportedly begin returning home on Monday.

The return plan was agreed to by Texas Child Protective Services and lawyers for some of the children from the Yearning for Zion ranch run by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Houston Chronicle reported. “It is not clear why some and not all of the children will be returned,” the newspaper says.

As discussed in an earlier posts, the supreme court decision does not conclude the case, which has been described as the largest child custody battle in the history of this country. It also expressly recognizes that the state must still actively monitor the welfare of the children. However, it did say that government officials overstepped by, essentially, inferring abuse based on parents’ claimed religious beliefs rather than establishing it with specific evidence.

Meanwhile, a separate criminal investigation is being pursued by the Texas attorney general’s office concerning the sect’s jailed leader, Warren Jeffs, who is suspected of having entered into underage “marriages” with four girls aged 12 to 15. Three allegedly took place at the YFZ ranch.

Additional coverage:

Salt Lake Tribune: “FLDS children could be returned to parents starting Monday”

Star-Telegram: “For CPS, there’s still wiggle room in polygamist sect case” “New Texas Rules for FLDS Moms May Distance Them from Their Faith”

Updated at 7:15 p.m., central time, to include link to related post.

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