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Kitchen Sink

So Many of Us Are Lucky

April 24th, 2008

I wish there were a better solution than to split up all these children and scatter them throughout Texas.

 

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

“The hundreds of children from a polygamist compound taken into state custody are on their way to group homes, shelters and residences, but experts and lawyers fear their transition may be much harder than it is for other foster children.”

I know that the allegations of what happened to these kids at the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Ranch is awful, but right now, they are allegations, and from many news reports, it sounds as if the children and their mothers are suffering terribly in the aftermath. Meanwhile, where’s the due process?

“Buses have already shipped 138 children to group homes or boys’ and girls’ ranches, but most of the remaining children will be separated from their mothers for the first time when they are sent out of San Angelo in the coming days.”

“Children under 12 months will be placed in foster homes with siblings who are under 5, she said, and every attempt will be made to place [other] siblings together.”

When I read stories like these, I wonder: If the purpose is to remove these children from a negative environment, why place them in a similarly upsetting situation? From many accounts, Texas’ (like many states) foster care system is hurting and surely not all these homes can be personally evaluated for safety, or the provision of a good upbringing. Are these children being removed from one allegedly abusive situation only to be placed in another?

 

From a 2006 Texas Comptroller statement:

“Data shows that while the number of foster children in our state’s care increased 24 percent from 26,133 in Fiscal 2003 to 32,474 in Fiscal 2005, the number of deaths increased 60 percent.”

“If you compare the number of deaths of children in our state’s population to the number of deaths in our state’s foster care system, a child is four times more likely to die in our state’s foster care system.”

“Based on Fiscal 2004 data provided by the Health and Human Services Commission, about 100 children received treatment for poisoning from medications; 63 foster children received medical treatment for rape that occurred while in the foster care system; and 142 children gave birth while in the state foster care system.”

Do the judges associated with this case feel satisfied? As if maybe their part in this is done? Have any of the lawyers, CPS employees, and so on thought through this solution to its end? The response seems so impersonal: allegations of abuse? remove kids from parents. separate siblings. truck all to different parts of the state.

 

I’m absolutely all for taking children out of an abusive environment. But, how about continuing responsibility from the people who put these kids in the foster care system? Who’s going to ensure they’re not being abused in that new environment? Who’s going to work to keep siblings together? Who’s going to pay follow-up visits to these group and foster homes and keep tabs on the new caregivers? Or, is it just enough to ship these kids somewhere else and hope for the best?

 

This is when I wish I had a million-sq.-ft. home, staffed with loving caregivers, to house these children until something is proved one way or the other in this case.

 

Something in the system is broken. When are we going to put as much energy into fixing it as we do in speaking out against it (myself included)?

 

What do you think should happen?

 

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On April 24th, 2008, Clink said:

I think more then one thing in the system is broken. I truly hope that due to the massive scale of this situation that great care will be taken to repair it.

On April 24th, 2008, matteroffactmommy said:

i am still obsessed with this story. those women in their dresses and the hair. omg the hair.

what saddens me the 2nd most is that these women are so sheltered. they know nothing other than the lives that they have lived on “the compound.” and the media keeps showing them saying stuff like, “we are free to go at anytime.” BULLSHIT! one of the men (probably a BROTHER) told them to say that to the media.

okay, so the single most disturbing thing is the fact that these women are having their babies taken away from them. i don’t know how to fix it and it is disgusting. so i’m just going to comment on how disgusting it is… and go back to those dresses and that hair… and so weird that my obsession is with the women and not the children. since i’m a mom and all.

omg, someone tell me to stfu.

On April 24th, 2008, Cheri said:

There are so many things wrong with this picture — on all sides.

But couldn’t the children be kept with their mothers, at least, until “things” are sorted out? Of course they could.

On April 24th, 2008, Jenn @ Juggling Life said:

I’m glad I don’t have to decide.

Seeing the women on t.v.–speaking as if they’ve been lobotomized–makes me think that something is terribly wrong and that this cycle has to be broken someway.

No doubt this is going to be a situation where everyone loses–but I think it might have already been that type of situation.

On April 24th, 2008, Amanda said:

Yesterday I read a blog post about how the babies that are being breastfed can’t stay with their mothers. That stinks! I couldn’t imagine that.

On April 24th, 2008, Amanda said:

Actually, I just read, “Along with the children that arrived in the San Antonio area Thursday, News 4 was told 17 nursing moms and their infants also showed up at a local shelter.” Looks like the nursing moms are with their little ones.

I am trying to find out if any of the shelters need donations.

On April 24th, 2008, Absolutely Bananas said:

This situation is so horrible… I have no idea what the right answer is. I suspect, however, that it is NOT to put the poor children in foster care.

On April 24th, 2008, Eden said:

My feeling is summed up by this quote:

“No matter how badly a child is abused they always want to be with their parent. Unfortunately that is not always in their best interest,” said Darrell Azar, a Child Protective Services spokesman.

On April 24th, 2008, Mommyrella said:

Oh gosh. This is such a sad thing. My hippie mom lives smack dab in the middle of polyg country, just a few miles from Cedar City. The polygs, as they are called, are quiet, meek and hard working. The kids are exceptionally well-behaved. Her husband works with a lot of polyg families. Plus, my mom has hired some families to do work on her place, and the kids followed her around all day. They were healthy, kind, curious, and funny. Their fathers were soft spoken, stern, and gentle. It’s a sad situation, because these people are lost, but are not monsters. It kills me to think of all the children whose parents are on drugs, are sexually abusive, physically abusive and the system doesn’t even protect them. Then, you get these kids whose lives are so screwed up in a different way, yet their childhoods are sheltered and protected. (Unless, of course, you are a little 13 year-old girl. Yuck.) My point is, the foster system is completely, totally horrible and abusive as well. Then, you get these kids who have had loving, sheltered care their whole lives and throw them in the pit. It’s horrible and I doubt that the kids will ever be the same. It will make them want to RUN back to polyg society, rather than show them the possibility of freedom and security outside of their cult.

On April 24th, 2008, daytrippingmom said:

This story breaks my heart. I think that unltil all of this is figured out the children need to be with their mothers. I don’t think that the way they were living in the compound was ideal but neither is the being placed in our broken foster care system.

By the way I love your site. Thanks for commenting on my website. I’ve been meaning to comment for a while but I’ve always been a bit comment shy.

On April 24th, 2008, Tootsie Farklepants said:

It’s infuriating is what it is. That the government can just come and take your children away from you because you live a “weird” lifestyle. I thought I lived in a country where you were allowed to be different. If the allegations are that the MEN are abusing the children, then the children should be kept with their mothers and the men sent elsewhere until it is sorted out.

On April 25th, 2008, San Diego Momma said:

Such great comments. And you all put your input in words way “eloquenter” than I. I do hope this situation has a happy ending.

On April 25th, 2008, kendra said:

I don’t have a solution, but the system always fails us when it comes to kids. Whether it is bio parents’ rights, Children and Youth Services losing kids, abuse cases. Worst thing in Texas, the younger children probably will more traumatized by putting them in various homes. Sometimes these homes are less than best.

On April 25th, 2008, Deborah said:

I feel sadness and frustration for poor innocent children continuing to be victimized, first by the cult and then by the system. However, when I hear about little babies being “waterboarded” by their fathers (while the mothers stand meekly by and allow it) to condition them to fear and obey, I have to believe that anything, almost absolutely anything is better than allowing this monstrous practice to continue. No wonder the children are meek and well behaved. They’ve lost all self-determination, all freedom of choice about their lives and their futures. Those who don’t fully comply are tossed out like garbage as young teens, to roam the streets without any resources and these do turn to drugs and prostitution if they aren’t saved by an organization or individual. And the cult stands by and lets it happen.

Have I used up my word count?! I can’t help going on about this. It doesn’t just make me sad. It makes me so incredibly angry at these men who are as bad as the Taliban. My personal opinion is that the temporary disruption, inconvenience and pain is worth saving these children. Many of the women are already lost; they were once the children who were conditioned to obey and submit. Hopefully, for some of them it isn’t too late. But we have to save the children. They are the next generation.

On April 27th, 2008, Restless Housewife said:

I COMPLETELY agree with you. I was just telling my husband how it’s like going into a tribe or even into a family of animals we know nothing about, ignorantly disrupting their lives on a terribly deep level, while completely sabatoging any efforts of “saving” the children, ripping them out of their comfort zones. I believe their are other abusive environments that need to be addressed before prematurely performing such a drastic intervention.

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