Chaotic custody hearings for the children removed from a polygamist compound began yesterday and will continue for three weeks. Texas' Child Protective Services (CPS) has come up with a vague plan for what to do with the 460 children removed from the polygamous compound: return as many children to the FLDS parents as possible.
If all the children were to remain in the most basic level of foster care next year, it would cost the state $21 million. While the details are still being worked out, CPS has articulated some of the conditions for custody. To see what they are,
Parents who want their children to return will have to: live independently and off the compound, find a job, and attend counseling and parent classes. A lawyer for one of the eight-year-old girls told NPR that the state wants the parents to understand the "evils of polygamy."
Currently, polygamous parents are traveling across vast Texas to take advantage of the hour visitation time granted for each child each week. Do you think they will be wiling to meet the state's custody preconditions? Would it be better to try to place as many children as possible with relatives outside of the FLDS?
Does the framework, which seems to dictate a lifestyle that does not include communal living, offend your notion of individual freedom? What about freedom of religion or a parent's right to raise their children? Have the parents sacrificed these rights by subjecting their children to crimes like abuse and rape?