Child Abuse in the Name of Protecting Children:

Two snippets from the FLDS "child protection" case in Texas, in which 437 children have been forcibly removed from parental care while the state investigations allegations that adolescent girls were sexually abused by being coerced or "brainwashed" into "marriages" (religiously but not legally recognized) with much older men. (The raid was apparently prompted by a bogus call to CPS): (1) "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. Boys 8 and older are going to Cal Farley's Boys Ranch northwest of Amarillo, where 27 adolescent boys already have been staying." (2)

The Texas judge overseeing the polygamous FLDS sect's case refused Monday to make any ruling that would allow breast-feeding mothers to remain with their children in state custody....Attorneys for the women asked the judge to consider letting nursing mothers remain with their children after negotiations with CPS on the issue stalled. They asked the judge to let the mothers stay until DNA results are in, likely to take up to 40 days. Walther acknowledged the nutritional and bonding benefits of breast-feeding. "But every day in this country, we have mothers who go back to work after six weeks of maternity leave," she said. "The court has made a determination that the environment those children were in was not safe," said Walther, adding that there is a shortage of suitable placements for infants in Texas.

Yep, having your mom go to work 8 hours a day is just like having no maternal contact at all and being placed in a foster home.

It's time for a nationally prominent civil liberties attorney to get involved.

UPDATE: And, courtesy of a VC commenter, a stinging op-ed from the Dallas Morning News:

Judge Barbara Walther, who is overseeing the YFZ Ranch case, yesterday declared: "The court has ruled the conditions those children were in were not safe for the children. I did not make the facts that got this case into the courts."

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, rather than an academic who'd studied them professionally for 18 years.

You've ruled the existence of five girls between 16 and 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.