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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Accommodations and Education For The FLDS Children- Women and Children Being Moved

With the DNA tests being conducted, CPS finding placement for 437 children removed from the FLDS compound in Eldorado and news of Canadian children now in Texas state custody, questions of education for those children are now being answered.
An earlier Wake Up America piece shows new information being reported about Canadian children that were residing at the Yearning for Zion Ranch as well as an update on the DNA testing and the state having established that they had more underage mothers than originally thought.

Many issues have had to be dealt with at once and one of which that hasn't been addressed as of yet, is the education of the 437 children that the state of Texas is now responsible for providing.

Officials from the Alvin Independent School District (ISD) are meeting with Texas Education Agency officials to discuss the possibility as well as the difficulties of enrolling the children in school.

This difficulty is being compounded by a lack of documentation for the children that is usually needed to enroll a child in school, from Social Security cards, immunization records, educational record and even birth certificates.

According to Education Week (subscription needed for full article), days after the children were taken into custody after Child Protective Services determined they were in imminent risk of abuse if they were allowed to stay on the FLDS compound, San Angelo Independent School District organized the delivery of four truckloads of school supplies and textbooks to shelters where the children were staying in San Angelo.

This week teachers from the district began teaching art, math, and physical education.

After Judge Barbara Walther ruled that the children would be kept in state custody for 60 days, arrangements started being made to place the children into shelters and foster care, which led those shelters to contact the Education officials to discuss having the children enrolled for school.

One such example is Jim H. Green Kidz Harbor shelter in Liverpool, which is located on a six-acre tract on the banks of Chocolate Bayou, who was notified that their services might be need in housing approximately 40 of the children in Texas state care, that contacted the school district officials to discuss enrollment because children at that shelter must be enrolled in school.

Alvin ISD spokeswoman, Shirley Brothers, said, "We have been informed there is a possibility youngsters from West Texas would be placed at a facility in Brazoria County", she goes on to say, "We have asked the Texas Education Agency for direction."

She said the district plans to test and assess the educational needs of each of the new arrivals and place them in the school programs they need.

The same process was used for about 150 students who arrived in the district after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Brothers said.

The Texas CPS has said that the majority of the children from the sect will not go into traditional foster care homes, but instead will be placed in larger residential facilities to enable CPS to keep larger groups of the children together whenever possible.

Greg Cunningham, spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, says that since some of the children have up to 20 siblings, "They won't be going to a two-bedroom home with a mom and a dad. We're trying to keep them in larger groups."

In the same article quoted above, there are issues of Texas states policy and lack of any oversight into private schools or home schooled children with a regents' professor at the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University, David C. Berliner, criticizing the state of Texas for such a hands-off policy, by saying, "Walking away from such responsibility is cowardly. Texans should be ashamed of their lack of oversight."

That point is countered by David Bradley, who is a State Board of Education member, who counters with, "They didn't go in there and raid the place because the kids weren't getting an education."

Kidz Harbor, in preparation for the possibility that it may receive at least 40 children, asked area businesses Monday for donations such as towels, bedding, furniture and toiletries.

In the meantime, there is activity outside and within the coliseum where the children are being housed while DNA testing is being done, where buses were sighted on the San Angelo Coliseum grounds, being loaded with bottled water, food, women and children and the fairgrounds are on "lock-down" with no one being allowed to enter except emergency personnel.

Texas Child Protective Services have refused to provide details on where they are moving the women and children.

Greg Cunningham, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said that more information would be released later today, saying only, "We are not discussing the topic of moving children."

The last news brief on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' website was yesterday where they did say that once DNA testing was complete and the court finalizes the order, the children's placement will be handled, and that the will keep teenage girls and their children together, and sibling groups together as much as possible.

They also state that once, "in foster care, DFPS will begin evaluating the educational, healthcare and counseling needs of each child and create a service plan for each child."

[Update] Judge Walther did sign the finalized order for children to start being placed into their temporary foster homes, and those buses at the coliseum were taking them there, until individual custody hearings can be held.

Updates will be added as more information comes out.

More FLDS Children In Texas State Care Than Thought, Some Canadian Children
As DNA Testing Begins For FLDS Members, Questions of Lineage, Disease, and Law Arise
Polygamist Group, FLDS Children To Be Placed In Foster Homes This Week
Judge Orders Polygamist, FLDS Children To Stay in Texas State Custody
Update On The FLDS Custody Hearing Regarding the Children of the YFZ Ranch- Day Two Begins--All Day Updates
Custody Hearing for the Children of the Polygamist FLDS Sect Starts
The Forgotten Children of the FLDS Polygamist Group, The Lost Boys
The Children From the Polygamist YFZ Ranch
Update on Polygamist Compound Raid-Documents Unsealed And Beds In The Temple
Documents Detail Abuse at YFZ Ranch
Now 400 Children In Custody from Polygamist Compound- Updated, Second Person Arrested
Standoff at Polygamist Compound-Updated
Children Removed from Warren Jeff's Polygamist Retreat in Texas
Polygamist Sect Leader Warren Jeffs Found Guilty In Utah