Monday, June 2, 2008

Lest we Forget

Ruth Edna Fischer was first allowed to see her 2-year-old daughter, from whom she had been separated after the raid on their polygamist ranch in Texas, at the child’s hospital room. The child had been taken there because of severe dehydration and malnutrition, Ms. Fischer said.

“Hannah looked like a little orphan sitting on the couch,” Ms. Fischer said. “Her hair was stringy and she was in a diaper, a pair of dirty socks and a hospital gown.”

The second visit two weeks later at a state office in Angleton, Tex., was worse. The girl would not even meet her mother’s gaze. “It was like she hardly remembered me,” said Ms. Fischer, who has four children in state custody.

Many child-welfare experts across the nation, who have as a group watched the high-profile Texas case closely, say the raid on the polygamist ranch diverged sharply from the recommended practices both in Texas and elsewhere in the country.

They say a growing body of research supports the contention of the mothers that forceful removal can have both significant short-term and long-lasting harm, particularly for younger children. Some studies have found that the wide-ranging effects include anxiety, extreme distrust of strangers and, in the future, higher rates of juvenile incarceration.

Through their lawyers and in personal interviews, the mothers have been spilling tales of toddlers who have forgotten toilet training and 3-year-olds who cling to them frantically during visits.

“They made no effort to keep the children there at the ranch,” said Johana Scot, executive director of the Parent Guidance Center in Austin, which helps advocate for the rights of parents who have had their children taken into foster care.

“And even worse, they did not give the families individual hearings, which they are also required to do by the code,” Ms. Scot said. “They’ve really botched this.”

“Breaking all of the ties to several parental figures and siblings, and taking them to a remote and unfamiliar place raises many red flags about trauma and its effect on children,” Mr. Cohen said

Experts say younger children, who often do not have a sense of the passage of time, can be particularly hard hit by such separations. About 100 of the children removed from the sect were 2 years old or younger.

Shelly Greco, a court-appointed lawyer for a 14-month-old girl removed from the ranch, says the child had been up crying uncontrollably many nights because she was so abruptly weaned.

But Lori Jessop, one of a few mothers from the ranch who were reunited with their children in a court-brokered agreement last Friday, said she had already seen the impact of this situation. Ms. Jessop said her three children were suffering from night terrors and a fear of strangers, among other problems.

She said that when her 4-year-old daughter recently saw a picture of a bus, like the one used to transport the children when they were in foster care, she started to cry.

“It’s affected her a lot,” Ms. Jessop said. “Everybody that she sees, especially adult men, she calls them policemen.”

-From the New York Times


Sandy & Family said...

We are so sorry for what your little ones are going through. We are praying that they will heal from all of this one day. Just know our prayers are remaining with all of you even though the children are back.

Anonymous said...

As a mother of two young children, this breaks my heart.

Autor Intelectual said...

We all knew this was going to happen. CPS and Texas Law should know better.
What where they pointing at? What do they want?
You should see the news here in Monterrey Mexico, they are saying "They still have not discovered who made the call".
I just dont understand this world!!!
I hope and pray that the little ones can recover, and their mothers too, this has made a big hole in their hearts.

Amy Jane said...

When my little boy was just a nursling, CPS stripped him from me just before his birthday, was held for 90 days is CPS custody and now that he is 10 years old, this summer, he finally can look at me and hug me and be a little boy- but it has taken all these years! of continued intense tenderness, just like when he was a tiny newborn, from me towards him, to bring "child-like-trust" back into him [towards me]. now that is one hard thing to get back once it is shattered! Finally, he tells me of the things they said to him [I alone mother him] - he was not yet a talker back then and they said to the judge that he said this or he said that- I said I'd like to hear him say anything because he had never before spoke! they lie so bad it is unbelieveable! they told my little one that they were giving him a daddy to get him to go with them! Lies- CPS are full of lies. and I am not FLDS, and there was no abuse in our very loving home- the abuse was CPS taking a nursling away from his lactating mother. CPS are evil to their very core. I knew that there were others who were quite jealous of our "perfection" - perhaps this is what those CPS wanted to destroy?... The story of Job rings clear, does it not? God is faithful; He is with us through the river of fire/valley of the shadow of death.

Amy Jane said...

The children will not heal soon, nor quickly- they have been damaged! They have been lied to because that is what CPS does to those 'in custody'. They all- the mothers, fathers, children- all need our constant prayers for many years to come! Keep your "NO TRESPASSING" signs up and give your emphatic "NO!" to those wanting to ask questions. Without a search without issued by a judge one is not obligated to respond to questions and NO JUDGE is likely to give one based on what is inside one's head! Knowing your rights goes a LONG WAY here. Teach your children well their rights as a United States citizen.

ladybird said...

This post made me cry. I feel so bad for all of the families involved. I can not describe how I hurt for the little children. It breaks my heart when I read about the effects this has had on all of them. Your religion is so wonderful. I am not FLDS, but I wish I were. I am LDS. I believe in the Law of Abraham. I wish our church still followed this law. Your are the sweetest people in the entire world.