SAN ANGELO, Texas — Child Protective Services officials are asking a judge to drop 24 more children taken from the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch from court supervision.

Late Wednesday afternoon, lawyers for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services filed papers with 51st District Judge Barbara Walther to remove the children from court oversight.

"We're going to continue to be doing that," CPS spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner told the Deseret News on Wednesday.

The decision to "nonsuit" the children could be for a variety of reasons, she said.

"It could be because the children are in a protected environment or are over 18," Meisner said. "It could be that we found no abuse or neglect."

Nonsuiting a child does not end CPS's involvement in the cases, either. Many FLDS parents are being asked to undergo psychological evaluations, attend parenting classes and take steps to ensure their children are safe from abuse.

The 24 children are the latest cases that CPS has "nonsuited" since the April 3 raid on the YFZ Ranch. Last week, 34 more were dropped from court oversight, in addition to 32 earlier this month.

On Tuesday, a 14-year-old girl was ordered back into foster care after a judge ruled her mother, Barbara Jessop, failed to protect her from abuse. The girl was allegedly married at age 12 to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. Six other children whom CPS sought to have placed in foster care again were allowed to remain with their mothers under deals struck with the agency on Tuesday.

Hundreds of children were placed in state custody after the April raid on the ranch. Texas child welfare authorities and law enforcement responded to the FLDS Church's property in nearby Eldorado after a series of phone calls from someone claiming to be a pregnant 16-year-old in an abusive marriage to an older man. Once on site, authorities said they saw other signs of abuse, prompting a judge to order the removal of all of the children.

The 440 children were ultimately returned to their parents after a pair of Texas courts ruled the state acted improperly and failed to show the children were in immediate danger.


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