Texas child welfare authorities are seeking to end court supervision of 14 more children taken in the raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church's YFZ Ranch.
On Wednesday, lawyers for Child Protective Services went to court in San Angelo, Texas, to "nonsuit" the 14 children, CPS spokesman Patrick Crimmins confirmed to the Deseret News.
A nonsuit does not end CPS' investigation or supervision over the children but ends court jurisdiction over their cases. The reasons vary, from no evidence of abuse or neglect being found to parents taking appropriate steps to protect their children from abuse. Some age out of the system by turning 18.
The 14 are the latest in a string of cases CPS has sought to nonsuit. So far, Texas authorities have estimated up to 176 children have been nonsuited. On Tuesday, 10 more children were dropped.
Cynthia Martinez of the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Society, which represents more than 45 FLDS mothers, said 17 mothers' children have been nonsuited.
"This means that the investigations have concluded and the mothers are no longer held to the restrictions originally set up by CPS (parenting classes, travel notifications, etc.)," she said in an e-mail to the Deseret News.
CPS has also notified the mothers' attorneys which ones will likely be nonsuited in the future, Martinez said. Others will likely remain under some kind of CPS oversight.
A 14-year-old girl was recently placed back in foster care after a judge ruled her mother could not protect her from abuse. The girl is believed to have been married at age 12 to FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.
Hundreds of children were taken in the April raid on the YFZ Ranch when Texas authorities responded to the Eldorado compound after a crisis line phone tip about abuse. The call is believed to be a hoax, but once there, law enforcement and CPS said they saw other evidence of abuse that prompted a judge to order the removal of all of the children.
Approximately 440 children were returned to their parents two months later when an appeals court in Austin and the Texas Supreme Court ruled the state acted improperly in removing all of the children.Child welfare and a separate criminal investigation continue. Six FLDS members, including Jeffs, have already been indicted on charges ranging from bigamy to sexual assault of a child to failure to report child abuse.
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