Sect parents begin classes
A month after their children were returned, FLDS parents are getting the first word about parenting classes the state of Texas has required them to complete.
Marleigh Meisner, a Texas Department of Family and Protective Services spokeswoman, said the classes would begin to be scheduled within the next 10 days.
They will be standard parenting classes consisting of two four-hour sessions.
“The curriculum will be much like those that the agency uses with other clients,” Meisner said in a statement.
“The instructors will be trained on how to best deliver this information to these FLDS parents.”
Tom Green County Judge Barbara Walther ordered the classes for FLDS parents as a condition of allowing the 440 children taken from the polygamous sect’s west Texas ranch to be returned to their families last month.
The children were taken from the ranch in April based on allegations of physical and sexual abuse.
But two higher Texas courts found in May that Walther lacked sufficient evidence to keep all the children in foster care.
During hearings before those rulings, Child Protective Service workers had said that one aim of the parenting classes would be to educate FLDS parents about Texas laws regarding marriage, bigamy and other legal issues.
The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints is alleged to have allowed underage girls to be married to older men, and a criminal and child welfare investigation is ongoing.
A grand jury considering evidence against the sect is scheduled to meet again in Schleicher County on July 22. It met in June without issuing any indictments.
In addition to parenting classes, Walther ordered the FLDS parents to:
• Stay in Texas until Child Protective Services completes its investigation.
• Stay in contact with and cooperate with caseworkers.
• Allow their children to undergo psychological or physical examinations, if requested.
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