SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — John Daniel Kingston’s 10 children with Heidi Foster have been given new birth certificates bearing the family name of their polygamist father.
Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez had ordered the birth certificates be reissued to ensure inheritance rights and ending a purported effort to hide Kingston’s ties to the children.
Changing the names will allow child welfare and police to begin connecting some of Kingston’s 14 different wives and his estimated 120 children. Until now, only the 12 children of his first wife, Rachael Ann, carried the Kingston name.
“Now we can begin to link families together,” attorney Kristin Brewer, director of the Guardian ad Litem’s Office, told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Brewer brought allegations of abuse and neglect against Foster and Kingston to court after a relative sought a protective order on behalf of the two oldest daughters.
Valdez ruled on June 3 that the girls had been abused and neglected.
On July 7, Valdez will decide what happens next based on evaluations of the couple and their 10 children.
The eight youngest children remain at home with Foster, who likely will deliver her 11th child soon. Her 15-year-old girl is in foster care and her 3-year-old girl is in the temporary custody of Shauna Blacksher, who sought the protective order that triggered the trial.
Blacksher is married to Heidi Foster’s brother, who left the Kingston polygamist group years ago.
Blacksher filed the protective order through Legal Aid Services when she learned of a Feb. 15 confrontation between the girls and their parents after the teens had their ears pierced.
Valdez granted Blacksher’s protective order request and the two teens were taken into state-supervised custody.
The Guardian ad Litem’s Office and the state Division of Child and Family Services differed on how the state should deal with the family.
DCFS had investigated Foster four times in 10 years, finding inappropriately supervised children and unsafe living conditions in her home. After a 1996 investigation, her children were temporarily placed in state supervision.
Allegations of physical abuse, along with concerns about Foster’s home, were raised in 2001.
DCFS has provided Foster with 54 months of homemaking lessons and periodic supervision.
On Feb. 22, a Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputy investigated when children ages 4 and 2 were found wandering along a busy street. His report described the home as “extremely filthy and unsanitary.”
The lengthy report, which also detailed other problems, led to a referral to DCFS.
The Guardian ad Litem’s Office also found DCFS referrals on other women who have children with Kingston.
Brewer’s office most often gets involved in child welfare cases after DCFS petitions to remove children or seeks court-ordered services for their families, but in this case it went ahead on its own.
“We became convinced that the regular petition needed to be filed and that DCFS was not going to file one,” Brewer said. “I think that they have a view that you need to be tolerant of different people’s cultures. They viewed this as a polygamy case and I was viewing it as a child abuse and neglect case.”
DCFS spokeswoman Carol Sisco said her agency was “looking at long-term solutions for those girls. We don’t feel that just putting them into foster care is a long-term solution.”
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