When is it OK to take children away from their parents?

Filed under: In The News, Media, That's Entertainment

I've been following the story of the removal of 416 children from an extremist religious compound in Texas with a mixture of shock, horror, and sympathy. And the more I read, the more conflicted I become. In the end, the anguish is with the children, and that's what makes all of this so much more horrifying.

I picked up this week's People magazine with a picture of a young Mother walking with her two children, the weight of the world in her frown lines. 416 children were separated from their Moms because of a cloud of suspicion about the sexual abuse of young girl's.

Well, evidently it was a lot more serious than suspicion. I cannot imagine that a State would take such drastic measures if they did not have solid proof of abuse. But as I read the article in the magazine -- and the allegations by the grieving Mothers that their children were taken in a sweeping motion as a protest of the polygamist lifestyle rather than actual abuse -- I began feeling really awful for them. No matter their lifestyle, they miss their children. No matter what, there are hundreds of young children confused and missing their parents. Should authorities really have taken all of the children away, or did these Moms and their babies deserve to be evaluated on a case by case basis? Was that even possible, given the communal way this religious sect lives?

I just finished watching a video (below) of Meredith Viera interviewing three of the sect's women, accompanied by their lawyer. The deadness in these women's eyes, and the strangeness of their words and actions dully affirms for me that the authorities did the right thing. This is not a normal situation that can be assessed on an individual family basis, because these families are all in it together. I don't think the authorities had any choice but to remove all of the children in light of the hesitancy and strangeness about providing forthright information.

I am so sad for them all.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.