Dozens of children from polygamist ranch moved to foster care
Texas officials said Wednesday they had completed DNA testing on 437 children taken from a polygamist ranch, as some of those seized were placed in foster care.
Authorities took cheek swabs from the children, who are being housed at the San Angelo Coliseum as child welfare officials try to sort out the complicated family relationships at the compound.
Janece Rolfe, a spokesperson for the Texas Attorney General's office, said the testing at the coliseum was completed late Tuesday, but technicians are still taking samples from parents at the polygamist Yearning for Zion ranch near the town of Eldorado.
The children were seized from the ranch in early April after authorities received a report that a 15-year-old girl married and had a child with a 50-year-old man, which is illegal in the state.
A number of women who said they were the children's mothers accompanied the children. Officials later said about two dozen of those women were under 18.
The ranch is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, part of a sect that broke away from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon Church, after the latter disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.
Children to be moved to foster care
Child protective services on Tuesday moved 114 of the children from the coliseum to foster housing. More buses showed up at the coliseum Wednesday, but officials didn't comment on whether more children were moved.
A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon for lawyers representing the children to air concerns about how the children will be cared for in foster homes.
State District Judge Barbara Walther signed the order Tuesday allowing the state to begin moving the children into temporary foster care while the state completes DNA testing and develops individual custody and treatment plans.
Lawyers for the parents in the sect argue the testing is invasive and unnecessary.
Some of the children taken from the ranch are reportedly Canadian, likely from the B.C. polygamist community of Bountiful.
B.C. Attorney General Wally Oppal says he is closely monitoring the developments in Texas.
With files from the Associated Press