Comments by NYU CSC Director and Founder Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D.:
"Obviously, the women and children involved in this polygamous sect have to be removed from their homes for their own protection. When a girl under the age of consent is forced to have sex or a boy is thrown out of his home because he is seen as competition to his father, safety is the first consideration and the law dictates that the state must intervene."
"But the children involved in this sect present a much more complicated problem. These children have been living in an isolated cocoon, without access to the Internet, television or the modern world. For a child to be removed from his or her home is always traumatic, but for these children, it is even more of shock because they are being thrown into a strange and alien environment, a world with which they are totally unfamiliar and which they have been told is hostile."
- Have authorities investigated other less drastic solutions, such as group, rather than individual foster homes, that would enable children with similar backgrounds to provide support for each other?
- Have authorities considered placing social workers and other mental health professionals in the community, with family participation and adherence to laws compulsory?
- Consideration should be given to the large number of children involved and the far-reaching implications of decisions made in their behalf. Should decisions be left entirely to judges and lawyers?
- Can collaborations between various interested organizations - lawyers, mental health professionals, state representatives -- be organized to make recommendations and monitor progress?
- How can we minimize the trauma for these children so that the solution is therapeutic and not harmful?
Mental health experts enlisted to help with children of sect
From CNN.com, April 25, 2008
SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) -- Texas officials have brought in mental health professionals and behavioral experts in an effort to ensure a sense of normalcy for the more than 400 children removed from a polygamous sect's enclave, an agency spokeswoman said.
But for all their lives, the boys and girls of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have been told the outside world was hostile and immoral. Venturing beyond the brilliant white limestone walls of their compound would consign them to eternal damnation, their church leaders preached.