Foster children in polygamist enclave raising concerns

Foster children in polygamist enclave raising concerns
http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130111arizona-foster-c...

By Mary K. Reinhart
The Republic | azcentral.com
Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:42 PM

Arizona is placing foster children in the polygamist enclave of Colorado City, raising concerns about their future and state Child Protective Services’ judgment in finding homes for abused and neglected kids.

Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson identified one foster parent as Dan Wayman, a former member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints whose family was “reassigned” some years ago by church leader Warren Jeffs.

Johnson, a longtime opponent of the FLDS Church lifestyle, this week notified Gov. Jan Brewer and asked Attorney General Tom Horne for help to bring the child back to Lake Havasu City, where his mother still lives.

The boy and his two brothers had been living with a foster family in Lake Havasu City since CPS removed them from their mother’s home, Johnson said, but CPS recently moved the youngest to Wayman’s home and his brothers to a foster home in Prescott.

“His (Wayman’s) wife and children were taken away from him by the priesthood,” Johnson told The Arizona Republic. “They got reassigned, so he’s a single man now.”

Johnson has prodded state and federal officials for years to dismantle the polygamist FLDS Church. He said foster children should not be placed in Colorado City, where he believes child labor, arranged marriages and abuse run rampant.

“You’re putting them in an environment where you’re setting them up to fail,” Johnson said. “They’re pretty much cut off from the real world.”

Horne said he had referred the matter to Nicole Davis, chief counsel for the Child and Family Protection Division. He said he could not discuss details of the case. “It has a very high priority,” Horne said. “We’re taking it very seriously.”

The state Department of Economic Security, which oversees CPS and foster-care licensing, did not respond to a request for comment.

A call placed to Wayman was not returned Friday.

Among the factors DES considers when deciding whether to license foster and adoptive homes is the fitness of the parents, including mental-health history, lifestyle, domestic violence or past illegal practices.

Johnson said Wayman is licensed to care for five children. He already has one adopted boy, he said, and plans to adopt more. CPS also is considering relocating the boy’s brothers to Wayman’s home, he said.

The supervisor has long been frustrated by Utah and Arizona officials’ inaction against the polygamous sect, which has held sway for decades in remote communities along the Arizona-Utah line.

Jeffs is serving time in prison in Texas on a number of polygamy-related convictions, but he is believed to continue to issue orders to his followers.

In his letter to Horne, Johnson said Wayman was involved in a Las Vegas leasing company with ties to Jeffs.

“As you are aware, these businesses owned by FLDS members have a long history of employing underaged children as slave labor,” he wrote. “I hope you would agree that this is not an appropriate environment for any child. This is a place where polygamy is the norm and the abuse of women and children is commonplace.”

Last year, Horne agreed to pay for Mohave County deputies to patrol Colorado City after state lawmakers rejected a bill to abolish the Colorado City Marshal’s Office. Horne said the marshal’s officers are FLDS Church followers and put Jeffs’ orders above the law.

Last June, the U.S. Justice Department sued the twin polygamist towns of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, alleging discrimination against residents who are not FLDS Church members. The case is pending in federal court in Utah.

Reach the reporter at maryk.reinhart@arizonarepublic.com.

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Is this a joke?

Among the factors DES considers when deciding whether to license foster and adoptive homes is the fitness of the parents, including mental-health history, lifestyle, domestic violence or past illegal practices.

Johnson said Wayman is licensed to care for five children. He already has one adopted boy, he said, and plans to adopt more. CPS also is considering relocating the boy’s brothers to Wayman’s home, he said.

Given what is already known about Warren Jeffs, and his ways with women, children and arranged marriages, I would think... HOPE... any SW involved in a child-placement case involving ANY personal connection to this man would raise red-flags to that given foster-parent applicant/placement.

I guess this rule of "what's in a child's best interest" (based on scientific study) does not apply to those who have decided the church and state need to remain separate.  [This reminds me of the protection given to the Catholic Clergy, and The Ryan Report, which came-out decades later....]

I have my concerns about a single-man associated with Jeffs.  I'm not convinced Wayman's foster-parent license (and subsequent adopted children) were given to him because he was the most fit person to parent a child (or many) with many "special needs".  In fact, I'm not convinced the cycle of abuse, as it's known to exist within this specific religious group, will end with Wayman.

 

It sure seem like a joke

It sure seem like a joke, but I don't think it is......

I had to read it twice to be sure.....
A polygamist had his wife and children 'taken away' so he is single...... and he starts fostering and adopting children?
Is this Warren Jeffs idea of how to get more women into his cult?

Background Check

I too had to read this several times as well to make sure it wasn't a joke. Wouldn't a SW interview or background check be needed that would prove that this PAP is not the best fit for fostering/adopting a child? Just curious, how could this been approved?

SWs and applicants with like-minds

First, let's consider how most social-orders work.  From the ancient period, social order went as follows:  First came the King, next came the vizier (political adviser), then came priests, the elite, and "officials". Next came doctors and engineers, followed by scribes and merchants, then came artists and craftsmen in terms of social importance.  Last in social order came workers, soldiers, farmers and builders.  [See:  Social pyramids ]

Let's think about how an applicant (within a given group) is given clearance by a social worker (working for a religious-based Family Service).

Do you really think like-minded people are going to REJECT certain brothers/sisters within their community?

Pound Pup Legacy