The toughest question facing public officials charged with protecting children is: Do you act or do you not act? If you don't act and a child is harmed, then the general public tends to hold the officials -- and not the actual perpetrator -- responsible. But if you act too hastily ...
That's what happened in Texas this week when a state appeals court castigated Child Protective Services for seizing 465 children and taking them away from their parents, all members of a religious sect that is widely believed to practice polygamy.
The court ruled the Texas child department acted too hastily and the children should be returned to their parents. There's no doubt that Child Protective Services made big errors. Some of the children turned out to be adults.
It was a big mix up of fear, facts, culture and religion. The government agency acted on a phone tip from a self-described 16-year-old Sarah who said girls were being sexually abused. The state acted quickly to protect the children. It never found Sarah.
There will be repercussions and further developments. There also should be reviews and corrections at the government level. The court did what it was supposed to do. It saw to it that the law was properly followed and each individual's rights were protected or restored. The court said the agency should have straightened out the facts before it acted and not have jumped to conclusions.
Child Protective Services was wrong. Good intentions aren't enough.
Court is right to rebuke seizure of cult children delawareonline The News Journal