CPS says Kids Separated to Get Answers

Staff Report

The Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - State officials are defending the separation of mothers from many of the children taken in a raid on a Polygamist ranch in West Texas.

Texas Children's Protective Services spokeswoman Marleigh Meisner said the separation came after careful review and much discussion with experts. She says their experience shows abused

children are more truthful in interviews about their treatment at home if a parent isn't present.

The mothers have complained the state deceived them. But Meisner said the situation was explained.

When state troopers and child welfare officials seized 416 children from the compound in Eldorado, 139 women accompanied them. They had been allowed to stay with the children until yesterday. Only women with children under 5 could stay at the San Angelo Coliseum where they were being held.

CPS officials still can't find birth certificates for many of the children, making parentage and age determinations impossible. Meisner says many of the children don't know who their parents are

and many have the same last name but may or may not be related.