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Merrianne Goes Home
May 8, 2009 permalink
The last of the hundreds of children taken a year ago from the ranch in Eldorado Texas is leaving foster care. Merrianne Jessop will be going to a relative, Naomi Carlisle. So in the end none of the allegations against the FLDS could be sustained in the courts. The Jessop mentioned in the story is Merrianne's mother Barbara Jessop.
Last of YFZ children to leave foster care
email@example.com or 659-8253, Originally published 11:06 a.m., May 7, 2009, Updated 01:16 p.m., May 7, 2009
The 14-year-old girl alleged to be a wife of Warren Jeffs will soon be taken out of foster care.
51st District Judge Barbara Walther ruled this morning that the girl will be put in the care of Naomi Carlisle, a distant relative. The move came at the request of the Child Protective Services, as well as from attorneys for the girl and Jessop.
The girl will be released from foster care May 10.
However, Court Appointed Special Advocates argued that the girl should stay in the custody of her San Antonio foster care family. The girl is the last of the children from the YFZ Ranch near Eldorado to be taken out of foster care.
CPS still will have regular visits with the girl and Carlisle. If all parties follow the safety plan laid out, then Carlisle will be granted full custody in September.
"No child should be in foster care," said Valerie Malara, an attorney for Jessop. "The ultimate goal is to be reunited with the family."
Carlisle, 52, is an FLDS member but has never been a resident of the YFZ Ranch, and five of her 11 surviving children have left the sect upon adulthood, according to investigation documents.
Jessop walked out of the courtroom smiling.
"Barbara is ecstatic," attorney Brett Pritchard said.
The child, whom sect documents and pictures show as having been married to sect leader Warren Jeffs at age 12, at one time cried during the permanency hearing that lasted about an hour.
During the hearing, CPS caseworker Ashley Kennedy said Jessop has of the last two months been following all the guidelines in her visitations with the girl. Before that, case workers had found text messages on an unauthorized cell phone, as well as saw Jessop pass unauthorized notes to the girl during visits.
Some of the notes seemed to direct the girl's behavior towards foster parents and the attorney.
However, there had been no issues since March 17 and the visits between the girl and Jessop had been going well, Kennedy said.
Jessop, who remained stoic throughout most of the trial, became excited when the young girl walked into the courtroom before the hearing began.
The girl's attorney refused to answer questions after the trial but said during the hearing this could lead to permanent custody with Carlisle. That, in turn, could take her back to the ranch which would make the girl "the happiest girl in the world."
CASA official Shirley Davis said the agency questioned whether being with Carlisle would be safe for the girl. She questioned whether Carlisle could provide for the girl financially and help with her education. She also said Carlisle is estranged from some of her own children.
"We want (the girl) to be protected and safe," she said. "We want her to be a little girl. We don't think that can happen outside a foster home."
Source: San Angelo Standard-Times
Addendum:Richard Wexler points out that as long as Merrianne cannot go home to her parents, she is still in foster care, though an improvement over stranger care.