Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Leticia Van de Putte

For Immediate Release
Friday, April 11, 2008
Contact: Tiffany Champion, (210) 733-6604

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Dear Friend,

I am writing to send you an update on the tragic situation in El Dorado, Texas. As you may be aware, the Yearning for Zion Ranch compound, founded by imprisoned polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, was raided last week.

The raid resulted from a 16-year-old girl's call alleging abuse. Since then, authorities have interviewed members of the polygamist sect in a criminal investigation; and the state has taken temporary legal custody of some 416 children.

In light of this unprecedented situation, my colleagues and I have been monitoring this situation very closely. The members of the Texas Senate and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst had a conference call yesterday to assess the magnitude of the situation and the potential budgetary impact to Child Protective Services' budget.

Of course, our primary focus is to ensure the welfare of the children involved; and as such I, along with my colleagues, will continue to examine the well-being of these children, in addition to monitoring the financial implications of this extraordinary emergency situation.

A letter was sent yesterday to our State Comptroller, Susan Combs, from Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Tom Craddick. The letter requests that the Comptroller's office allow the Health and Human Services Commission to cover additional costs associated with this vast undertaking of caring for these children; as our state agencies have never been faced with this large a scale of relocation. My heart goes out to the women and children of Zion Ranch; and I assure you my colleagues and I are working to ensure the best counseling opportunities and reintegration services for all those affected.

I will continue to keep you informed on this critical issue. Also, the Department of Family and Protective Services will be updating their website frequently with the latest developments at: http://www.dfps.state.tx.us/.

Sincerely,


HOW TO CONTACT SENATOR VAN DE PUTTE
District Office
700 N. St. Mary's St. #1725
San Antonio, Texas 78205
(210) 733-6604
(210) 733-6605 - fax
leticia.vandeputte@senate.state.tx.us

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