At a hearing this morning to determine the future of seven children taken from their parents' home
by state authorities in January, a Hot Springs judge returned the four youngest kids to their parents, Hal Stanley
and his wife, Michelle, for a 60 day period.
KARK's Shannon Miller says on Twitter
that the three older kids in the household will be allowed home on weekends and during Spring Break (which is this week), and that another hearing has been set for May 13.
Law enforcement originally investigated the Stanleys in part because of allegations that the children had been endangered by ingesting a supplement called "Miracle Mineral Solution," although the Garland County Sheriff's Department said later
it was responding to other allegations of abuse and neglect as well. The kids then remained in custody of the Department of Human Services (DHS)
after a Garland County judge ruled
in late January that there was credible reason to believe physical abuse occurred in the household.
The Stanley family has become a cause celebre in the past few months, especially among those suspicious of the intentions of government. The Stanleys home schooled their children and live somewhat unconventionally; Hal Stanley said in January
the family consider themselves "preppers." Many people online believe the law enforcement raid on the Stanleys' house is tantamount to persecution for their beliefs and lifestyle.
I'll be honest: I don't yet know nearly enough about the details of this case to have an opinion one way or the other about whether the state's intervention into the Stanleys' personal affairs was warranted. As is always the case, the strict confidentiality laws surrounding child welfare proceedings prevent DHS or the court from explaining exactly why the children were placed into temporary care of the state.
A March 20 post on a Facebook page
created to support the Stanley parents asked people to show up outside the courthouse this morning wearing red:
Friends this is not just for the Stanleys it is for all families, we need to make a stand now for change so this kind of nightmare will not happen to another family. Right now there is a call for change, I was told yesterday State Rep Mary Bentley and Senator Stubblefield are writing legislation to make some big changes in how DHS functions in the state of Arkansas. With just few weeks left in this session now is the time to speak up and show support.
It looks like some protesters answered the call. Here's a pic from Shannon Miller: