Group Plans DCFS Protest on Christmas Day
Dec. 24, 2003
John Daley reporting
Along with Christmas presents and holiday meals, some state officials may also get a
silent protest at their home.
A legislative watchdog group intends to visit officials Christmas day, to shed light on
the contentious debate over the state's child custody policies.
One of the toughest and most controversial issues faced today by officials in the state
government revolves around child protective custody cases.
The issue really started to generate a lot of community attention last summer, thanks to
the Parker Jensen case. The 12-year-olds parents got into a prolonged battle with the
state over his treatment after he was diagnosed with cancer. The case became a lightning
rod for a number of others who feel the state has badly mishandled many child custody
Dozens of people protested at the Capitol in September--accusing state officials or
harassing families and kidnapping children. State officials vehemently deny those
allegations--saying children are only removed from a home as a last result and when state
officials believe a child's live may be in jeopardy.
Now, one of the groups which organized that protest, says it plans to knock on the door of
a number of state officials Christmas day, urging them to change the state's policies.
David Hansen, Accountability Utah: "We have talked to them. We have had rallies.
There's been at least two rallies up there. We've had a special session since then. THey
have not addressed these issues."
But the executive director the state Republican Party says he thinks knocking on the front
door of state officials home on Christmas Day crosses the line.
Chris Bleak, Exec. Director/Utah Republican Party : "They do a darn fine job and it
is a tough job and it is done with little glory or fanfare. Doing it on the Christmas
Holiday is wrong."
The folks with Accountablitiy Utah are not saying which officials they plan to visit.
They say they want to be educational--not confrontational.
They will be bringing along families who are involved in child custody cases--to help them
make their point.