Texas child welfare officials will ask a Waco judge for permission to retain temporary legal custody of seven Branch Davidian children.
Authorities said they want to continue monitoring how the children are adjusting to their new homes.
“We want to be sure that everything is working out,” said Stewart Davis, a spokesman for Texas Departments of Protective and Regulatory Services.
Twenty-one children were released by Branch Davidian leader Vernon Howell, also known as David Koresh, in the days following a Feb. 28 firefight with agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
They were the only children to leave the group before an April 19 fire destroyed the cult’s compound. More than 80 cult members died in the fire.
All but one of the 21 children have been placed with family members, and 12 are still under the “temporary managing conservatorship” of the state.
The hearing scheduled today before state District Judge Bill Logue involves seven of those 12. The other five have hearings in October and January.
The state’s request to keep legal custody of the children — at least for now — is meant to ensure that they adjust well with their new families, said agency spokeswoman Linda Edwards.
Edwards said the hearing is a six-month review.
“We’re really working to have all these kids in the legal guardianship of their relatives,” she said. “The placements are going well.”
Under state conservatorship, the children also remain eligible for benefits they would not receive otherwise.
“We do provide in-home care, counseling and, if the child is eligible, Medicaid health services,” Davis said. “Some or all of those can be cut off.”
Edwards said the agency will eventually recommend that the state be dismissed as legal guardian for most of the 12 children.
Texas officials also plan to ask Logue to place the 10-year-old physically and mentally disabled son of Branch Davidian Douglas Wayne Martin in the care of his mother, Sheila Martin. Douglas Martin and four of his children died in the April 19 fire.
Sheila Martin, a cult member, left the compound during the 51-day siege by federal authorities after three of her children were released.
The Martin child has lived in foster care since he was released from the compound because his mother did not have the facilities to care for the boy.
Since then, Sheila Martin has rented a house and taken classes to meet the child’s needs, Davis said.
Her two other children, a boy and a girl, are living with relatives out of state.