Official fears for foster kids in polygamist townPosted: Updated:
Dan Wayman is a foster parent who lives in the polygamist enclave of Colorado City.
He says he just wants foster kids to have a safe place to live.
But a Mohave County supervisor is adamant that the community is not a safe place for children.
Wayman was separated from his own children about nine years ago when Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, took them away.
Wayman said that traumatic event sparked his desires to be a foster parent.
"I had 20 children of my own," Wayman told CBS 5 News. "They were abruptly taken from me one day by Warren when he was doing his thing and disrupting families."
Jeffs is now serving a life sentence in a Texas prison for abusing underage girls in his church.
Wayman lives in Colorado City, but said that nine years ago he left the FLDS church, and decided to help those with the most need - children.
"I felt that because of what happened to me, I can relate to many of these kids," Wayman said. "A lot of these kids in the foster care system have been removed from their parents, and it's heart-wrenching."
But Wayman's intentions and foster parent license aren't flying well with his Mohave County supervisor, Buster Johnson.
"A single adult living in Colorado City sends the hackles off the back of my neck," Johnson said.
Johnson recently learned a boy from Lake Havasu City is now in Wayman's foster care, making three children in Wayman's care. Wayman also has two adopted sons.
"If he is living in Colorado City, there is no other way you can live in Colorado City without being FLDS," Johnson said.
Johnson says the boy could face child labor, influence from the FLDS church and either be enrolled in one of the state's lowest performing schools or even home-schooled. Wayman said home schooling is not in his plan, and the boys in his care are enrolled in a public school.
"He's very misinformed," Wayman said of Johnson. "There's hundreds, I'd say thousands of people here that do not belong to FLDS and many people who would be offended at that statement."
Child Protective Services released a statement Monday night that reads, in part:
"The Department and its licensing contractors follow the applicable laws and regulations for all applicants seeking licensure as foster parents.
These include, but are not limited to: criminal history checks, checks for current or past reports of abuse, and inspections of the prospective foster parents and their home.
Anytime allegations or concerns are raised regarding a foster home, the Department investigates to ensure the continued safety of the children."
Wayman said it took him about five years to become a licensed foster parent, and was given an even harder look by the state because of where he lives and his background as a member of the FLDS church.
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