Arkansas Pastor’s Children Seized By Authorities Allowed to Return Home on Trial Basis

Stanley ChildrenHOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Seven children in Arkansas who were seized by the Garland County Sheriff’s Department in January have been allowed to return home on a trial basis, leading up to a hearing to determine whether the parents will be granted full custody.

As previously reported, the homeschooled children of Hal Stanley, who pastors a home church, and his wife Michelle were removed from their Hot Springs home on Jan. 12 following an anonymous complaint.

The situation began in December as a social worker with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) showed up at the Stanley’s door after receiving a complaint that the children were permitted to go outside in the snow barefoot. The Stanleys assured the case worker that everything was fine, and that the children had plenty of shoes, but had a custom of making footprints in the snow for fun.

“We showed her some of the 200 and something pair of shoes and told her—actually the kids told her—how it was their preference to go barefoot and that it was like a tradition to briefly run out in the snow barefoot and take a picture of the footprints,” Michelle Stanley told reporters.

However, authorities then received a second complaint claiming that the couple had a “poisonous substance” in their home, and so on Jan. 12, both DHS and members of the Garland County Sheriff’s Department appeared at their door. According to the family, officials forced the parents to step outside, at which time they were served with a search warrant.

It turned out that the substance that was being referred to was MMS (“miracle mineral supplement”) or sodium chlorite, which is used to purify water and is claimed to help cure diseases. The Stanleys state that the product was used to balance the PH of their fish tank, but that her husband had also been drinking it to help make his system more alkaline.

Five hours later, after the search concluded—along with an interrogation of the children, officials informed the Stanleys that all seven of their children were being taken into custody.

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“Six intimidating, brute looking males and one DHS female all lined up in our den to tell us they would be taking our kids into their custody for 72 hours,” Stanley recalled.

But after a week later, the couple’s children still were not returned, and have now remained in state custody for the past two months. Arkansas DHS hasn’t provided an exact reason as to why the children were seized.

“It could mean that the home is unfit. It could mean that the environment is not a good environment, that there’s dirt everywhere; it could mean that,” Public Information Coordinator Kate Luck told KATV. “It could also mean the children cannot safely remain there. It may be that the parents have done something to make the environment unsafe. It could mean that the children did something…”

Mr. Stanley said that perhaps two of his older children, who now attend college, may be partially responsible for the situation as they have spoken before about their desire to attend public school. All the children have been placed in public school while in state custody.

“We have a couple of our teenagers who decided they wanted to go to public school,” Stanley said. “I think they are behind some of this, but we are trying to get to the bottom of it ourselves.”

Following a hearing on Tuesday, it was determined that the children would be allowed to return home on a trial basis.

“[A] decision has been reached that four of the youngest Stanley children will come home tomorrow for an extended visitation of two months,” the “Bring the Stanley Kids Home” Facebook page outlines. “The oldest three children will visit home on weekends and for Spring Break.”

“Having said this, the children technically remain in state custody for the next 60 days. After this period of time has passed, the state will determine whether or not to give Hal & Michelle full and complete custody,” the status continued. “It might to be exactly what we had prayed for, but it is still a victory as we await for complete victory.”

The four youngest Stanley children returned home yesterday as promised. A family friend simply identified as Kristy shared about the reunion on Facebook.

“Hugs, kisses all around. Even the cat came to greet the children and was scoop[ed] up with cuddles and ‘Oh, how I missed you.’ Inside, the quiet house was once again filled with laughter and noise,” she wrote. “Keep standing and praying till all the Stanleys are home.”


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  • Gary

    This outrage continues. A clear abuse by the government. If the government had any real evidence of wrong doing by the parents, it would be known by now. Obviously, the state has no evidence of mistreatment by the parents. The state is merely bullying these people for reasons that have not been revealed to the public. May God’s judgment fall swiftly and heavily on every state employee who is involved.

    • Peter Leh

      “If the government had any real evidence of wrong doing by the parents, it would be known by now.”

      *sigh*

      gary we have been over this (again)
      the government is cannot release certain information to protect the children.

      integrity is still a christian virtue. 🙂

      • Gary

        Nonsense. If the government had any information that proved the children were in danger, then why is the government letting some of the children go home? The government has nothing, except arrogance.

        • Peter Leh

          because the parents, most likely, have acquiesced to the conditions laid out by the court.

          • Gary

            They want THEIR children back. So I guess they would do pretty much anything the court demanded. If there are no criminal charges as of now against the parents, then the state should give them ALL of THEIR children. The state should also admit to incompetence and criminal behavior, and everyone involved should lose their job, be imprisoned for at least six months, and the state should pay the family handsomely for causing this trauma to them. If there are criminal charges against the parents, then put them on trial. What you don’t do, if you have proof of criminality, is give their children back on a trial basis.

          • Peter Leh

            “They want THEIR children back. So I guess they would do pretty much anything the court demanded”

            That is different from the original comment

            “Obviously, the state has no evidence of mistreatment by the parents.”

            “If there are no criminal charges as of now against the parents, then the state should give them ALL of THEIR children. ”

            this point confirms what you are argument against.

            “If there are criminal charges against the parents, then put them on
            trial. What you don’t do, if you have proof of criminality, is give
            their children back on a trial basis.”

            I dont; think the states takes children away from parents who are criminals. It is about the welfare and safety of the children.

            again…. i have not had my children taken from me you have not had your take from you. There is something to consider more than persecution.

  • Seymore Philmore

    I see a lot of “It could be’s” so I will add another. It could be harassment against people raising their children in the fear and admonition of God, as we all should be doing.

    • Peter Leh

      so why are not all who do have their children taken away?

      • getstryker

        Yours is a very good question and Seymore Philmore seems to be pointing out that without a ‘definite reason’ given by the State agency to take the children, that possibly, it is simply a case of harassment of a Christian family being raised in the Christian faith of the parents. To answer your question . . . could it be that parents who do not hold Christian views but still home-school do not meet with the same prejudicial treatment by that same State agency? The ‘reasons’ given by the State seems pretty flimsy to me and certainly does NOT warrant the treatment they have received.

        • Peter Leh

          Maybe.

          one of the reasons cited in the article was the older son was conserned about his brothers and sisters: “Mr. Stanley said that perhaps two of his older children, who now attend
          college, may be partially responsible for the situation as they have
          spoken before about their desire to attend public school.”

          but also note the state may not be giving “reasons” to the public because it involves miners. I would be difficult to make the argument the the parents to not know.

    • weasel1886

      “It turned out that the substance that was being referred to was MMS (“miracle mineral supplement”) or sodium chlorite, which is used to purify water and is claimed to help cure diseases.”

      This is bleach and is banned in many countries. It is a poison and some reports state it was being given to the kids

      • Deina

        ” The Stanleys state that the product was used to balance the PH of their
        fish tank, but that her husband had also been drinking it to help make
        his system more alkaline.

        Since this medical genius thinks that drinking Sodium chlorite (NaClO2) is good for himself, why would he not think it also good for the kids?

  • Shirley May Lee

    I think they are now trying to “cya” Because they don’t have any evidence to keep them from their parents. Sounds like radical leftist to me!!!

    • Peter Leh

      i don;t think the government wished to keep anyone’s children.

      the return of the kids are most likely a concession of the parents than a CYA of the government.

      • Shirley May Lee

        We wer both wrong, It was the older kids trying to cut the apron string.

        • Peter Leh

          i read something about the older kid.

          i hope the whole family finds peace.

  • Brenda Golden

    If they were beating and starving the children then DHS would care less (many children die each year in DFS custody from this very thing). For DHS any lie can be the right lie.

  • Gary

    Unless the government has proof of abuse or endangerment, the government should never remove a child from the home. But the government is so arrogant that it thinks it can do whatever it wants and get away with it.

    • Peter Leh

      It did, since it took the children away. 🙂

      • chuckallan

        Peter, That doesn’t make it right!!

        • Peter Leh

          Maybe not.

          but i have HS’ed, not vaccinated my children and am my children’s doctor like this father claims is why his children were taken and i, even i, i have yet to have my children taken. 🙂

          i am suggesting in the conservative state of arkansas they are probably not persecuting the conservatives.

      • getstryker

        I certainly agree they (State) did just that . . . now we wait for the outcome of the lawsuit that hopefully is filed against all the bad actors in this situation. On the basis of what we are told in the article, the States actions were unjustified, arbitrary and beyond reason. Just because the State can do it does not mean they won’t pay a price for having done it.

        • Peter Leh

          The child prtective service does not take possession “unjustified, arbitrary and beyond reason”.

          “On the basis of what we are told in the article”

          perhaps the reason for not having all information? ::)

          • getstryker

            Oh, I absolutely agree . . . we don’t have all the information . . . we are both ‘speculating’ on the real reasons the children were taken.

          • getstryker

            On a completely different subject . . . may I ask – what is the symbol you use as your avatar? I have seen it before once or twice in other circumstances and I have wondered what it represents.

          • Peter Leh
          • getstryker

            I surmise that it’s the equivalent of the Star of David symbol used by the Nazis to designate Jewish persons and property in WWII. I’m a Vietnam vet (USMC 68-74) and just did not recognize it’s origin or meaning as it relates to recent IS and Iraqi war history. Thank you 😉

          • Peter Leh

            you are welcome.

            and thank you!

          • Peter Leh

            this is true. reading about this father and just the things he says about what is going on does not help me side with him.

            i could be wrong

          • Sam Imam- Eli

            Peter, you may want to google the number of lawsuits filed and won by parents/guardians against the state for doing precisely what you said they don’t do. You are putting way too much faith in DHS/CPS and the family court system. There are MANY in those organizations who have personal axes to grind and I have observed it myself where my father was essentially imprisoned because he did not agree to a state appointed guardian. It took my family over a year to get him removed from state custody and returned to his home.

          • Peter Leh

            every organization has exceptions. but this is not the rule.

            googling this family and reading other stories give more info that what is being reported here.

          • Sam Imam- Eli

            You may be surprised just how few rights parents and guardians have in family courts. If a dhs worker tells a judge they suspect abuse the kids are taken until a hearing. If you make a dhs worker angry you are in big trouble. Many such workers have extreme views on parenting often thinking the state is better at raising kids than parents. I’ve seen it many times with religious parents in my own community.

          • Peter Leh

            i have seen it as well.

            the point is i live similar to this “preacher” and i, even i, have not been cited or had a visit from CPS. ( not that it is proof)

            it is like a preacher i knew who was “falsely accused” of rape. he said he was being “persecuted” , no way it happened blah blah blah.

            i have been around for year and have not been accused of rape.

            my point is more than likely there is a reason. in this case the pldest son ( most likely) turned his parents in.

            and yes the pastor was lying and went on to rape another women and hung himself in his cell

        • weasel1886

          This article deletes a lot of information about this case

          • getstryker

            Thank you and yes, I do believe that you are correct . . . but based on what information is given . . . I’m not very happy with the State agency actions . . . we can only wait and see what happens.

          • weasel1886

            I want encourage you to search for other stories about this family and case. Most will show there is some serious concerns about these kids

      • Gary

        If there is proof of abuse or endangerment, then announce it. The family has the right to know what the parents are accused of. So do we have the right to know. This secrecy is intended to cover the a$$es of the government employees who have done wrong.

        • Peter Leh

          It i believe there is something to with privacy of minor(s) involved.

          the father and mother do know. ask them

  • FoJC_Forever

    The government agents involved are as condescending and controlling as many on this board are now. Don’t be baited by the trolls who talk to you as if you’re beneath them and must be “instructed”.

    Bad parents often do this when interacting with their children, simply because they don’t want to be bothered. It is commonplace for homosexuals and feminists to use condescending words and attitudes when engaging others, in order to put them on the defensive.

    Christians do not have to justify themselves to unbelievers.

    • Bruce Morrow

      That most correct. Believers in Jesus NEVER need to justify themselves to the ungodly! NEVER! 200% AGREED!

    • Sam Imam- Eli

      Indeed

  • Ray Watson

    WE NEED FAR LESS GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION !

  • chuckallan

    What a bunch of horse pucky!!

  • Marvels of life

    It seems obvious to me there is more at stake than just walking in the snow with no shoes on. I saw the info concerning the chemicals and if it is shown that the children were forced to drink the substance that may be an issue. If the children want to go to public schools I see nothing wrong with that, however if they are minor children the parents do have the right to private schooling. I think there are still a lot of unknowns related to this situation so its hard to really say much other than children should not be taken from their parents without some solid evidence of mistreatment. The article hasn’t made that evident yet. As a Christian, I believe in Christian values but I would fight for my children because of my love for them.

  • BarkingDawg

    Maybe they can be “Rehomed” with pedophiles. I hear that that is a strong Christian Tradition.

  • Rev Donald Spitz

    It seems there would be Christian lawyer organizations that would be glad to take this on.

  • kimsegar

    I realized what is being taught in public schools, took y three out . G-d Gave them to me, not government. gov is not my G-d . I brought them up on what G-d said: on the way they shall go. people best take a look at America , like it ?? hook up, drinking , drugs , rebellion aginst parents and they hate fov etc. G-d’s law is above any earthly law. think what you like, I am pround to STAND and because of that, I have three who never hooked up, took any drugs, and have honest Christian values. chose who you will serve today, is the day for Salvation..most churches today are twisting scripture as it is written. and to change, add to or take away G-d’s Word..He says is accursed.