Polgamist Mother Reunites with Children

Polgamist Mother Reunites with Children

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- After months in state custody, nine children of polygamist John Daniel Kingston were reunited with their mother on Saturday.

Heidi Mattingly had not seen the children since February. Last week a 3rd District Juvenile Court Judge Andrew Valdez ordered the state to begin reunification efforts.

Mattingly greeted her children with hugs outside her Taylorsville home.

"That's the first thing (we did)," said Mattingly, who has a total of 11 children with Kingston. "We didn't make it in the house."

Mattingly's children were taken into state custody at different times last year after allegations of abuse and neglect. The first left in February 2004 and is now in permanent custody with relatives. Eight more children were placed in state custody in October.

An infant has been allowed to remain in Mattingly's care.

On Saturday, the family had a two-hour visit, supervised by state social workers. Mattingly called the gathering, "very, very chaotic and very hectic and very positive."

A schedule of visitations that will lead toward permanent reunification should be in place early this week, Mattingly said. The transition plan will include additional supervised visits and family therapy.

After three-days of court hearings last week, Valdez ordered the family reunited, saying he wants the process complete before June.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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