A court in Quebec has ordered 14 children from an extremist haredi Orthodox sect to be placed in foster care and receive psychological support.
The children’s parents also were ordered to turn over their passports, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation reported.
The parents, members of the Lev Tahor, or Pure Heart, were not present in the courtroom in St, Jerome during Wednesday’s hearing. Instead, an attorney was sent by the parents, according to the CBC.
The judge had ruled on a request by Quebec’s youth protection services to remove the 14 children from two families from their homes and place them in foster care.
The members of Lev Tahor left their homes in Quebec early last week out of fear that Canadian welfare authorities would take their children. The group of 200, including more than 130 children, has settled in Chatham-Kent, a southwestern Ontario town of 108,000 several hundred miles from Quebec.
Some in the group already have purchased homes in the new location, and the rest are living in a local motel. Ontario reportedly has liberal requirements for faith-based home schooling.
The sect, led by Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Helbrans, reportedly uses extreme violence and mind control. Most of its members are Israeli-born with Canadian-born children.
Quebec youth protection services told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. earlier this week that there are concerns that the children were neglected. The children reportedly were forced to live in the homes of families other than their own for punishments.