Evaluations delay state's return of church

The release of additional children seized from House of Prayer families was delayed Wednesday until a judge reviews reports of their psychological evaluations.

Thirty-five of the 49 children taken into protective custody after an abuse investigation were released Friday. That day, Chief Judge Sanford Jones of Fulton County Juvenile Court ordered state social workers to complete evaluations of all but one of the remaining 14 children "by Wednesday." Afterward, Jones told negotiators for the church, "each child will be returned . . . with the exception of those children with emotional, sexual or physical damage that can't be handled by the family."

But the state Division of Family and Children Services did not deliver the evaluations to the judge until late Wednesday afternoon. Children could be released as early as today. "It just means one more day of waiting," said state Rep. Tyrone Brooks (D-Atlanta), one of the lawmakers who negotiated for the children's release.

The final child's examinations won't be complete until June 15.