The Supreme Court in the U.S. state of Texas has ruled that officials had no right to remove hundreds of children from a polygamist religious group's compound.
The court ruled Thursday that the children should be returned to their parents, saying that child welfare officials overstepped their authority in taking them out of their homes.
Officials with Child Protective Services placed more than 400 children in foster care in April after removing them from a ranch owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Child welfare officials alleged the sect was pushing underage girls into marrying older men and grooming boys to become future perpetrators of abuse.
Parents denied the children were being abused and appealed the removal of the children from the ranch.
The court's ruling upholds a decision by an appellate court last week that said the children must be returned to their parents. It is not clear how soon that may happen, but the appellate court had ruled it should take place within a reasonable amount of time.
The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a breakaway sect of the Mormon church, which renounced polygamy more than a century ago.Some information for this report was provided by AP.