A Fife couple who have given temporary and permanent homes to scores of children since the 1970s lost custody Wednesday of eight children between ages 8 and 16 they had been sheltering.
Bob and Linda Cornyn, who live in a 21-bedroom home presented to them by federal officials in 1988 — when they were raising 28 children, three of whom were biologically theirs — said the state Department of Social and Health Services removed the children Wednesday under a court order.
Two other children in the home were removed in a related action in November, Bob Cornyn said.
A DSHS spokeswoman would not confirm the situation, citing confidentiality laws.
Bob Cornyn, 71, said he and his wife have taken care of more than 70 children since 1979, when they adopted five children from a South Korean orphanage while overseas on U.S. Army duty.
All of the children have been placed with the Cornyns by their families, he said, and “35 or 40, perhaps” eventually were formally adopted by the Cornyns over the years.
He said a large percentage of the children have had physical or mental handicaps their biological parents were unable to cope with.
“We fought with the school district to get the right placements for them,” Bob Cornyn said. “That’s what we do. That’s what we spend our time doing.”
He said DSHS began an investigation in early November that led to the removal of the 10 children from the Cornyns’ home, where they also house 16 disabled adults and three adopted 17-year-olds.
He said that among the couple’s current children was a 13-year-old girl who told a doctor of sexual contact with another teenager. Cornyn said he doubted the story, because the girl had difficulties differentiating between reality and fiction.
Cornyn said the doctor reported the allegation, and child protection officials interviewed the other children in the home. Among them was an autistic 8-year-old who allegedly mentioned other inappropriate contact.
Those two children were placed in foster custody in November, he said.
Cornyn said investigators cited a court order Wednesday without giving him a copy and removed the remaining eight children to temporary placements.
Cornyn said he has a hearing with state officials Friday.
He said this is the first time in the couple’s decades of taking in children that any have been removed from their custody. He said three previous investigations of their family have been found without merit.