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Three women from the YFZ Ranch have sent a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, asking him to intervene and return their children.

In the single-page letter dated Friday, the women say that the 416 children now staying at two state shelters are being traumatized.

The letter was signed by Monica Jessop, Patricia Keate and Shannon Johnson. They said about 15 mothers were away from the ranch when state authorities came and took away the children.

"We were contacted and told our homes had been raided, our children taken away with no explanation and because of [a] law enforcement blockade preventing entering or leaving the ranch, we were unable to get to our homes and had nowhere to go," the letter says.

They ask Perry to visit Fort Concho and the Wells Fargo Pavilion to see firsthand the living conditions there, describing them as appalling. Some children have become sick during the week they've been in state custody, and a few have required hospitalization, the women said.

"Our innocent children are continually being questioned on things they know nothing about," the letter states. The children have been "horrified" by physical exams they've undergone, the letter said. Officials say the exams were routine, basic and brief health checks that did not require the removal of clothing.

The women said they returned to the ranch, located in Eldorado, Texas, on April 9 to their "empty, ransacked homes, heartsick and lonely."

They said attempts to speak with state officials have been rebuffed, and they want Perry to hear their side of the story.

State officials have said that parents not currently with the children in state custody will not be allowed inside the shelters. A hearing to decide the children's fate, at least in the short term, is set for Thursday.