HOUSTON—A Child Protective Services hearing was held Tuesday for the two children who were found last March living in a bus in Montgomery County.
Mark and Sherrie Shorten were both serving time in jail for wire fraud and left their two young children in the care of their great aunt. The family lived in an old, abandoned school bus and the aunt was forced to work 12 hours a day to make ends meet. The children were often left to fend for themselves during most of the day and were alone when a postal worker discovered them on March 7, 2012.
The 11-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy were unkempt and the bus was filthy, so the worker grew very concerned. She immediately called authorities. The children were also not enrolled in school.
CPS swiftly removed the children and decided to hold them until the family could provide more suitable living conditions.
Their mother was released from jail in April and was allowed to see her children, but was not returned custody. The father wasreleased in July and happily reunited with the kids, but once again, were not allowed to take them home.
The judge on Tuesday told the children’s parents that they must get an environmental health and fire inspection on the bus before the children can be returned. The court also heard that Sherrie Shorten now has a job, which is considered another positive step for the children to be returned.
The judge ordered that the family should be allowed four hours of unsupervised time together per week. Previously, the family’s visits were confined to an office setting.