Police discovered a cramped shed behind an Oak Cliff home where three kids were living in rundown conditions. Authorities are now trying to figure out if this is a case of a family in neglect –- or a family in need.
The shed, once a one-car garage, was home to three children: ages 6, 8 and 13. A passerby contacted Child Protective Services Thursday after the children were spotted alone.
Jacob Ortega says his mother is renting the property, and he is making repairs to both the big house and ‘the backhouse.’ It has electricity but no running water.
CPS decided the children couldn’t stay at the home but were allowed to move in with another family member. The agency wrote in a statement, “We will continue to investigate and offer the family any services that are available to them in their community.”
Ortega says his children aren't being hurt by their parents. He says they have just fallen on hard times.
“A lot of people know families that are struggling and call CPS,” Ortega said. “And to be put out there like that, I understand. It’s a serious issue.”
Ortega says he has a tiny space he's trying to make livable for himself, his family, two dogs, and a litter of kittens.
“We're not neglecting due to drinking and drugs, nothing like that,” said Ortega. “Anybody can have a situation.”
And while he isn’t happy with news cameras in his face and the state in his family business, he understands they have to check to make sure kids aren't being hurt.
“We love our children to death,” said Ortega. “And the allegations that have been made, they could have come talk to us first.”
Texas law says anyone who thinks a child, a person 65 or older or a person with disabilities is being abused or neglected must report it to the Department of Family Protective Services. A person who reports abuse in good faith is immune from civil or criminal liability. The name of the person reporting stays confidential.