Years Pass before CPS takes custody of Russian Siblings Adopted - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Years Pass before CPS takes custody of Russian Siblings Adopted By Texas Couple

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The small Texas town of Silsbee seems like an unlikely topic of conversation in Russia.

But yet Russian journalists have converged on this wood frame house and cluttered yard seeking answers from the middle aged couple inside.

"Of course this is a big deal in Russia because a lot of families in the United States adopted Russian children," said Russian journalist Nina Vishneva.

The two sisters and older brother are teenagers now.

But they were only 3, 5 and 7-years-old when they left Russia after being adopted by Mike and Penny Deckert from Silsbee.

"In 2004 we first came in contact with the Deckert family," said CPS spokesperson Shari Pulliam.

And Child Protective Services admits, the couple was the target of many allegations of physical abuse and neglect involving their adopted children from Russia.

"The majority of those cases were ruled out," Pulliam said. "We did not substantiate the abuse and neglect. There was one case we did substantiate physical abuse."

For years CPS says it provided services to the family but didn't take the children into protective custody.

"I had a contract with Child Protective Services for 4 years," said licensed counselor Diane Black.

In August of 2008 Black said CPS asked her to do a home study on the 3 adopted children from Russia.

"The little boy he was 12-years-old, was running away from home repeatedly," Black said.

The boy whose American name is Zachary told Black he was repeatedly locked in a small windowless room, sometimes for days with only a mattress and a bucket.

"And he told me he couldn't make any noise when he was in the room," Black said. "And if he did the adoptive mother would go in and beat him with a stick."

In her report to CPS Black recommends that the children be taken into protective custody, as soon as possible.

That didn't happen.

"If we would have thought the abuse and neglect was happening we would have took custody at that time," Pulliam said.

A year later Black was back at the house because she says the boy was constantly running away.

The adoptive father, according to Black wanted CPS to take the boy.

"And he told me and I quote, I'm tired of waiting on CPS I want someone to come get this child, I don't want him I want him out of my house," Black said.

Black says Mike Deckert signed this document stating he wanted the boy in CPS custody.

"And the man was saying in front of the child he's horrible I don't want him get him out of her," Black said.

Zach was taken into protective custody and placed in a 16-bedroom foster home Black operated that took in kids who had become wards of the state.

When CPS later returned Zach to his home in Silsbee, Black kept pushing CPS going as far as contacting the agency's commissioner.

"Because I told that little boy I will help you, I promise I will help you," Black said. "No one's going to hurt you anymore."

In May of 2009 the licensed counselor took matters into her own hands.

With no state approval she took all three children to Austin where the CPS Commissioner agreed to meet with them.

The price Black would pay for that decision would be steep.

Was it worth it?

"Yes it was," Black said through her tears. "Yes it was."

CPS had the licensed counselor arrested.

With Black now facing criminal charges CPS took all the other at risk children the agency had placed in her foster home.

"And I watched the children leaving and I said God someday someone is going to have to answer for this," Black said.

"Alot of people are angry at Americans," Vishneva said.

Meanwhile the Russians were demanding answers from CPS.

Zach had run away again and had been missing for almost a year while the girls remained in the home.

"They (CPS) did wait too long," the Russian journalist said.

In March CPS took the girls into protective custody, around the same time the Russian embassy in Washington started asking questions.

The Deckert's decided they no longer wanted the three Russian kids.

"They have asked our agency to prepare relinquishment papers for the three children," the CPS spokesperson said.

Twice the Deckert's scheduled on-camera interviews with us, but backed out of both just hours before.

Off-camera Penny Deckert told us the children made up lies and quote, "CPS got what they wanted."

"Here in Texas we are doing the best we can to keep children safe regardless of what nationality they are," said Pulliam.

While CPS denies any wrongdoing in this case, some Russians and Diane Black still wonder.

Would a quicker response from CPS changed the outcome?

It was too much harm done to too many people, too many children," Black said. "For absolutely no reason whatsoever."

The criminal charges CPS sought against Black were recently dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

 

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