DECATUR, TX (KTVT/CNN) - A man and a woman appeared in a Texas courtroom Wednesday for a custody hearing in a shocking case of apparent child neglect.
Andrew Fabila is father to one of four children belonging to Paige Harkins that were found living in squalor earlier this month.
Harkins and Fabila were arrested and charged with child endangerment. The sheriff described the conditions as an atrocity.
Department of Family and Protective Services took custody of the children.
Fabila walked into the Wise County Courthouse on Wednesday, appearing to be in better condition than the day deputies arrested him and Harkins two weeks ago.
She was there too, still in her jail uniform, as a judge decided her four kids need to continue living with someone else.
"The court decided the children will remain in foster care for now," said Marissa Gonzales, with the DFPS. "We'll come back for another hearing in a month and talk about any progress that we've made, any family members who might be able to care for the children, and what services the parents are going to engage in."
The parents are going to need to do a drug and alcohol assessment next. There was evidence of both at the renovated shed the day deputies discovered the kids.
The children were hungry, thirsty and covered in waste. Two were locked in a dog kennel.
"They weren't able to develop and flourish like most kids should be able to," said Chief Deputy Craig Johnson.
There is some evidence the situation could lead to long-term issues for those kids.
"There was some discussion today in court of some concerns that we have for developmental delays some of the children may have, so of course we'll be seeking treatment for them for those," Gonzales said.
The biological father of three of the children also attended the hearing, and the DFPS said there was mention of relatives who may be interested in caring for the kids, something the state will explore going forward.
The criminal child endangerment cases against the parents remain pending. The next hearing will be in a month.