Shari Pulliman

Shari_Pulliam

Russian orphans placed in new home, Texas cooperating with Russia - Part One

Download audio file  29 May, 20:05  

The authorities in the U.S. state of Texas are working with Russian Officials and keeping the Russian Government informed of the situation regarding three Russian siblings, Alex, Anastasia and Svetlana Klimov, who were adopted and taken to the United States. The case got international attention when the children were removed from the home by the State of Texas because of neglect and abuse. The Voice of Russia’s John Robles interviewed Shari Pulliam, with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (the department handling the case), after the latest hearing, during which the girls were placed in a new home.

Robles: Can you tell our listeners a little bit about what is going on with the case of the Klimov children? They had a hearing on the 21st.

Pulliam: Yes, there was. Relinquishment papers were filed and accepted by the court last Tuesday May 21st .

The adoptive parents, the Deckerts relinquished their parental rights and so all rights towards children were terminated by the judge last Tuesday.

Robles: So, this is official now; the parents have no more rights over the children, at all?

Pulliam: That is correct. The judge accepted the parental rights relinquishment papers. They were filed with the court and they were accepted so the Deckerts have no contact or rights to the children any longer.

Our agency, the department, was granted PMC which is Permanent Managing Conservatorship but there was also a family in the court room that wanted the girls be placed with him.

They were a family from the community the girls had lived in previously, they knew the girls from the community and they asked the judge to place the girls in their home and the judge agreed.

Robles: So, the girls have good home to live in right now?

Pulliam: That is exactly right, they are out of the group home they were living in in foster case, and they are placed in a traditional 2-parents family.

Robles: Does that family, do they have a lot of children?

Pulliam: They have older children and I do believe they have one daughter that still lives in the home but she is also older, close to an adult.

Robles: You are familiar with the living conditions. Are they better off now than they were?

Pulliam: I saw pictures that the family presented to the court as a home study had been done on this family previously, they had their own contracted home study done.

It’s a very nice brick home. The girls have their own rooms.

They girls were in the court room, the judge let them come in and hear the court proceedings.

They were very excited when the judge granted the family, the right to take the girls with them to live.

Now the department is still involved, we are not out of the case yet. We are still monitoring the placement making sure that it is a good fit for the girls and we will continue to do that for several months.

Robles: Each of the girls, they have their own rooms, you said?

Pulliam: Yes, they do, they have their own rooms, which of course teenage girls love that, so they were very excited.

From a look in the courtroom, at the family and the girls, it seemed like a really good fit, the family was excited, they stood up, talked to the judge, the judge talked to them.

The girls had tears in their eyes at the end of the court hearings. They were happy that they were not going back to the Deckerts and they were happy with the new placement.

Robles: Can you give us the name of the new family? Is that possible?

Pulliam: The new family is the Tice family that live there in that same community, so the girls were familiar with them.

Robles: Can you give us their first names?

Pulliam: I don’t know their first names right of hand John, I’m sorry.

Robles: So, Mr. and Mrs. Tice. The exact same community, the same town?

Pulliam: Well, not exactly the same town though, a town close by, these are small towns here, so their neighboring towns, that are little small communities that the girls are going to be able to go to the same school district that they were previously in when they lived with the Deckerts, and they were very excited about going back to the same group of friends and teachers that they had been with over these past several years.

Robles: Texas is pretty spread out, so I mean the towns could be 40 or 50 miles apart, I guess, right?

Pulliam: Right, they could be. But in this case they are very close.

Robles: So, they are going to go back in the same school and everything is great, it sounds like.

Pulliam: The girls are really excited, they asked the judge in the very beginning when he spoke to them, they wanted to be placed back in the same community and go back to the same school, and he promised he would try to do that if all possible.

Well this family came forward, they are not licensed through our agency or anything like that. They presented their own home study to the judge, he read it, and the attorney applied them and the court appointed special advocates were all in favor of them going with this family.

Robles: This is a private family, I mean they don’t run like their own group home or anything like that, right?

Pulliam: They are not a licensed foster family with our agency, they have no other foster children or any children in their home but, like I said, their own biological daughter, which is older.

Robles: Were there any Russian officials in court on the 21st?

Pulliam: There was. There was one Russian official from the consulate out of Houston.

Robles: He just took notes or what happened there?

Pulliam: He sat very quietly as he had before and took notes, he did speak to the girls for a second after the court hearing. He did meet the family and I saw him shake their hands and that was about all.

Robles: There’s been no complaints from his side or from the Russian side about access or anything?

Pulliam: No, not at all. We worked very closely with him, we had good working relationship with him. He is a very nice gentleman, he comes, he sits, he listens. We let him know exactly what is going on because it can be a little confusing in family court if you’ve not been in a court hearing with a CPS case. But he has been very helpful and we feel that we’ve been helpful to him too.

Robles: That is great. Does he have access, I mean if he wanted to, can he go and just check on the welfare of the children?

Pulliam: Yes, I believe that he can do that.

Robles: Ok, will your office assist in that?

Pulliam: Yes, we will, we have been very forthcoming with information to him and he is welcome to go look at the home and I am sure probably to get a copy of the home study if he’d like.

The home study had pictures of the home, it has pictures of their other children, it has pictures of them. It was a home study done by a private contractor that they hired.

Like I said, they are not a licensed foster family through our agency. So, this is something that the judge decided his self to do.

This was not a CPS decision, but he also wanted CPS to stay involved in the case, that way we can monitor and make sure that everything is going fine with the girls.

Robles: Will the Russian officials have access to do inspections or whatever until the girls are 18?

Pulliam: If they decide to adopt, then until the adoption is final, then I do believe they will be able to do that.

Once the adoption is final, then those are their children, so I don’t know how that would work out.

The family was very forthcoming saying “we welcome you into our home, we welcome anybody at any time to come by, check on things”, they were very open and honest. So, I don’t think that they would have a problem with that. But if the family does plan on adopting, that will be down the road somewhat.

Robles: Are they aware on international implications and the international concerns regarding the girls?

Pulliam: Yes, they are very aware of this case, they have been aware of this case for quite some time.

Robles: I see. Now, the sad story about the brother, did he showed up at all?

Pulliam: He has not. He has not shown up, we have not had any luck at finding him at this point.

 

The Klimov Sisters are Safe, Brother Still Missing - Part Two

Download audio file   19 June, 18:14  

сша усыновление дети издевательство Алексей Анастасия Климовы родители американцы Майкл и Пенни Декерт

Alexei and Anastassia Klimov

When three Russian orphans were taken away from their U.S. adoptive parents by the Texas Department of Child and Protective Services for neglect and abuse, the story made international headlines and once again focused the world’s attention on the plight of Russian orphans who are adopted by Americans and then abused or killed. Shari Pulliam the official spokesperson and the media specialist for the Texas Department of Child and Protective Services is working to make sure the Klimov children are safe and perhaps this time the story has a happy end.

You are listening to an interview in progress with Shari Pulliam, the Spokesperson for the Texas Department of Child and Protective Services

Robles: The sad story about the brother, has he showed up at all?

Pulliam:He has not. He has not shown up. We had no luck in finding him at this point. We are hoping now maybe if someone gets word to him that his sisters are placed with the family there, that maybe he would also want to come live there. We don’t know if the Tices want that. We don’t know if that is even an option, but hopefully if he hears this or he is listening, we want him to know that his sisters are very happy in their current placement and they would like to have contact with him.

Robles: There has been no contact whatsoever with him, right?

Pulliam:There has been no contact from our agency with him at all, no.

Robles: Is he on children’s lookout list?

Pulliam:He is on the Missing and Exploited Children’s website, and he is listed on there with a picture. He has been on there for quite some time.

Robles: How old is he? He should be 18 about now, no?

Pulliam:He was 17, I think he is going to be 18 in the fall of this year, so he will turn 18 this year. So he will turn 18 this year.

Robles: What is going to happen then?

Pulliam:Once he turns 18 we have no jurisdiction on him at all. Hopefully he is safe and maybe he is working, maybe he’s found another family to live with. We’re just not sure. We have not had any contact with him since last summer when he ran away.

Robles: Does he have U.S. citizenship, or what? Do you know anything about that?

Pulliam:I don’t know anything about that, no.

Robles: Then it’s possible he could be subject to deportation or something or what would happen if, say, he doesn’t have US citizenship?

Pulliam:Well, the girls won’t be subject to that, so I don’t think that that would be a problem. I think they have dual citizenship actually, still, since they were born and stayed sometime in Russia, and then when they came here, and adopted from the Deckerts. I do believe that they were given American citizenship. I am not positive about that but I think that would be the case.

Robles: I see. They’ll have Russian until they are 18 regardless of whether they have American or not. So that’s the concern with most of the Russian officials because any child that was adopted in Russia, has Russian citizenship until they’re18 and they consciously give it up themselves, of their own will.

Pulliam:We will make sure that if he does come forward, we will make sure that he has a safe placement until he turns 18 and then we will help him after that, you know if he is willing to come into the foster care system. We have offered that out there, but we haven’t heard from him.

Robles: I was kind of hoping last time we talked, that maybe he would have heard you give the phone number, but… Can you do that again?

Pulliam:Yes, my direct line is 409-951-3351. I am located in Beaumont, Texas. He can call me any time or if anybody knows the whereabouts of him, we would like to reunite him with his sisters or at least let him have contact with them.

Robles: 409-951-3351. Can you tell us, I know it’s a little hard on the radio, but can you tell us a little bit about what he might look like? Maybe he has a habit or… ?

Pulliam:I haven’t seen a picture of him in a long time John so I am not going to give a description. A teenage-17-year-old-boy, dark hair.

Robles: Does he speak with an accent?

Pulliam:They can go onto the website. They can look and see his is as Zackary Deckert and that is how he is listed on the Missing and Exploited Children’s website.

The girls; they’re really cute girls. They were really excited about their going to live with this new family. They didn’t have any complaints. They sat there patiently waiting, waiting. You know. There were tears of joy, I do believe, when the judge ruled it that way.

Robles: It really sounds like; a “happy end” actually.

Pulliam:We hope that and we feel that way. We’re just waiting to see, of course, we are going to monitor the situation.

The girls have access to call their case worker at any time.

The case worker will be out there to visit them at least once a month and I think that the judge (I know the judge) is really watching this case and he wants it to work out, he is very involved in it.

So, there’s a lot of eyes on the Tices and the girls right now. So, we hope that it works out in their favor also.

Robles: Okay. You can add the eyes of half of Russia as well watching what is going on. So, the family; they have a good background and everything?

Pulliam:Yes, from reading the home study they did do. They are well respected in the community. They had some support there in the court room, it seemed like the attorneys and the attorney at litem for the children were very in favor of this placement. If not, it wouldn’t have happened.

Robles: Okay. Is there going to be another hearing?

Pulliam:Yes, there is going to be another hearing and that hearing will take place on July 30th and that is a status hearing to update the court on what is going on, let them know we’ve been out there, how the girls are doing, how the Tices are doing, let everybody… You know, keep everybody updated on the case and that will be on July 30th.

Robles: And you are going to be going out… how often to check on them? Once a month?

Pulliam:At least once a month. Probably more than that considering what the girls have been through and we want to make sure since this is not one of our licensed families that everything is going fine.

Robles: That’s good. Are the girls okay? I mean they’re adjusting, not having any problems in school? They are not too traumatized? How are they?

Pulliam:They seem to be really fine. They are as cute as can be. Drak-haired. Really pretty little girls and they adjusted well in the group placement that they were in. But I mean that’s not, you know, a traditional family home and we want to move children traditional family homes as quick as we can. And so this placement came forward and we are glad we were able to do that.

Robles: Ok, thank you very much Shari I really appreciate it and nice to hear a happy story for a change.

Pulliam:It is a very happy story. I will keep you updated, we can e-mail back and forth and we can talk and I will let you know how the girls are doing. If the adoption goes forth that would be a great story also to talk about. So, we can visit that if that happens.

Robles: That would be great. Take care. Bye-bye.

Pulliam:Take care. Bye-bye.

This is John Robles. You were listening to an interview with Shari Pulliam, the Spokesperson for the Texas Department of Child and Protective Services.

Russian children not singled out, last year 221 children died in Texas - official

Download audio file   18 April, 2013 05:03  

Декерт Алексей, Анастасия и Светлана Климовы усыновление сша усыновление домhttp://m.ruvr.ru/2013/04/18/00/photo123.JPG

The deaths, abuse and neglect of children in the United States is not limited to Russian orphans and in the State of Texas alone last year there were 221 children who died while in the care of their parents or caregivers. The Texas authorities are working with Russian Officials and keeping the Russian Government apprised of the situation of three Russian siblings, with the surname Klimov, who were adopted and taken to the United States. The Voice of Russia’s John Robles interviewed Shari Pulliam, with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (the department handling the case), for the latest in a case that has attracted international attention.

Hello this John Robles I am speaking with Shari Pulliam, she’s the Media Specialist for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Greeting

Robles: I understand there was a hearing yesterday there in Texas regarding the Russian children; the sisters Anastasia and Svetlana Klimova and their brother, they were adopted there in Texas. Can you tell us what is the State of Texas doing right now to ensure the safety of the children?

Pulliam: Right, there was a court hearing today in Hardin County, Texas, where the children have lived since they’ve been here in Texas. The judge granted our department, Child Protective Services, temporary managing conservatorship of those children. They were removed on March 21th from the home they had been living in, they are currently in the foster care system in Texas.

Robles: Can you give us some details about why?

Pulliam: Yes I can. The children made allegations of physical neglect and physical abuse by the adoptive parents.

We are currently investigating this case right now, we asked the parents to place them out of the home with family or friends. They were not able to give us any names of any family or friends that the children could stay with during the investigation, so the department took custody.

Robles: Were the parents residents of Texas? Where do they come from?

Pulliam: Yes, they are residents of Texas, they are residents of Hardin County.

Robles: Are parents who adopt internationally given more leeway by state agencies?

Pulliam: This case was handled just like any other Child Protective Services case, we had nothing to do with this initial adoption. We investigate abuse and neglect.

Robles: Do parents who adopt internationally, in the United States, do they have to follow less stringent conditions to adopt children?

Pulliam: When we get an allegation of abuse and neglect, we are going to treat every family the exact same, it is not going to matter if the child was adopted internationally or here, or if they are biological children.

Robles: What about the brother? Apparently the sisters had a brother named Alex, he ran away from home. Do you know anything about him? What is his status right now?

Pulliam: The brother, his name Zackary here in the states, he is 17 years old at this time, he has been missing since June of 2012. He is on a “Missing and Exploited Children” website, we have been actively pursuing his whereabouts with law enforcement, but we have had no luck so far.

Robles: There is no clue as to where he may be?

Pulliam: No.

Robles: Is there any suspicion on the parents that something happened to him, or…? God forbid!

Pulliam: No, not at all. There have been no allegations as to that.

Robles: Have the sisters expressed any desire to return to Russia?

Pulliam: No, they have not.

Robles: What is the current status of the case, I mean, do you think they will be going back to the parents soon or do you think they will not ever be going back?

Pulliam: We don’t look for them to go back to the parents. They are currently in foster care, where they will be until another court hearing on May 1st. We will present more facts of the case then, to the judge. It depends on what the parents plan to do, we have heard that they want to relinquish their parental rights. We are going to just have to look at that, when that time comes.

Robles: At that time if the girls decide to come back to Russia, will they be allowed to do that?

Pulliam: Well, I mean they are minors right now, if there was some that came forward, that we wanted to do a home study on, that wanted to adopt them, or they could prove that they were family or something like, that could be something we could look at. But right now we have no plans for that.

Robles: Has your office been in contact with any Russian officials since this case began?

Pulliam: There was a Russian official in court today.

Robles: Can you tell us anything what happened?

Pulliam: He was just there observing, taking note. We have been in touch with the Russian authorities all throughout this case, so they are apprised of what is going on.

Robles: You, guys, are pretty much working together, there is no conflict there?

Pulliam: No, not at all, we are working very much together for whatever is best for the girls, that’s what we want. We want them to be safe and healthy and Texas is providing a home for them right now, they are happy, they are together and they are safe, that is what we want for them.

Robles: Do you think the brother might show up if things kind of stabilize?

Pulliam: Maybe that is possible. If he has any contact here, or he is talking to anyone here, maybe. If he is listening we would like to help him also, we want to offer him a place to stay. We want him to know that his sisters are ok, that they would like to speak to him. We would like to have all of the kids placed together if at all possible.

Robles: If you’d like, since we are here on the radio, maybe he is listening, would you like to give us a phone number, he might want to call?

Pulliam: Sure, he can call the local CPS office, my personal number at 409-951-3351. We would love to send someone to pick him up. We want to make sure that he knows that his sisters are safe and they are doing fine.

Robles: And that was 409-951-3351, and his name in Russian is Alex, in the United States it is Zackary, correct?

Pulliam: Yes sir, that is correct.

Robles: On a cultural note, do you think that there is a culture of violence in the US that might be transposed on children? Do you think it is just unfortunate incident?

Pulliam: I think it is unfortunate, the investigation is still ongoing. We are not placing any blame on anyone at this point. Law enforcement is also investigating. We will have to see what the outcome of the investigation is.

Robles: What would you say to people that say that Russian children are being targeted or being abused more than other children?

Pulliam: I think the statistics do not show that at all. You know, Texas children are abused, we had 221 Texas children die last year in the hands of their parents or caregivers. I don’t think that any type of children, race or nationality is singled out. It happens in homes all across America every day and we treat every case as the exact same. We are going to protect children, that is our job, and that is what we do.

Robles: You don’t think Russian orphans are just being targeted or something, right?

Pulliam: No, I do not. Not at all.

Robles: Is there anything that you think that the government could do, or society could do, in general to ensure the safety of these little people?

Pulliam: I think that adoption agencies need to be held maybe to higher standards. We need to make sure there are the correct home studies. Checks are done on families that are going to adopt anywhere across the USA, or in Texas, and I think people need to make reports if they think that a child has been abused or neglected, they need to call their local hotline immediately.

Robles: Do you think economic factors.. I mean if there is an economic downturn, do you see more cases of abuse in children, whereas for more affluent individuals there might be less abuse? Do you see a correlation?

Pulliam: It is across the board, you know. Economics do play a part sometimes and when families are stressed, they are stressed! They’re stressed about financial problems about personal problems and sometimes that does bring out more abuse and neglect but I don’t think it happens in any certain economic bracket more than others.

Robles: Apparently the parents were on hard times or something, at the beginning things were better. Is that true?

Pulliam: I don’t have any information on that now.

Robles: Anything else you would like to tell the world?

Pulliam: Texas has removed these 2 children, we are protecting them, they are in foster care and they are doing fine right now. We are going to do everything we can to make sure that they stay safe.

Robles: Your number if anybody is interested in the case or has some information, they can call from anywhere in the world, right: (00-1)-409-951-3351.

Pulliam: That is correct.

Robles: Thank you very much. I really appreciate it Sheri.

Pulliam: Okay. Thank you.

You were listening to an interview with Shari Pulliam, she’s the Media Specialist for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Thanks for listening.

Update: According to Shari Pulliam the correct number of child deaths in Texas was 212 and not 221.

 

Last Update: 07/16/2017 18:40 +0300

 

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