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Kids found living on school bus

(Photo: KTRK/CNN) (Photo: KTRK/CNN)

SPLENDORA, TX (KTRK/CNN) - The mother of the children found living on an abandoned school bus in Texas is speaking out from prison.

She thought the kids were being cared for by a relative.

It was supposed to be temporary housing while the Shorten family built a real home. However, the couple was convicted of embezzling a hurricane recovery loan - which they deny - and sent to federal prison. They asked that the aunt of their 5-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter stay here with the kids while they were serving their time.

"There's a flat screen TV on the wall and a computer on the desk. There's communication - a telephone there if 911 needed to be called," said the children's mom, Sherrie Shorten, via phone from prison.

She didn't know the yard is littered with trash, nor that the children were left alone during the day while their aunt commuted to and from Houston to support the children.

On Wednesday, a postal carrier reported the children's situation to authorities.

"At first I thought they were abandoned the way it looked," said postal worker Vanessa Vicazo.

They weren't abandoned just not supervised during the day, although neighbors are said to have looked in on them.

The 11-year-old girl talked to reporters before social workers arrived.

"We were never truly alone. We were never really alone," she said.

But they were when social workers arrived then they were placed into emergency foster care.

"We felt they were unsafe, there was also a concern about supervision and so those are things that we'll be talking to the family about," said Gwen Carter, Child Protective Services spokeswoman.

Their father will be released from prison in July and their mother gets out next month. She doesn't know what she will return to.

"I need to do something but I've got to get arrangements made so they can come back home," Shorten said.

Copyright 2012 KTRK via CNN. All rights reserved.

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