Accidentally Leaving Your Child In A Park Doesn’t Warrant Losing Custody

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swingsA four-year-old girl is in protective custody after her family accidentally left her behind at a park. If making an honest mistake like this is enough to have your child taken from you, I may never leave the house with my kids again.

Josh and Amanda Harris of Kansas City, Kansas have five children ranging in age from four to nine years old. They took the children to Wyandotte County Lake Park and when it was time to leave, Josh took their two sons in one car and Amanda took their two older daughters in another car. Both parents believed that Amanda’s stepmother was taking their youngest daughter Zayshia. According to Fox4 News, Josh Harris says there was a “break-down in communication” that led to the little girl inadvertently being left behind. 

People at the park saw Zayshia alone and alerted the authorities. The authorities released her picture to news outlets to alert the public. Ten hours after the Harris family left the park, a family friend recognized Zayshia’s picture on the news and called Amanda Harris, who rightfully freaked out when she saw her daughter on the television.

The Harris’ say this is the first time anything like this has ever happened and that they are very grateful nothing happened to their daughter while she was unsupervised.

I can’t bring myself to judge the Harris family for leaving their daughter behind because I can see how it would happen. Growing up I spent most weekends with my extended family and a whole mess of cousins, so sleepovers and going to Grandma’s to play happened frequently and often without advanced planning. I can easily see how parents could think a child was in the care of a relative and that relative could assume the child decided to go with her parents.

The emotions the Harris’ must have felt when they saw their daughter on the news is punishment enough. Mistakes in parenting happen. While this was a big mistake, it wasn’t intentional and luckily no one was hurt. There’s no need for the family to be further traumatized by keeping Zayshia away from her family. The Harris’ are scheduled to appear in court this week regarding custody. Here’s hoping they are reunited with their daughter and can start working to put this incident behind them.

(Image: TOMO/Shutterstock)