In recent weeks, there have been a number of stories in which CPS takes kids from a single parent who was struggling to balance work or a job search with caring for her kids. The latest parental horror story is no exception. Moshimalee Johnson, of North Carolina, says that CPS took her children because she tried to seek a safe shelter for them by any means necessary, including CraigsList.
Many of us are still reeling from the tale of Debra Harrell, who was arrested last week when she allowed her nine-year-old daughter to play in a park while she worked, which CPS called abandonment. Other moms have spoken out since, sharing stories of similar difficulties. They say they feel they can’t win. If they work, they can’t afford childcare. If they leave their children alone, they are taken. If they don’t work, they’re derided as lazy or they find themselves homeless.
For Durham, North Carolina mom Moshimalee Johnson, a lack of shelter and a lack of a job were already concerns. She told the News & Observer she had applied for housing assistance, but been turned away. She then sought aid from a local shelter, but it had a waiting list. With financial needs and one of her kids receiving neurological check-ups regularly after an accident, she found herself struggling to keep up the job search, but pressed on. In the meantime, she needed a safe place for her kids to sleep, so in desperation, Moshimalee turned to CraigsList.
While CraigsList has its own share of recent horror stories that make many of us shudder, Moshimalee felt she had nowhere else to turn, with all the usual options exhausted. Unfortunately, CPS disagreed. Moshimalee says that a social worker told her the posting was inappropriate and might expose the children to child molesters or other dangerous people.
The mother feels that her posting was misunderstood, or perhaps unclearly worded:
“Maybe I didn’t make myself clear. I didn’t want to give the kids up. I wanted a place for me and my kids.”
The NY Daily News says that a social worker would not comment on whether the posting was the reason Moshimalee’s kids were removed from her care.
While many of us might find the idea of seeking shelter for children via Craigslist frightening, it’s also frightening to think that CPS takes kids in a situation where a parent is trying and just needs a little help.