Black Friday. That one chaotic day when everyone seems to put their scruples and logic on the back burner in order to score the best deals. The day when otherwise rational human beings get into bloody fist fights over TVs, toys and shoes. Sometimes called the most dangerous shopping day of the year, Black Friday has a reputation of being violent, crazy and embarrassing. However, for one Emmett Township mother, the day resulted in her being arrested and losing temporary custody of her child.
Police reports show that several people called 911 to report an unattended toddler locked in a car near Harper Village shopping district in Battle Creek. Officers arrived at the scene and discovered a 3-year-old child locked in a vehicle. Officers were able to open the vehicle and get the child out. They waited for a while, but when no one came for the child, CPS was contacted.
CPS agents arrived and took the uninjured child.
They were able to locate family members who could house the child until the investigation is complete. When the woman finally arrived back at her car, more than an hour later, police were waiting for her. She was arrested and taken to the Calhoun County Jail on child abuse charges, pending arraignment. Although the police have not yet released the woman’s name, they have confirmed that she is a 41-year-old resident of Battle Creek
This scenario has played out many times before, in parking lots all over Michigan. Parents who can’t find babysitters, or don’t have a support system in place, sometimes make bad choices. But leaving young children alone at home, or unattended in a car is a recipe for disaster. Not only does it put that child at risk of being harmed, it puts the family at risk of CPS intervention.
Leaving a child unattended is like inviting CPS into your life!
Once a parent has been reported for leaving child unattended, even if the child wasn’t harmed, they are likely to be subject to CPS involvement for many months, if not years, to come. Whether this comes in the form of mandatory parenting classes and court ordered CPS home visits, or a full scale removal of that child from their home, it means CPS has a gilded invitation into your home. You lose your privacy, your ability to decide what’s best for your kids, and in more severe cases, your right to parent!
It also means that you could be placed on the Central Registry, which is also sometimes called the Child Abuser Registry. This can make it difficult to get a job, or volunteer at your children’s school. It also means that you will be labelled a child abuser by police and other authorities, even though CPS didn’t have to get a conviction to put your name on the list.
Be very careful with your children, both at home and in the car.
Long story short – be very careful where and with whom you leave your children. Never leave young children alone at home or in a vehicle. Never leave a young child in the care of another young child without an adult present. We cannot stress this enough! All it takes is one accident, one allegation, one person to call the cops, and your future gets rewritten. So take care, and ensure that your children are cared for as well. The alternatives simply aren’t worth the trouble!