4-Year-Old Put in Foster Care After Parents Accidentally Leave Her at Park

4 year old left at park

Moms, imagine this nightmarish scenario: you take your daughter to a park for a family outing, where you have an unpleasant disagreement with your husband. Realizing that you both need time to cool off, you and your husband decide to leave in separate vehicles. In the confusion and emotional stress, both of you assume your daughter is with someone else. Still angry and wanting space from your husband, you head to a relative's house to spend the night -- only to learn 12 hours later that your daughter had been left behind, alone at the park.

This is what happened to a Kansas City couple recently, who accidentally left their 4-year-old at a park after both parents had a terrible miscommunication over who would be bringing little Zayshia Harris home. As if the mistake wasn't bad enough, now Harris is with a foster family as authorities work to determine if the parents should regain custody or not.

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Josh and Amanda Harris live with their five children, and they were fighting before they headed to a lake on Saturday with some friends. The disagreement continued at the park, and the parents -- who took separate vehicles -- left without talking to one another. Amanda Harris believed her stepmother was responsible for taking her 4-year-old daughter Zayshia home, and Josh believed Zayshia was with Amanda, but in fact no one managed to collect the girl before everyone left.

That's when Amanda chose to spend the night elsewhere. Both parents continued to believe the other person had Zayshia, since they never got in contact with one another.

Zayshia was found in the playground area near the front entrance, and police took control of the girl after the parents couldn't be located. More than 12 hours later, Amanda was alerted by a relative who saw Zayshia's photo on the local news channel's Facebook page. According to Amanda,

So I called her dad screaming and crying and trying to see where she was. Then that's when he starts screaming, 'She's with you. She's with you.' And we just kept screaming and yelling.

Amanda rushed to the police department, where she learned her daughter was in foster care. A judge will determine later this week whether the child should be returned to the care of her parents, but until then, she remains in protective care.

Oh man. On the one hand, it's hard for me to wrap my head around how this could happen because I can't personally imagine a scenario where I'm so mad at my husband, I don't even check in before spending the night away from home. But I know fights happen, and considering this is a big family and there were lots of people involved that day, I can see how it was a horrible accident rather than a case of outright negligence. Thank god she was found safe and sound and hadn't wandered into the lake.

It does seem really sad that the girl is in foster care while the authorities verify this couple's separate accounts of what happened. Assuming it really was an awful mistake, you know they already feel devastated by the whole thing. It must feel like a bad dream to not being able to bring their daughter home, and I'm sure it's scary for Zayshia too.

The parents say they've learned their lesson from this incident. Amanda says,

My daughter is going with me from now on. If someone needs a ride, I'm sorry, but my girls are staying in my car.

Josh, to his wife:

From now on, when there's an argument, I'm sleeping on the couch, and you can have the bedroom.

What do you think about this story -- does it seem right that the child is in foster care while authorities figure it out?


Image via ajari/Flickr

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