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You almost have to feel for this woman. On Wednesday, New Jersey mom Sheena Johnson was charged with child endangerment for leaving her two children in a storage unit -- alone. The kids are ages 5 and 10 -- oddly enough, those are the dimensions of the unheated storage unit as well, 5 by 10 feet. Johnson says they'd been living in the unit for a month because they had no other options.
That sounds awful for the family, doesn't it? Well, it gets worse. Here's how the police found out about the kids in the storage unit in the first place: They had arrested Johnson for supposedly slashing her boyfriend's tires and couldn't get a straight answer from her about who was taking care of her children.
Oh Lord, what a mess. The one non-depressing detail in this story is that Johnson's $50,000 bail was raised by community members. It sounds like maybe someone had her back after all. You can only imagine what must have led her to 1) slash her boyfriend's tires and 2) move into a storage unit. It sounds like she was in trouble -- maybe she was fleeing an abusive situation.
But what I keep wondering is if her community could raise $50,000 for bail, why couldn't they help her find a better living situation before all of this happened? And was this really Johnson's best option? Couldn't someone have taken her to a women's shelter? Maybe someone tried and it just didn't work out.
At any rate, obviously a storage unit is no place to raise a family -- and definitely a terrifying place to leave your children unattended. She clearly showed poor judgment (hello, slashing tires, not a great example for your kids, mom!). But don't people with poor judgment still deserve help -- especially when there are innocent kids involved? I think so. I hope someone can help her find a better home for herself and her children.
Do you think there are enough safe options for homeless mothers and their kids?
Image via Stefan Andrej Sambora/Flickr