A Philadelphia toddler found wandering around a park in the Central City district was temporarily removed from his parents while officials investigated the family. The child’s parents, along with a four-year-old girl, were reportedly all sleeping in cardboard boxes when the young boy – a two-year-old named Jeremiah – wandered away.
Writes CBS Philly: “The little boy’s parents contacted police, reporting their two-year-old son was missing. The parents stated they had been kicked out of where they were staying Friday night and were spending the night in the park. Authorities say the parents fell asleep when the young boy wandered off.”
The toddler was checked out at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and was briefly under the care of the Department of Human Services.
“He pushed the box open and, barefooted, walked on these rocks and went all around,” said 24-year-old Michael Jones, the boy’s father. Jones said he and the mother of his kids, 27-year-old Angelique Roland, were forced into the streets when the shelters were full. “I don’t care if DHS takes the kids or not, as long as my kid is alive,” Jones says. “God works in mysterious ways. Maybe this will benefit us in the long run.”
The couple said they are out of work and were evicted. “If I had somewhere to go, I would be there,” Roland said. “I am not out here on the streets with my kids on purpose.” Police said the parents will not be charged.
The City of Brotherly Love has now responded. After the story went viral, job offers came in, and a local Marriott hotel granted the family a free room for a week. Meanwhile, an advocacy organization called Chosen 300 Ministries has started a campaign to raise $12,000 in 12 days for the family.
According to the local ABC affiliate, Brian Jenkins from Chosen 300 said the incident “doesn’t make them bad parents. It says they don’t have what they need to be able to survive.” The organization sent out a press release:
Chosen 300 has launched a campaign to raise $12,000 in 12 days to secure housing for this family for 1-year. In addition, our staff will be working with the family to provide case management, money management and social services to move them toward self-sufficiency. We know this family as they have come to our mission often to receive meals. We have witnessed their love and care for their two children, but have fallen on hard times.
If you would like to donate to the family of this Philadelphia toddler, head over to www.chosen300.org.