One North Carolina mom lost custody of her five children after posting a Craigslist ad on July 9 searching for housing for them, the News and Observer reports.
Moshimalee Johnson reportedly tried to find housing assistance through Durham County Social Services but was unsuccessful, and so days later she put up the ad.
“Five kids in need of temporary home (durham nc),” the 32-year-old, who is currently eight months pregnant, wrote in the ad, according to the news site. “I am currently homeless and looking for someone to take my five kids until I can find a job and a place to live,” Johnson’s ad read. “I called DSS and they won’t take them. The shelter has a waiting list and [Durham Rescue Mission] won’t let you work if you come there. I am a certified nursing assistant but can’t find work due to numerous doctor’s appointments because my 6-year-old accidentally hung himself. Please help anyone.” Two days after Johnson posted the ad, her children—ages 9, 7 and 6, along with 2-year-old twins—were placed in foster care.
Michael A. Becketts, director of Durham Social Services, did not say whether the Craigslist ad was the reason her children were taken from her, the news site reports. Child Protective Services had been working with the family before the ad was placed, according to the news site. The children had also been getting trauma therapy after seeing their sibling—who survived—hanging in the closet after reportedly tying the ends of a yarn hat around his neck.
“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 mom told the News and Observer last Wednesday.
Johnson told the news site that she was merely searching for a housing situation close to where her children had medical, therapy and social service appointments, in hopes that the person living in the house would be able to watch her kids while she worked at night.
“They said a murderer or child molester could have come asking about them,” she said of a social worker who told her that her actions were “inappropriate.” Johnson said that her actions were done out of frustration after her search through the social service agency and local shelters proved unfruitful. The father of her children does help, the News and Observer reports, but is not able to provide a home for them.
Johnson’s problems began last year after her minivan broke down and she had to take the bus to her job with a home health care agency, where she earned $10 an hour for full-time work. Weeks later, she was fired for taking too many days off. She was subsequently evicted from her apartment after falling two payments behind with the rent.
Johnson, who had a job interview last week, hopes that she will regain custody of her kids once she secures a job and a home.
“I got what I asked for,” she said about her kids’ placement in foster care. “But I’m still looking for help.”
Read more at the News and Observer.