KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The 6-year-old boy left at a fire station after a man said he could no longer care for him has been reunited with his mother.
The man could technically face charges under Missouri's safe haven laws. While leaving a child with authorities is shocking, some child protection advocates applaud it.
"I think he made the safe choice," said Ann Thomas of The Children's Place. "Unfortunately, this was a positive form of abandonment. We have kids that come into this system and placed into state custody because parents have actually left them alone or they've been found walking in the streets."
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It doesn't have to take a catastrophe to trigger a parent's break, Thomas said. It may be as simple as a change of schedule.
When February's massive winter storms meant days off work and families trapped at home, three kids The Children's Place serves came back abused.
"When you feel that stressed, you ask for help," said Thomas. There are options, she insists, including going to The Children's Place located at 59th and Brookside Boulevard. No one, Thomas said, will be turned away from therapy, and there's help for both children and overwhelmed parents. The organization currently serves more than 70 children.
If you have don't have anywhere safe to take your child, the Salvation Army offers short-term crisis care at their children's shelter. It's designed as a lifeline for parents who have no other options and are going through things such as surgery or simply coming to a breaking point themselves. Contact the Salvation Army for more information at 816-756-1455.
Thomas adds that if you are a parent truly on the brink, do not hesitate to call 911. That, she feels, is essentially what this man did by going to authorities.
"It is okay to ask for help, and there shouldn't be legal ramifications for doing that," she said.
But the man who dropped off the 6-year-old could face criminal charges. Police said they are investigating the incident.