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Two parents are under fire for leaving their three kids unattended on a mall bench. Jean Seide, 39, and Bilaine Seint-Just, 36, had to work janitor shifts at the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York. According to Spectrum News, their eight-year-old, six-year-old, and one month old were left alone for about six hours. Employees of Lord & Taylor noticed the unattended children on a bench outside the store and they called the police around 8pm on Monday.

Now, both parents are charged with three counts of child endangerment. The parents are devastated by their charges, explaining that they just wanted to take care of their kids. The father said he made sure the kids had food and a cell phone, while the mother defended herself, tearfully saying she loved her children. Seide and Seint-Just were released from custody and are set to appear in court in April. Child protective services was also contacted for an investigation.

Ontario County Sheriff stated, “The criminal justice system may move in a direction to, again, keep these parents gainfully employed, but at the same time establish with them an understanding that a sound childcare system is certainly necessary during employment.” He further asserted, “Hopefully they learn from this and strengthen as a family unit.”

Such statements bring to question the parent’s access to affordable childcare and how communities invest in it. In some cases, insisting  that parents “strengthen as a family unit” might not be enough.

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