A homeless father in Northern California is fighting to regain custody of his 5-year-old son after Child Protective Services caught wind of his living predicament.
Anthony Whigham and his son, Tsukiko (a.k.a “Suki”) were staying in a homeless encampment in Stockton, Calif., for several months. A snapshot of the boy went viral on Wednesday (Oct. 3) prompting community members, including Andreen Galindo, to offer to take the boy while his father went to work. Galindo took the boy with his father’s consent.
Child Protective Services showed up at her door a day after she shared the story on Facebook. Galindo admitted that she had a CPS case against her from 2011, which she subsequently violated by letting the boy spend the night. Suki was asleep when he was taken away by CPS.
“I’m extremely hurt because I know what my son’s going through,” Whigham told Stockton’s CBS affiliate. “What he does have is roof over his head, the best that I can provide at the time. You don’t take away someone’s child from a loving father that’s struggling very hard to take care of that child.”
Whigham has been homeless since his trailer burned down when his son was a toddler. He said that he was forced to sleep in the encampment, partially because shelters turn away men with children. Whigham’s focus is “continuing on the path” to regaining custody of his son, and finding housing.
See more in the video above.