Mom accused of leaving kids home alone now suspended and struggling

Tiffany Smith (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)
Tiffany Smith (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - The Jonesboro mother arrested for leaving her children home alone while she went to work is now suspended from her job.

Tiffany Smith says she was doing the best she could working overnight at WalMart just trying to make ends-meet for her family.

"I don't want to make any excuses. I just want to take care of my kids. I don't want to be rich. I just want to be OK," Tiffany Smith said Monday.

Right now, 29-year-old Tiffany Smith is far from OK. The mother of four was arrested at work the night of Sunday April 28th for leaving her children at home with her 11-year-old in charge.

JPD arrested her at her overnight job at the Parker Road Wal-Mart.

The charge: child endangerment in he first degree.

During our interview, Tiffany fought back tears several times.  "When they took me to jail, they said I was a criminal. That it's a felony." she emotionally told our crew.

DHS took the children from the apartment in the 2400 block of Dudley.

Police made a welfare check to the address when a neighbor told police that Smith went to work at night and the children would go outside.

The initial police report said that the oldest child told a DHS worker that his mother gave the children Benadryl to make them sleep better.

Smith said, "We've only been here almost a month, two months. We were staying in a shelter back home. I was till working."

Tiffany says she moved her family to Jonesboro for better schools and better jobs. "Every move I make, I just try to do the best for them. I would never do anything to intentionally hurt them."

She says she can't afford child care and doesn't have close relatives in the area.

Lots of people identified with her plight on the Region 8 News Facebook page.

The struggles of single parents with young children are a common thread among many of these posts.

"The whole thing was traumatic because I have never been to jail before. Never been arrested... Not a criminal." She says.

Since Smith's arrest she has been faced with several obstacles. She has been suspended from her job at Wal-Mart until her charges are either dropped or reduced to a misdemeanor.

"Nobody even called me to tell me I was suspended or not to come back," said Smith. "I went back and they told me I was suspended until this thing is over."

Even in the midst of this hard time financially, Smith is grateful for the things she does have.

"I just I got my kids back, that's the best thing," said Smith.

However, every day is a constant reminder that she's out of a job and that means no money to support her family.

"Every day that I don't work is no money coming in and there's no check," said Smith. "I got four kids."

Smith is on a waiting list for a temporary part time position where she'll get a call if she is needed.

However, waiting for a phone call doesn't pay for the things she needs to take care of her kids.

"It's just a temporary thing but it's not permanent which is what I've had where I knew where my money was coming from," said Smith.  I knew I worked, my check is coming in."

She continues to look for whatever she can find to try and make ends meet.

"If anybody has a full time day time job, I type very well. I'm not stupid, it was just a harder time in my life," said Smith.

Extremely grateful towards the community and what they have done by giving her so much, she worries that by not being able to pay for rent, the donations will go to waste.

"It's very frustrating for me to have to tell my landlord, I don't have it right now because I literally don't have it right now," said Smith. "It's just been hard all the way around."

Her way of transportation has also been an obstacle she's had to face. The money she paid to bail herself out of jail was money meant to make a car payment.

"I need to be able to pay for my tags for down here and not working I don't have that money," said Smith. "I can't even make a car payment. I mean if I have tags what am I going to put them on if I can't make the payment.

Smith said she is taking it one day at time and praying that things will work out. Hoping she can get back on her feet to help support her family.

"It has been frustrating but I can't be frustrated because I got them so I just have to put on my smile and just keep on going," said Smith. "Every day is a new day.

If you would like to help donate to Tiffany Smith and her family please contact Rachelle Eldridge at (870) 935-1040 or to drop off at Tax & Financial Advantage - 2401 Bernard Street - Suite 5 & 6, Jonesboro, AR and she will make sure that they receive any and all donations.

For the original story, click here.

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