Daycare Mix-Up Leaves Girl With Wrong Father

A man picking up his daughter for the 1st time winds up with a girl who isn't his daughter

A daycare mix-up left a little girl scared and parents questioning how a child could be sent home with the wrong parent.

It happened Thursday afternoon at a West Philadelphia daycare center at 35th Street and Haverford Avenue when the wrong young girl was sent home with a father who hadn’t seen his child before.

Tanya Corbett sent Jerry Lawson, 2-year-old Josiah Lawson’s father, to pick up their daughter at the daycare. 

Jerry had never seen his daughter before because he was in jail.

He said he was on the phone with Tanya when he arrived at the daycare and told administrator’s that Josiah’s mother was on the phone. Jerry -- who had recently returned to the picture -- had permission to take his daughter. Jerry says he handed the phone to people at the daycare to once again have Tanya give permission to release Josiah to her father.

Unsure of what his daughter Josiah looked like Jerry said he trusted the daycare gave him the right child and took her home.

“I signed my name and stuff and then i said, ‘wait this is not Josiah Lawson... she looks scared,'” said Jerry.

He quickly realized something was wrong.

“I was saying to my friend on the phone, ‘Josiah is sitting right here,’ (the girl said my name’s not Josiah -- it’s Ziah. And i was like something’s wrong,” Jerry said.

It turns out the girl Jerry picked up is named Ziah. On top of that, the 4-year-old girl's caretaker's last name -- Lawson -- is the same as Jerry’s.

“I’m crying. I’m freaking out -- i called him like bring that baby back -- you grabbed the wrong baby,” said Tanya.

Jerry returned Ziah and as precaution police checked both of the girl’s out at the special victims unit.

The girl’s names being so similar possibly led to the confusion.

“I didn’t even really have (any) ID -- so to me that was kind of bad -- that's why I wanted my baby mama on the phone,” said Jerry.

The president of the Caring People Alliance, the non-profit daycare that is run out of the community center, responded to the incident by saying: "We’re evaluating daycare procedures to determine where things broke down," adding that this "certainly should not have happened," but "there was no evil intent."

“It’s embarrassing, it’s shameful,” said Tanya. “How are you gonna give up the wrong babies?”

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