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Good News for the Homeless Mother Arrested for Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview

Good News for the Homeless Mother Arrested for Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview

Written by Bryce Covert

Shanesha Taylor, a mother living in Scottsdale, Ariz., was arrested in March after leaving her children, ages six months and 2-years-old, in the car while she went to a job interview. But on Friday, Maricopa County announced a plea agreement that would drop the charges against her if she completes classes and establishes trusts for her children.

Taylor, who was homeless at the time, got a job interview with Farmers Insurance to be an insurance agent, which would have paid $39,000 with the ability to earn much more. That would have been a significant step up, given that she was making $1,232 a month including food stamps to cover $1,274 in expenses. But even though she had arranged for a babysitter, no one answered the door at the babysitter’s on the day of the interview. So she drove to the interview and left her children in the car with windows cracked and the car fan blowing.

When she came out, her children had already been taken to the hospital after passersby called 911. She was arrested and spent 10 days in jail before crowdfunding paid her $9,000 bail, while her children have been with protective services. She was charged with two counts of felony child abuse and faced up to eight years in prison.

Now it looks likely she’ll be able to avoid further jail time and reunite with her children. If she completes parenting and substance-abuse classes and establishes education and childcare trusts for her children with at least $10,000 each in them, her case will be dismissed. The online fund has raised $114,775 for her as of July 21.

“This is a beautiful resolution to a very long, very hard journey,” Taylor said Friday morning of the agreement.

She is scheduled for a court hearing to regain custody of her children and her attorney is confident she’ll get them back.

Taylor’s case quickly went viral after news was announced online, helping to fuel the crowdfunding that covered her bail and will enabling her to make trusts for her kids. But other cases may fly under the radar. And no doubt many mothers face the kind of decision Taylor faced when she went to the job interview. In Arizona, childcare spending has been cut by 40 percent, leading to an estimated 33,000 children going without subsidized care. Across the country, spending on childcare assistance is at the lowest level in more than a decade, and the number of children served has dropped by about 263,000 since 2006. But the cost of care keeps rising, reaching as much as $12,000 for a four-year-old and consuming more than 10 percent of median family income in 21 states and Washington, D.C.

This situation has created a Catch-22 for many low-income mothers who can’t work without childcare but can’t afford childcare on their wages. Another mother recently made headlines when she was arrested for letting her nine-year-old daughter play in a park during the summer months while she worked at McDonald’s. While a crowdfunding page for her says that she has been out of jail on bond since July 3 and was recently reunited with her daughter, it also claims that McDonald’s fired her.

This post originally appeared on ThinkProgress

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Photo Credit: The Arizona Republic video screenshot

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2:49PM PDT on Jul 28, 2014

When I initially heard about this I did not realize she was in Scottsdale. I am glad she has gotten financial help and that she will be getting her children back but Scottsdale is never a place to leave 2 such small children in a car unattended

1:02AM PDT on Jul 27, 2014

Yeah, they did, Warren. It was officially 86 degrees outside the car. Inside, the fan was on, but no A/C running, so likely a lot hotter. The 6-month-old had been diagnosed as being drug-addicted at birth and that only happens if the mother is a heavy user. That was not even mentioned in the first two C2 articles, was it? It was stated in the news reports this time and I checked after I read about her being told to attend classes. It wasn't something made up to give more "fuel" to the prosecution if the baby was previously diagnosed as being addicted AT BIRTH.

11:13AM PDT on Jul 26, 2014

Sorry, that was out and out child neglect/abuse. Having to take substance-abuse classes?!? How much does someone have to do to have her kids taken from her? I would NOT give her children back to her. You can get fined for leaving your dog unsupervised in your car during hot weather and you should be! They didn't say how hot it was outside. But one wonders...

4:23AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

And yet a 3rd.............................(there are dozens, BTW)...........and this one says Taylor's story was different each time she gave a statement, yet she has declined interviews. She claims she stayed the previous night (from her job interview) in a Walmart parking lot, and another statement said she'd lived with her parents off and on for over a year. Her youngest son was diagnosed at birth with having illegal drugs in his system, so wonder where he got them?

4:17AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

And another one.................

..............this article says $114,000 raised for her, but I read $165,000 within one week of her story breaking last March. Maybe $114,000 is all she has left after paying her bail and attorney, though.

4:13AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Here's another link to another news story about Taylor...............

...........note, she also has a 3rd child, never mentioned in the charges. He was in school at the time, and she is now 35 years old, even older than I had read previously. The more I read about her, the less compassion I have. Yes, glad she is not MY Farmers Insurance Agent.

4:05AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Lee R., you obviously have not followed this story from last March when it first was news. It has nothing to do with Taylor's race. The man just executed was WHITE, so they do go after non-blacks as well. As for what will be used for the kids' trusts? You seem unaware that $165,000 was donated for this woman's bail which was paid for a long time ago.

2:46AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

"When I was little 6 or 7, my mom would go to the grocery store on base and leave my brother and I in the car while she shopped".............yes, Erika, I have similar "memories", but in my case, it was my Mom and the neighbor leaving me and their kids in their car while they went in a bar, drinking. None of us ever were at risk, since the oldest was 10 or 11 and capable of seeking help if something happened, but today, our parents would have been arrested. I don't recall having a babysitter after I was 6 or 7, and my kids were also cared for by a babysitter (I worked nights, always) until my daughter took it over when she was 11, almost 12. I had arrangements with neighbors to check them every hour or so, and I'd call home every hour, and my daughter was very mature at that time, my son was 6, and they had somebody nearby at all times. I wouldn't do it again, though.

Yes, these kids were 2 years old (not old enough to go for help) and a 6-month-old, and both still in diapers, both in soaking WET diapers.

1:52AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

"I also hope the publicity might still get her the job, she so desperately needs."..........John, since the interview was in March, I highly doubt they kept the position open for her, not to mention she didn't land the job back then, either. As for needing the job, probably.............BUT you may not be aware of the $165,000 raised in donations for her. If she uses that wisely, she shouldn't ever have to work at a job, period.

12:58AM PDT on Jul 24, 2014

Mac, you also said, "I'm not sure I would have made the same decision about leaving them in the car but faced with this golden opportunity to make a better life for my children, I just may have. She, unfortunately was just minutes short of making this all a reality."........wrong. She was "minutes short" of her kids being found dead or her getting away with reckless child endangerment. She might have gotten away with not getting caught, and if so, what would then prevent her from leaving the kids alone again, should she just not have a babysitter handy the next time she needed one? In other C2 articles, suggestions were made about going to her pastor or church, and I suggested Fred Meyer. Not a single thing mentioned about her trying anything as an alternative...........was this babysitter the only one she ever had, and what about her parents (the ones she was living with)? She's never, EVER explained a thing about alternatives she may have explored.

As for the N.Y. Times article, BTW, now that I've seen that link, I have read it and all it does is describe the plight of single parents who need help and it does NOT explain, nor give alternatives for Taylor. Apology? I'll not apology for criticizing a woman who came close to killing two innocent little kids out of stupidity. What IF she'd landed the job and the kids were found dead in her car when she returned? Would that job have paid for their funerals?

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