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Homeless Mother Unable to Find Child Care for Job Interview Ends Up in Jail

Homeless Mother Unable to Find Child Care for Job Interview Ends Up in Jail

She wanted a job. She wanted to be able to support her children and to eventually find a home for her family. Instead, she ended up in jail, her children removed from her, and unlikely to get another interview, much less an actual job, again.

Shanesha Shaine Taylor was arrested in Arizona and charged with child abuse, a felony, after leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons in her car while she conducted a job interview. The children were believed to have been inside the unlocked car alone for about 30 minutes before police were called to the scene and removed them, and Taylor arrived back about 45 minutes after that. Taylor told police that her hope was the children would sleep through the entire interview, as it was usually their nap time.

There is little doubt that what she did was dangerous. The car was parked in the sun, the engine off and windows only cracked slightly, which was causing the inside of the car to overheat. The interior of the car was nearly 100 degrees, and according to the report a blower was blowing hot air into the car. The children were allegedly crying according to the bystander who called the police, and both were sweating, although a hospital found no medical issues. The doors were unlocked and a key in the ignition, making it easy for the children to potentially be abducted or harmed by an outsider.

There is also little doubt that this was the action of a very desperate woman. It is difficult enough to apply for and get a job interview, much less a job, when you are homeless. As Annie-Rose Strasser writes at Think Progress: ”[T]hey can have difficulty finding an internet connection to apply to job or transportation to get to interviews, clean clothes, or a place to put their belongings. And once they land a job offer, they can run into even more problems, especially if they don’t have things like an ID or birth certificate. It’s a vicious cycle; not having a job perpetuates homelessness, which can in turn make it even harder to find a job.”

Now throw childcare into the mix. A homeless mother is unlikely to have any sort of childcare in the first place, and a job interview isn’t something scheduled weeks or often even days in advance. Without a family member or friend free, it would be a matter of finding a stranger or a drop-in daycare center, both of which would be likely to cost money she doesn’t have available. With no place to live it would be impossible for someone to come over to watch her children even if she could find a person, if that person couldn’t keep the children at their own home.

Even those who arrested Taylor couldn’t help but feel some sympathy for her plight. “She was upset. This is a sad situation all around. She said she was homeless. She needed the job. Obviously not getting the job. So it’s just a sad situation,” Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark told CBS5 in Arizona.

Sad or not, police have still charged her with a felony, holding her in jail until her trial date of March 31 and keeping her from her children, a move that has incensed activists. “What is the point of putting this woman in jail? To show people like her, who are homeless and desperate to get a job, that they better be able to afford childcare somehow, or else they can go to jail?” writes Femme-esque. “Seems like desperately poor people already know that they don’t have a lot of options.”

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville agrees. “The bootstrappers will argue that she should have found someone to watch her kids. Everyone has someone they can ask to watch their kids. No. Not everyone does. That’s what really having no help from anyone looks like.”

Femm-esque points out a number of real solutions that could help parents like Taylor, from child care subsidies to free pre-K to real social safety net assistance that provides a helping hand for those trying to find work, rather than paint them into a desperate corner.

Taylor will hopefully be released on bail and reunited with her family soon while she waits for her trial. Should she be convicted of a felony, it will be unlikely she will ever find work again, or be able to support her family. All because she was so desperate to interview for a job and no one could help her out for just 90 minutes.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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201 comments

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1:12PM PDT on Jun 13, 2014

This is sad which ever way you look at it. I really hope everything turns out ok for the whole family. I can remember times during my youth when I did some foolish things.

2:10PM PDT on May 3, 2014

Her mom is in the same area?

9:13AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

I live in AZ and saw the WHOLE story on the news.

Please know up front that I was also a single mother with no child support and I worked long and hard to care for my son and still send money to my parents in another city to help them....and there were times when I had to take my son to work with me....so I know how hard it can be.

EVERY tv station in Phoenix constantly makes announcements about the dangers of leaving kids and pets in cars. They did demonstrations by putting a thermometer in a car and checked after 15 minutes....and it was deadly heat.
EVERY year, children and pets DIE in hot cars here.

If she didn't know this, then she is just plain ignorant and deserves to be prosecuted....and this reflects on her judgment...and I sure wouldn't hire someone with her bad judgment.

I saw the news report which sent reporters to her mom's house, WHERE SHE HAD BEEN STAYING....and it was an upscale neighborhood with 3 very new vehicles.

There's no excuse for ignorance....and in the eyes of the law, ignorance is not a valid defense.

11:00PM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

I heard from another member here, someone who lives in Arizona, that the TV news showed the home of this woman's mother, and it is in an upper middleclass neighborhood and is a very expensive looking home. There were two expensive, newer vehicles in the garage, and Taylor's SUV in the driveway. Her story about being homeless is being questioned.

I checked the web for updates and found this.............

http://madamenoire.com/415713/shanesha-taylor-released-from-jail/

.............I think there is a LOT more to this story than is being told here in C2, and Taylor is also not telling everything truthfully.....................call me a doubting "Thomas", but this is starting to really raise some "red flags" to me. She says she's "home with family"...........Hmmmm???? Is there one shred of evidence that she never was there all along, except for her story when arrested? If she truly was homeless, and truly had no source of childcare and had truly TRIED, why is there absolutely NOTHING about any of that brought out?

4:32AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

How can this happen?

3:20AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

(cont)............... This was an insurance company, so who knows. He could hire his grandmother and still have to go thru the motions, we'll probably never know.

3:19AM PDT on Apr 3, 2014

Susan, thank you for contacting me via PM where we can discuss this more in depth and hopefully, you will realize I do not resent this woman for who she is, but only for what she did. You have said she now has over $60K in donations. That's much more than I ever earned in an entire YEAR as a skilled worker, and I already gave you many more "examples". I am not a cold hearted witch with no empathy for the poor. I just think that she had the biggest responsibility any of us ever has...........protecting children SHE brought into this world, and she screwed it up big time. It doesn't matter..........70 minutes or 90 minutes..............15 minutes in that heat could have resulted in heat stroke, especially for the 6-month-old.

Now, as for losing out if she had to re-schedule, it could easily be that the employer had made up his mind with the very FIRST person to walk into his/her office, but had to go thru the formality of interviewing everyone as long as the position was "open". I've seen that happen many times. It could be the LAST person that is interviewed as well. As a Teamster, positions were POSTED and the closing date stated. Existing employees could apply up until the last day, and the person to get the job was the one with the MOST seniority that was "eligible", and then outsiders could be interviewed. At no time did the boss take one application and say, "you've got the job", he couldn't, but there again, that was UNION. This was an insurance company,

5:02PM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

I will continue to seek and support social service programs which are designed to help parents and children in this type of situation. Thx for the article.

9:58AM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

saw this in the newspaper too, its interesting how this article is slanted in every place of its publication, both ways...

7:19AM PDT on Apr 2, 2014

Taylor put her children at risk & needs to understand that & atone for it. I still think parenting classes & probation would be the best thing.

Diane L - If you reschedule a job interview you're taking a chance someone will get hired before your interview even happens, or think of you as a problem before you even walk thru the door. It still comes down to a bad choice in terms of risk assessment. Taylor chose what she thought was a short term risk worth taking for the long term hope of getting a job & being better able to take care of her kids.

BTW it was 82 outside, & cops said 100 in the car. Definitely dangerous but not guaranteed to produce heatstroke. She was gone 75 minutes not 90 minutes. Just the facts. This doesn't minimize the risk to the children of abduction or car theft.

I was wrong - you didn't specifically say Taylor had a cell phone. But when you post things like "Now she's got $30K in donations to play with. That's about $30K more than I have, & certainly more than I had when I was a divorced (single) Mom paying 100% to support myself & my 2 kids" your tone does come across as very resentful.

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