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Shanesha Taylor Wins Visitation Rights, Arizona Vows to Fix its Child Welfare System

Shanesha Taylor Wins Visitation Rights, Arizona Vows to Fix its Child Welfare System

Shanesha Taylor only wanted a steady job and a home for her children. Instead, Taylor spent 10 days in jail before making bail and her children were removed from her custody because she left them in a hot car during a job interview. Now Taylor is finally getting to be reunited with her children, if only for a little while, as she has finally won limited visitation rights.

Taylor, the homeless mother of an infant and toddler, left the two in a dangerous and life threatening situation when she abandoned them strapped into her car while she conducted a job interview. Taylor said she was unable to find anyone to care for them, and believed that since it was normally their nap time, they would sleep through it, but as the car heated in the sun the children cried and bystanders called the police.

That decision resulted not just in over a week in jail while she tried to make bail, but in her children being taken away from her, including any chance to visit them. Now, at least, she is finally getting back that chance to visitation. According to The AZ Republic, Taylor has been granted supervised visitation while awaiting her trial, after going more than two months without seeing her own children.

“This is a big victory for the defense,” Taylor’s attorney told the AZ Republic. “My client is looking forward to seeing her kids once again.”

Public response to Taylor’s story has resulted in over $100,000 in donations, part of which has now gone to finding the family a safe place to live, and the rest of which Taylor said will go to securing her children’s future. The story has also left many wondering why the police came down so harshly on Taylor, a veteran who was honorably discharged and who was struggling to get herself and her two children back on their feet. Bail was set unusually high, and getting her released once the money had been raised also seemed to have taken longer than usual. Although her children were taken to the hospital and found unharmed, police have refused to drop the felony charges — which ironically could bar her from getting a job in the future — and now this long period of not allowing her to see her children followed.

The reaction from the state is especially alarming in light of allegations of issues in the state’s child welfare agency. According to reports, 6,500 cases of abuse and neglect were closed without any investigation, causing the Arizona legislature to create a new child safety department with more funding and to vow to ensure children are no longer left in dangerous, abusive situations.

With so many cases closed without any oversight or answers, and so many children ignored by the state, what made Taylor’s case so different? Why was a struggling mother who made a wrong decision but was obviously trying to make a better life for her children prosecuted so thoroughly and to the highest extent possible, when so many other cases were completely ignored?

Was the state attempting to make an example of Taylor to make up for its neglect to all the children it had left in danger?

Taylor chose to leave her children unsupervised and alone in her car while she interviewed for a new job, and she put her children’s lives in danger. Now, she’s attempting to put herself and her family into a better circumstance and create a home that will be safe and secure. But she will not be able to do that if the state finds her guilty of a felony. At this point, the biggest threat to the safety of Taylor’s children isn’t Taylor, it’s the prosecution insistent on punishing her for one decision.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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138 comments

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1:26AM PDT on Oct 12, 2014

"...the biggest threat to the safety of Taylor’s children isn't Taylor, it’s the prosecution insistent on punishing her for one decision..."

So true, I wish her and her children the best and hope they can enjoy a happy life together soon. Thanks for posting.

3:22AM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

What she should have done is take the children with her, apologize and explain the situation, Most employers would have understood.

1:56AM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

Vivianne, have you read ANY of the members' comments here? Have you read ANY of the news articles about this woman? She only CLAIMS she was homeless and not a shred of anything provided to back that up. Her car was seen parked in her parents very upscale Scottsdale home for a long time after this story broke and neighbors said it was there before, so it's just her "saying" she was homeless and she has never once said anything about what she actually did to try to get care for her two young children while she was at a job interview for 90 MINUTES. I've never in my life had a job interview take that long. She put two little kids' lives in danger for a job she had no guarantee she would get, not to mention she had 10 days notice before her "interview" and didn't try to reschedule at any time.

Too bad she got caught for "child endangerment" and just thankfully, before she ended up killing her kids.

3:51PM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

Because of not support her and her children have this hard time to deal with.
Thank you congress for cutting public programs that would have helped this women have child care while she was looking for a good job.
All she had to help her was ... nothing. What would you have done to get some place for you and your children? That was a lose-lose situation.

1:47PM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

sad.

1:34PM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

This is a good thing, so glad to hear it.

5:12AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Anne R, what on earth are you talking about? "Asylum"? Asylum from what? What husband? She's never mentioned ever having one, and she's an American citizen. Her parents live in an upper middle-class neighborhood in Scottsdale, not exactly Harlem! "A waiver to be released"? She's not incarcerated, Anne! She did some time in jail for child endangerment, as she should have done. and she is out.

4:30PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

I am hoping the court will grant her a waiver to be released and to live out her life with her husband and children out of this country. Hopefully a country will give them asylum.

5:42AM PDT on Jun 6, 2014

You get less of a sentence and harassment for dealing drugs or drunk driving.
Give the woman a break, she made a mistake for trying to improve her and her children's lives on her own. That 's better than those that think they are owed and that the tax payers have to support them. She's was at least trying.

10:51AM PDT on Jun 4, 2014

very sad

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