Child Abuse

Arizona Reminds Us It’s A Crime To Be Broke In America By Prosecuting Mom Who Left Kids In Car For Job Interview

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Screen-Shot-2014-03-31-at-1.02.11-PMShanesha Taylor left her six-month-old and her two-year-old unattended in a hot car with the windows cracked so she could attend a job interview. She was arrested and charged with felony child endangerment. She received an outpouring of support from those who understood she was in an impossible situation and trying to extricate herself from it. Arizona attorney Bill Montgomery does not feel the same way and is ignoring a petitioned plea to drop the charges. He will prosecute Taylor for felony child abuse. She faces eight years.

People across the country have urged Montgomery to look at the circumstances that led to the poor decision to leave her children in the car: poverty, housing insecurity and a state-wide lack of access to affordable childcare – but he remains unmoved. Here’s what he has to say about all of those people who are sympathetic to what she is going through:

“First, they weren’t signatures; they were just a list of names,” Montgomery said, referring to a printout from the website. “So I don’t know whether any of the individuals in their pajamas who logged on to the site and put their name on there really had a clue of all the circumstances involved in this particular case.”

While Taylor’s supporters realize the very real dangers involved with leaving children in a car, the also acknowledge the circumstances that exist that put her in that situation to begin with. Arizona has cut programs that aid families dealing with poverty, joblessness and homelessness. Criminalizing this woman for making a poor decision does nothing to make these problems go away. Basically, it’s a crime to be broke in America. Sorry you  are desperate. We won’t help you. Figure it out.

Taylor’s children were examined at a hospital after the arrest and thankfully were uninjured. A crowdfunding source has raised over $111,000 dollars for her legal fund. I hope the money provides her with the legal direction she needs to extricate herself from this situation. This is terrible. The woman made a bad decision – but she was trying to get a job. I’ve never been in a position where I had absolutely no options for help so my heart goes out to this woman. I’ve never put my children to sleep in a car. I’ve never been totally alone. This whole situation breaks my heart.

The State of Arizona should take the effort they are exerting to put this woman behind bars and her make her kids wards of the state into fixing the social programs that do nothing to help desperate residents of their state. This is just shameful.

(photo: YouCaring)