Mother arrested after leaving kids in the car during job interview because she couldn’t afford childcare
March 27, 2014

Shanesha Taylor is a homeless, single mother of 2 children, who was arrested for child abuse this week. Taylor left her children, ages 6 and 2 years old, in her Dodge Durango while she attended a job interview in Scottsdale, Arizona.

A passerby found the children in the car, with the engine turned off and the windows cracked open. Once Taylor returned to the car, 45 minutes later, she informed the police officer that she did not have a babysitter for her children.

“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,” said Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark.

She was arrested and booked into jail for child abuse.

Her children are now in CPS custody.


Update from Prison Culture

An email from Amanda Bishop who has organized a fundraising drive for Shanesha offers the following additional information:

Shanesha has been in jail over a week. She will be out within the next few days when her bail is done by her family. I do not know if the family would like me sharing any information regarding the jail she is at.

She has plans to get a specific lawyer when she is out. Her children are with family

Ms. Bishop also responded to a question about where the funds raised would be directed:

“All money from this fundraiser is deposited into a bank account of Shaneshas mother. The money is currently being used to bail her out. The money collected afterwards will be used for the care of herself and her children.”

Here is a local report where Ms. Bishop is quoted about the case here.

There is currently no more information available. @lifeandmorelife and I would like to encourage everyone who wants to support Shanesha to please donate to the fundraiser for now. You can also continue to spread the word about this story through your networks. A newsreport about this story is here.

We have been in touch with some folks based in Arizona, are gathering more information, and will provide updates as they become available.

Update #1 (4:30 p.m. central)
Shanesha is still in jail at this point. I was able to learn that she has a hearing scheduled on Friday at 8:30 am. Perhaps, she’ll be able to make bail at that point. Please keep donating to the fundraiser.


The charges against Shanesha Taylor has been dropped!! Taylor was arrested back in march for leaving her children in the car during a job interview. This morning a deal was reached, the deal will require Taylor to complete parenting and substance abuse classes as well a establishing an education and childcare trust fund for her three kids. With each education trust fund to have $10,000 in. The money will come the fundraisers that was set up on Taylor’s behalf to help with legal fees and other expenses. A total of $144,775 was raised. $144,775 from over four thousand donors.

By entering into this agreement and program, Taylor avoided a potential two year probation or a possible eight year sentence. 

If Taylor fails to follow the conditions of the agreement, the criminal charges will be reinstated. 

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A Tale of Two Mothers In American in a “Post Racial Society”

Left: Catalina Clouser - Got high, drove for 12 miles with her 2 month old baby on the roof of her car before realizing her child was not in the vehicle. The baby fell off and was found in the middle of the highway, still in its car seat and miraculously unharmed. Catalina pled guilty to child abuse and DUI, she avoided jail time and was sentenced to probation.

Right: Shanesha Taylor - A homeless mother, left her two kids (2 years old and 6 months) in the car while she went on a job interview for 45 minutes because she had no one to watch them. Shanesha was arrested and charged with a felony and had her kids removed from her care.

Both of these women live in Arizona

Read more here:

Prosecutors dismiss charges against Shanesha Taylor
July 18, 2014

The job-seeking Phoenix mother whose tearful mugshot spawned worldwide support after she was arrested for leaving her children in the car in Scottsdale will have her case dismissed if she successfully completes a diversion program, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Shanesha Taylor was arrested in March after police said she left her children in her Dodge Durango for 45 minutes while in a Farmers Insurance office in Scottsdale. Taylor told police she was jobless, without child care that day and had occasionally been homeless.

Taylor had a settlement conference set in Maricopa County Superior Court on Friday, and County Attorney Bill Montgomery released a statement before the conference started that detailed the agreement he had reached with Taylor’s attorneys.

The agreement requires Taylor to complete parenting and substance-abuse classes and to establish an education and child-care account for her children, according to Montgomery’s office. Taylor has to submit documentation of the accounts to prosecutors to ensure the conditions are met, according to Montgomery’s office.

If Taylor fails to live up to the terms of the agreement, Montgomery said the criminal charges against Taylor would be reinstated.

“Based on all the facts and circumstances in this matter, we believe this agreement represents a just resolution that appropriately holds the defendant accountable for her actions while also recognizing the best interests of her family,” said Montgomery said in a statement. “The stipulations of this agreement also ensure that pledges of support from members of the public will have a meaningful and positive impact,” he added.

News of Taylor’s arrest and her emotional booking photo sparked a national discussion about poverty and access to public assistance. In two months, more than $114,775 was donated through a charity fundraising website to assist with Taylor’s legal fees and other expenses.

Taylor was released from jail March 31 on $9,000 bond and has been indicted on two felony counts. Her children were examined at a hospital the day of her arrest and released as uninjured. They are now with family, and under the supervision of the Division of Child and Family Services.

If convicted, Taylor faced a minimum of two years of probation for the two child-abuse counts she faced.


This doesn’t go nearly far enough, there should be NO conditions for the charges to be dropped…they should just be dropped because it was WRONG to charge her to begin with. And she should be compensated for the time unjustly stolen from her…still, altogether good news. I’m glad her case will be dismissed. -Robert

More Than $100,000 Raised for Shanesha Taylor, Homeless Mom Accused of Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview

More than $100,000 has been pledged to help Shanesha Taylor, 35, a single mother from Arizona who was arrested last month after allegedly leaving her 2-year-old and 6-month-old sons alone in a hot car while she went on a job interview because she was unable to find a babysitter.

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County attorney says he will prosecute Shanesha Taylor for felonies

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Despite public outcry, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Wednesday he will move forward with the felony child abuse prosecution of Shanesha Taylor, the jobless mom whose Scottsdale arrest has drawn national attention and prompted calls for Taylor to receive assistance rather than punishment. 

Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office received a petition on Tuesday with 12,000 signatures asking for Shanesha’s charges to be dropped. “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.

Apparently signatures aren’t good enough, let’s call County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office & tell him to drop the charges against Shanesha Taylor —> (602) 506-3411
Deal reached in Shanesha Taylor case

Prosecutors dismissed charges against Shanesha Taylor, the job-seeking mother who left her children in the car.

The agreement requires Taylor to complete parenting and substance-abuse classes and to establish education and child-care trusts for each of her three children, according to Montgomery’s office. Each education trust must have at least $10,000 in it.

Better than the alternative. 

Over $77,000 Donated by Nearly 2700 People!!

The incredible outpouring of support for Shanesha continues. As of midnight, over $77,000 has been raised to help her with legal and other expenses. 

In other terrific news, Shanesha has secured a place for herself!! She is no longer without a home. She is working to reunite with her children who she had a chance to see today.

It’s important that the charges against Shanesha be dropped so that she can continue on the path to regaining her footing and providing for her family.  Please be sure to sign this petition asking County Attorney Bill Montgomery to drop the charges against her.

So much gratitude to everyone who is and has supported Shanesha and her family. 

Deal reached in case of job-seeking mom who left kids in car The Phoenix mother who was arrested after leaving her  children in a car while she went to a job interview will have her case dismissed if she completes a diversion program, the Maricopa County, Ariz., attorney’s office said.

The agreement requires Shanesha Taylor to complete parenting and substance-abuse classes and to establish education and child-care trusts for each of her children, according to the county attorney’s office.

Photo: Shanesha Taylor’s mugshot after her arrest in March. (Scottsdale Police Department)
4 Criminals Who Spent Less Time in Jail Than the Homeless Mother Trying to Get a Job

Poverty has been criminalized.

There is simply no doubt anymore that this is a fact. In our society, we pass laws demanding welfare recipients pass drug tests that they pay for out of their own pockets before we will provide them with financial assistance; we cut off unemployment benefits at 26 weeks or less despite the continuing difficultly many have at finding full time, living wage jobs in that amount of time; we put caps on the number of children a parent can have while on public subsidies while at the same time cutting off funding to groups that will help those parents prevent pregnancy if that is what they wish to do; and many states spend more money on prisons than schools.

Private companies are helping to send poor people to prison over small debts, and homeless Arizona mother Shanesha Taylor was just released after 10 days in jail, and is still being charged with child endangerment for leaving her baby and toddler in a car while on a job interview because she was unable to find someone to watch them.

The prison system has always been a place of inequality fueled mostly by race, class and economics. Now, just as the income gap is getting even wider between the rich and poor, we are seeing the divide between those who end up prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and those who walk with just a slap on the wrist increasing, too.

Here are 4 instances where the perpetrators served no time in jail, in comparison to Taylor, who was trying to find a way to get her family out of a hopeless situation. […]

Criminalizing Poverty

“The Law, in it’s majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.”  Anatole FranceLe Lys Rouge (The Red Lily), ch. 7

About a week ago, a homeless Arizona mother with 2 young children left her kids in the car while she attended a job interview.  GIven that she is homeless and looking for work, you can probably imagine that she couldn’t afford childcare.  The kids were obviously not happy to be left in a hot car with no air conditioning in the dry heat of Arizona.  But you’d think people would at least be applauding this woman for “pulling herself up by her own bootstraps.”  

Instead, she was arrested for child abuse.  Here is the headline from a local news station:

The average person who reads this headline will think this woman is a scumbag.  They won’t get the complete picture that is painted later in the article:

The mother, Shanesha Taylor, 35, returned to the vehicle about 45 minutes later and told the officer she had just finished a job interview and did not have anyone to watch her children.

“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,” said Scottsdale Police Sergeant Mark Clark. 

She was arrested and booked into jail for child abuse.

Her children are now in CPS custody.

Why did the local news station not put this in their headline?  Why not “Homeless Mother Who Couldn’t Afford Childcare Arrested For Leaving Kids In Car During Job Interview?”  That’s 15 words instead of 12.  Not exactly going to break the printing press.  Why make this woman look like a scumbag instead of a desperate, poor woman who has run out of options and is doing the best she can?

Sadly, the fact remains that Shanesha Taylor was technically in violation of the law when she left her kids in the car.  Taylor’s arrest is part of a long and proud tradition of criminalizing poverty in America.  It fits in well with Rudy Guliani’s infamous crusade against the homeless in New York City.  In San Francisco in the 1990’s, nuns were arrested for serving hot meals to the homeless.  In years past, vagrancy laws were used as a carte blanche for police to detain or arrest “idle” people without homes or jobs.  

Today, the poor are subject to more suspicion, surveillance, and scrutiny than any other section of the population.  This is exemplified by the police using legal buzz words like “high crime area” to carve away the Constitutional rights of people living in poor neighborhoods.  It is exemplified by the fact that law enforcement agents target residents of impoverished communities, where they coax financially desperate people into committing crimes by dangling the promise of wealth in front of their faces.  It is exemplified by the obsession of federal drug agents with “open air drug markets,” despite the fact that police are just as likely (perhaps even more likely) to find evidence of drug crime behind closed doors in middle class and wealthy communities.

The media doesn’t help.  They use shocking headlines to paint the poor as criminals, and then bury the nuances at the end of the article, which many people won’t bother to read.  Many people who read the headline pictured above will walk away thinking Shanesha Taylor is a bad mother, rather than a mother who was simply doing the best she could with the cards she’d been dealt.  Did she break the law?  Yes.  But she didn’t really have any other options.  

This is an excellent example of a situation that the criminal justice system was not designed to solve.  It would be one thing if CPS was simply taking Taylor’s children until she can get back on her feet.  But that’s not what happened here.  Shanesha can’t look for a job while she’s in jail.  And the mere fact that she’s been arrested will make it harder to get back on her feet due to the stigma of her arrest.  The criminal justice system is not helping Shanesha Taylor or her children.  It is doing both of them active injury.  Criminalizing poverty doesn’t make it go away.  If anything, it just creates more.

Vote HERE. Read the description to learn why i’m asking for your help in The Music Bed Project Film Supply Competition

Rough Around the Edges follows two days in the life of Renee Johnson, a mother forced to make a dangerous decision for the sake of her child. Unemployed, homeless, and living out the back of her car, Renee realizes this isn’t the life she want for her seven year old daughter, Imani. Renee receives an interview for a job, but doesn’t have the funds to hire a babysitter. So on a hot, searing Los Angeles day, Renee leaves Imani in the car as she goes in for her interview. Renee lands the job, but walks outside to find cops breaking into her car to take Imani away. Renee watches as her child is taken away, and she’s arrested for trying to find a better path for herself and her daughter.

This story is based on the events of Shanesha Taylor, an African American woman, who left her two children in the car in 71 degree weather, as she interviewed for a job in Scottsdale, Arizona.


For many, Shanesha’s only crime was being black, poor, and female. For others, regardless of her situation, her choice to leave her children in the car was reprehensible. Still, this is not a story etched in black and white. Instead, it speaks to the state of America, subsidized childcare, and how those in poverty are perpetually kept there by an infrastructure hostile to the needy.

We may never be able to connect to the pain hundred of single mothers’ go through to provide for their children, but we have a chance to tell a story that brings light to the injustices they face as they try to forge a better life.

Every vote for this project counts towards making a film for voices seldom heard in America. I don’t know how far or well my campaign will go, but I have to try. Shanesha’s story is the story of many single mothers across the United States, and it would be a privilege to be able to tell it. 

Please vote: 


A mother in her 40s, Debra Harrell, is currently in jail for letting her 9-year-old daughter play in well-populated park while Ms. Harrell was at work. Tanya McDowell, a homeless single mother, was charged with felonious larceny when she hoped for a better education for her son, using her babysitter’s address instead of her last known permanent address in a worse neighborhood, to enroll her son in kindergarten. (i.e., “stealing” a free public education). Shanesha Taylor, another single homeless mother, had no one to watch her two small children, so she left them in the car during a job interview. She got the job — and then returned to find the cops waiting for her. (The district attorney in Scottsdale, Arizona, has now agreed to dismiss the charges, as long as Taylor completes parenting courses, and establishes education and child-care trust funds for her kids.) In all three cases mothers were separated from their children for the act of mothering.