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Author Topic: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview  (Read 2720 times)

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Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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A mom in Arizona was arrested for leaving her 2 year old and 6 month old in her car, while she went for a job interview for about 45 minutes.  A bystander saw the kids and called the police, who arrested her on two felony counts of child abuse.  Difficult and sad story all around, but someone started a fund raiser for her, to pay for her bail of $9000.  The donation total has reached $86,000+.

What are your thoughts on this?  Apparently the kids are with CPS now (but on CNN I heard they are with her family).  Should she be arrested?  There's also a petition to drop charges against her.  Personally, I am confused why people are donating such huge amounts when one of her kids (especially the baby) could easily have died from her actions.  Apparently the temperature outside was about 82 degrees F and the temperature inside the car exceeded 100 degrees F.  It would be a different story with an unfortunate outcome like that.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 04:36:16 AM by Valthazar »

Online Vekseid

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2014, 04:43:06 AM »
"The law, in its magnanimous equity, forbids both the rich and the poor to sleep beneath bridges."

Of course she shouldn't have left her kids in her car. In a country with ten times as many empty homes as there are homeless families, why should she have to?

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2014, 05:00:34 AM »
Yeah, just a confusing situation any way you look at it.  On one hand, she's trying to better herself by getting a job.  On the other hand, she could have killed her kids.  I think the donation idea to cover her bail ($9000) is a nice gesture for people who can empathize with her.  But $86,000 for making a mistake like this seems a bit too much.

Online Vekseid

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2014, 05:03:08 AM »
Yeah, just a confusing situation any way you look at it.  On one hand, she's trying to better herself by getting a job.  On the other hand, she could have killed her kids.  I think the donation idea to cover her bail ($9000) is a nice gesture for people who can empathize with her.  But $86,000 for making a mistake like this seems a bit too much.

Letting her kids run loose in the sort of neighborhood where she is homeless could not get them harmed?

Edit: That is to say, it's not a mistake, it's just one of those traps that poor people are forced to tiptoe through. She got caught. Most humans understand this and react accordingly.

Offline SheerFantasia

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2014, 05:15:49 AM »
I think its indicative of the human condition towards the law - something that's not important to the common wo/man until it's breathing down their necks.

If I had any say, I would not have had her arrested (costing her the job she needed and potentially traumatising her kids).  As Valthazar points out, this could easily have ended in tragedy, but the general consensus would seem to be that she wasn't doing it for bad reasons, and sometimes you just have to make a hard call when you don't have anyone to rely onto (and these days you wouldn't really trust your kids with anyone you don't know).

As for the $86,000... well, wherever children are concerned, especially in sad cases, it always generates a lot of sympathy (and as I said before, people don't really have the law in mind, or that a potential tragedy could have occurred - there's a picture of crying mother, and there are some kids who stand to suffer - 1 out of 15 people are already reaching for their wallets on that image alone before hearing the details).

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2014, 10:31:02 AM »
The fact that she was on a job interview more than likely helped generate the sympathy and giving.  She didn't leave them home alone while she went out to party which is the story you usually see.  Needing to care for two babies and being homeless and destitute can make a person desperate.  She's going to need more than $9000, though, because it's going to be a legal fight and a lawyer to get the kids back.  She'll need the job, a home, furnishings and clothes at least to show she can provide adequate care.  That extra $75,000 will come in handy.  She'll be lucky some lawyer doesn't try to take it all.

Offline Florence

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 02:20:20 PM »
This definitely stinks of just being a crappy situation all around.

As Veksied put it. She shouldn't have left her kids alone in the car, but she shouldn't have had to.

I don't think she should go to jail for making a tough call when there wasn't really any 'right' decision to make.

It sounds like she could have done a few things better though. I don't know if there was a place she could have parked with better shade, but she certainly could have left her windows open some more. But it doesn't sound like she was being willfully negligent. She was just trying to do what she had to do.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2014, 10:24:36 AM »
Honest question: Could she have taken the kids with her and left them to sit in the waiting room/reception area?

Offline Oniya

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2014, 10:47:36 AM »
A 2-year-old and a 6-month-old?  If she's homeless but has a car, then that car is essentially 'home'.  A familiar place for both children.  A waiting room is a strange place to either be skittish in, or to explore - and if you've ever seen a 2-year-old 'explore'... I doubt that would have helped her chances at the interview.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2014, 10:55:53 AM »
And...

As someone who interviews job applicants on a regular basis I can tell you that bringing your children to an interview no matter what the reason only makes you look bad.  We have a day care facility in our building and that is available for needs like this but most companies are not understanding of this at all.  They don't want your personal life impacting on your ability to do your job any more than is absolutely necessary.  With the number of applicants for each opening it's too easy to get put at the bottom of the list no matter how good you are.

Offline vtboy

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2014, 12:09:26 PM »
A 2-year-old and a 6-month-old?  If she's homeless but has a car, then that car is essentially 'home'.  A familiar place for both children.  A waiting room is a strange place to either be skittish in, or to explore - and if you've ever seen a 2-year-old 'explore'... I doubt that would have helped her chances at the interview.

Homeless with a car does not necessarily mean one is living in the car. But, even if the car had been home to this family, it would still have been an extraordinarily bad decision under almost any circumstance to leave a two year old and six month old alone in it. What is most significant to me about this incident, though, is how well it demonstrates the inability or unwillingness of our society, which does little enough to help the impoverished, to come up with a response better than arrest and felony prosecution of a mother who likely did not enjoy an array of better options. It's one thing to withhold a helping hand to someone who has fallen into a ditch; it's quite another to shovel dirt in on top of her.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2014, 12:28:33 PM »
What is most significant to me about this incident, though, is how well it demonstrates the inability or unwillingness of our society, which does little enough to help the impoverished, to come up with a response better than arrest and felony prosecution of a mother who likely did not enjoy an array of better options.

CNN mentioned in their video broadcast of this story that the kids are now with family relatives, so it makes you wonder why that wasn't an option at the time.  Obviously we don't know the full story though.

Offline vtboy

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2014, 12:44:38 PM »
CNN mentioned in their video broadcast of this story that the kids are now with family relatives, so it makes you wonder why that wasn't an option at the time.  Obviously we don't know the full story though.

That there may have been relatives who could have watched the kids for a couple of hours would not change my view that it is extremely callous and counterproductive policy to treat people who make bad parenting decisions, even if dangerous ones, the same way  those who commit murder, rape, arson, and robbery are treated. It is difficult for me to imagine the threat of criminal prosecution represents an optimal means of encouraging more prudent parenting.

I also wonder whether a white woman, who left her babies for 45 minutes in a Porsche Cayenne outside a suburban Neiman Marcus, would be facing felony counts.

Offline meikle

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2014, 12:50:21 PM »
What are your thoughts on this?  Apparently the kids are with CPS now (but on CNN I heard they are with her family).  Should she be arrested?  There's also a petition to drop charges against her.  Personally, I am confused why people are donating such huge amounts when one of her kids (especially the baby) could easily have died from her actions.  Apparently the temperature outside was about 82 degrees F and the temperature inside the car exceeded 100 degrees F.  It would be a different story with an unfortunate outcome like that.

Right.  Put her in jail for being homeless.  The solution here is to put sufficient safety nets in place so that a single mother of two children doesn't have to choose between getting a job (you know, what she's going to need to pay someone to watch her kids or afford a house to stick them in) at risk of going to prison or letting them die, not to tell her tough shit, stay homeless because a job interview is not financially viable for a homeless mother of two.

Quote
CNN mentioned in their video broadcast of this story that the kids are now with family relatives, so it makes you wonder why that wasn't an option at the time.
"Can you stay home from work and watch my kids while I go to a job interview?"  "Sorry, I'm busy."  The assumption that family is an unfailing support network is an incredibly privileged one.

It doesn't take a lot of work to figure out how getting someone to babysit during a particular 1 hour period while you have no money to pay for the service is not tenable.  A family that suddenly finds themselves in a position of "You'll take these kids or the state will take them" may find that they are making a decision under more duress than "leave them with their mom, who is homeless but will otherwise take care of them."
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 12:58:06 PM by meikle »

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2014, 01:11:36 PM »
What safety nets would you suggest to help those in her situation?

Offline Mathim

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2014, 01:31:29 PM »
Speaking as a child taken out of the custody of a homeless mother, I think I should say something.

The system is broken. If it was not broken stuff like this would never happen. There should be an infrastructure set up where there is no such thing as being homeless. We are already in a position where it is impossible to starve to death in the U.S. so why can housing not emulate this?

There does need to be something said about personal responsibility. My mother had no business being a parent. Take my word for it. That incapability and her unpreparedness put her in a position where we ended up homeless and no amount of family could help avoid that. But at least the mother in this story is supposed to have been trying to better herself; if only mine had the brains to figure out a concept like that. If a solution is going to present itself, it's going to have to come in the form of societal overhaul and people thinking really hard about major decisions like family planning and long-term education and employment BEFORE these kinds of decisions are staring them in the face demanding immediate responses.

Desperation is never good for helping the critical thinking process but limited options don't either. I can't say what fate would have awaited the kids if they'd just been okay until she got back but I do admire her ability to care for them enough not to just surrender them to CPS (which, for the record, merely trades one form of abuse and neglect for several other forms of the same). Many European countries have an absolutely genius way of covering these societal dysfunctions and yet our delusional American Dream prevents this from becoming a reality.

Offline meikle

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2014, 01:47:13 PM »
What safety nets would you suggest to help those in her situation?
Put her in a house.  I mean, your call: a house is expensive, but I'm using "house" loosely.  A small apartment would be better than a fucking car.  The net gain to society once she finds a job (and it is sensible for active job search / work to be a prerequisite for able-bodied people who use the service) is significantly greater if we subsidize a small but private & reliable living situation to people in her situation than if we pay to lock her in a cage.  Sending this woman to prison will be more expensive and she will not contribute to society or the economy from prison.

http://usich.gov/usich_resources/research_and_evaluation/cost_effectiveness_studies

« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 01:51:29 PM by meikle »

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2014, 01:52:31 PM »
Quote from: meikle link=topic=200731.msg9810702#msg9810702 date6723633
Put her in a house.

http://usich.gov/usich_resources/research_and_evaluation/cost_effectiveness_studies

How does this prevent a situation like this though?  It isn't exactly safe to leave 2 year old and a 6 month old alone at home.

Offline meikle

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2014, 01:54:58 PM »
How does this prevent a situation like this though?  It isn't exactly safe to leave 2 year old and a 6 month old alone at home.

I think it's ridiculous when you expect me to write up an entire gameplan whenever I disagree with you.  Put her in an apartment with a daycare.  Institute a system that allows people managing the location to make spot-purchases as necessary (like allowing a $15 expenditure to hire a babysitter for two hours.)  There are many ways to solve this; putting her in a place where she can live that isn't a sedan is a good first step toward letting her find the services necessary to resolve this one specific situation.  Happy?  Support is what matters; spending a few extra dollars on providing the necessary care for, say, a single mother of two young children to make it to a job interview and become employed is significantly preferable to saying, "Fuck it, she's on her own," and not just for her, but for you and me too.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 02:05:41 PM by meikle »

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2014, 02:52:48 PM »
Sorry, I didn't mean to put you on the spot or anything.  I guess from my perspective, I am not sure how much of her leaving her kids in her car has to do with the fact that she is homeless, as opposed to the fact that she doesn't have any family members or close friends, let alone another parent, to help her raise/support her kids.

While a government-subsidized daycare service is certainly one potential solution, I don't think it necessarily addresses the root causes of these problems.

Offline vtboy

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2014, 04:28:28 PM »
Sorry, I didn't mean to put you on the spot or anything.  I guess from my perspective, I am not sure how much of her leaving her kids in her car has to do with the fact that she is homeless, as opposed to the fact that she doesn't have any family members or close friends, let alone another parent, to help her raise/support her kids.

While a government-subsidized daycare service is certainly one potential solution, I don't think it necessarily addresses the root causes of these problems.

A tourniquet doesn't address the root cause of bleeding, either, but it can nevertheless be quite useful.

I doubt Meikle was suggesting that subsidized daycare is the sole or the most fundamental remedy for poverty, but its availability might have avoided the dilemma this poor woman faced.

Offline meikle

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2014, 04:41:47 PM »
While a government-subsidized daycare service is certainly one potential solution, I don't think it necessarily addresses the root causes of these problems.

No.  Most changes that will make significant impact on society and social programs have many root causes that need to be addressed.  The most difficult thing about effecting change on a wide scale is getting people to appreciate that everything impacts everything else and that the only real solutions must be comprehensive: if you are dealing with homelessness, poverty, single parenthood, then affordable housing is a stopgap; it should show financial returns on top of improving the situation for people currently struggling and help fewer people to find themselves in this situation in the future, but the most ideal way to handle any problem is to prevent that problem in the first place.

On the other hand, it's not acceptable or feasible to ignore the symptoms of the problem either.  Repairs to these sorts of problems need to be made comprehensively, dealing simultaneously with the people who are in trouble now (like single mothers without support who are facing felony charges for not having a place to store their children during a job interview) and preventing similar problems from coming up in the future (for example, by improving quality of education, accessibility of resources, changing attitudes toward reproductive freedom, etc.)

In the meantime, however, saying, "Look, subsidized housing for the homeless shows financial gains and loosens the burden on the taxpayer over simply leaving the homeless to fend for themselves which is actually really expensive for the rest of us," is a better idea than saying, "We need to completely rewire our society from the groundup to fix all of these problems."  A comprehensive solution isn't always viable; one step at a time.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 04:45:45 PM by meikle »

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2014, 05:45:27 PM »
A lot of great points being brought up here. 

At first I was opposed to this idea because I misunderstood it, but now that I have read more about it, I actually think a citizen's wage concept may be worth exploring in the US (to a degree) as a way to reduce poverty and homelessness.  While I'm not so sure we should do it to the degree of some European countries, I think it's something to consider.

It would definitely simplify things considerably, since we could dramatically reduce the need for government programs - and more dollars would be going to support the US economy then.  It would also seemingly cut down on a lot of the bureaucracy surrounding applying for aid programs (since we could eliminate many of them).  But I doubt anything like this will ever be compromised on in the US, unfortunately.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2014, 05:48:28 PM by Valthazar »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2014, 05:52:17 PM »
As Veks pointed out, there are enough empty houses, currently driving down property values and providing 'shelter' for nothing but wildlife and meth labs, to put up every homeless person in this country.  At the moment, they represent a net loss for the communities they are in, when you factor in crime and animal control expense.  Cleaning them up and turning them into even low-rent/subsidized housing that people care about keeping up would raise property values and lower crime rates, as well as getting people off the streets and into a 'permanent address' that employers so often look for.

Offline meikle

Re: Homeless Mom Arrested After Leaving Kids in Car During Job Interview
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2014, 06:39:06 PM »
But I doubt anything like this will ever be compromised on in the US, unfortunately.

For this sort of thing to happen, we need to be able to convince people to focus on selfishness which is actually really counter-intuitive, but makes sense, right?  People look at our homeless population and say, well, it wouldn't be fair to give them housing, but I'm not callous enough to let them die if they come into the emergency room.  But we crunch the numbers are determine that the cheaper option is to build houses for people who don't have them so that they can situate themselves and stop, for example, using the emergency room as a free (for them) and reliable health care alternative, or so that they can find jobs and reliably work them without having to worry about having a place to go home and shower that night, so that they can start making money and paying taxes and buying things -- and people don't want that.

We have a major attitude problem when we reach this position where people would prefer to hurt themselves to punish others than help themselves by helping others.