Readers! Glad a few of you sent this one in. I’m not sure it has to do with Free-Ranging exactly — it sounds more like regulations gone wild. Moreover, I bet it’ll be rectified soon. But in the meantime, let’s hear it for neighbors helping neighbors (rather than neighbors turning IN neighbors). Here is the article in its entirety from WZZM, the ABC TV station in West Michigan:
MIDDLEVILLE WOMAN THREATENED WITH FINES FOR WATCHING NEIGHBORS’ KIDS
A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors’ children.
Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.
The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors’ kids, or face the consequences.
“It’s ridiculous.” says Snyder. “We are friends helping friends!” She added that she accepts no money for babysitting.
Mindy Rose, who leaves her 5-year-old with Snyder, agrees. “She’s a friend… I trust her.”
State Representative Brian Calley is drafting legislation that would exempt people who agree to care for non-dependent children from daycare rules as long as they’re not engaged in a business.
“We have babysitting police running around this state violating people, threatening to put them in jail or fine them $1,000 for helping their neighbor (that) is truly outrageous” says Rep. Calley.
A DHS spokesperson would not comment on the specifics of the case but says they have no choice but to comply with state law, which is designed to protect Michigan children.
By all means, let’s protect them from being part of a helpful, friendly community! Phew! — Lenore
P.S. THIS JUST IN! A strikingly similar situation in England! Two women with girls the same age share a job. When one is at work, the other watches both kids. Now the government is saying this is illegal unless both women register as child care providers and undergo inspections! Best quote, by an onlooker opposed to this bizarre policy? “Something akin to a kind of anxiety-driven psychosis seems to have engulfed government policymaking in the realms of children and family life.”