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Mothering Between a Rock and Prison

Huffington Post

This Mother's Day, Shanesha Taylor, a 25-year old homeless and unemployed mother, will be fighting for her freedom and to keep her family together just for the simple crime: trying to feed her children. Without childcare or family support, Shanesha left her children, ages two and six-months, in a parked car while she was in a job interview. In that 45-minute window, a passerby reported her unsupervised children to the Scottsdale, Arizona police who promptly arrested her on felony charges for child abuse.

Outraged by the authorities' harsh treatment, 45,000 strangers nationwide signed a petition urging charges be dropped and raised over $100,000 to cover her attorney's fees. "It's just baffling that she somehow is considered a victim," says Jerry Cobb from Maricopa County Attorney's Office, reflecting the authorities' ignorance of structural circumstances that create a poverty trap for poor single mothers.

Millions of single mothers today face the daunting task of raising children with $17,568. That's the federal poverty rate for a single parent with two children. Today there are ten million mothers facing this grim reality, including the nearly 587,000 single mothers with children that worked full-time, year-round in 2012.