State to mom: Stop baby-sitting neighbors’ kids

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    Regulators who oversee child care, however, don’t see it as charity. Days after the start of the new school year, Snyder received a letter from the Michigan Department of Human Services warning her that if she continued, she’d be violating a law aimed at the operators of unlicensed day care centers.

    Snyder’s predicament has led to a debate in Michigan about whether a law that says no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers needs to be changed. It also has irked parents who say they depend on such friendly offers to help them balance work and family.

    On Tuesday, agency Director Ismael Ahmed said good neighbors should be allowed to help each other ensure their children are safe. Gov. Jennifer Granholm instructed Ahmed to work with the state Legislature to change the law, he said.

    “Being a good neighbor means helping your neighbors who are in need,” Ahmed said in a written statement. “This could be as simple as providing a cup of sugar, monitoring their house while they’re on vacation or making sure their children are safe while they wait for the school bus.”

    Snyder learned that the agency was responding to a neighbor’s complaint.

    Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said the agency was following standard procedure in its response. “But we feel this (law) really gets in the way of common sense,” Boyd said.

    “We want to protect kids, but the law needs to be reasonable,” she said. “When the governor learned of this, she acted quickly and called the director personally to ask him to intervene.”

    State Rep. Brian Calley, R-Portland, said he was working to draft legislation that would exempt situations like Snyder’s from coverage under Michigan’s current day care regulations.

    The bill will make it clear that people who aren’t in business as day care providers don’t need to be licensed, Calley said.

    “These are just kids that wait for the bus every morning,” he said. “This is not a day care.”

    Snyder said she started watching the other children this school year to help her friends; they often baby-sit for each other during evenings and weekends.

    After receiving the state agency’s letter, she said she called the agency and tried to explain that she wasn’t running a day care center or accepting money from her friends.

    Under state law, no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers. Snyder said she stopped watching the other children immediately after receiving the letter, which was well within the four-week period.

    “I’ve lived in this community for 35 years and everyone I know has done some form of this,” said Francie Brummel, 42, who would drop off her second-grade son, Colson, before heading to her job as deputy treasurer of the nearby city of Hastings.

    Other moms say they regularly deal with similar situations.

    Amy Cowan, 34, of Grosse Pointe Farms, a Detroit suburb, said she often takes turns with her sister, neighbor and friend watching each other’s children.

    “The worst part of this whole thing, with the state of the economy … two parents have to work,” said Cowan, a corporate sales representative with a 5-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter. “When you throw in the fact that the state is getting involved, it gives women a hard time for going back to work.

    “I applaud the lady who takes in her neighbors’ kids while they’re waiting for the bus. She’s enabling her peers to go to work and get a paycheck. The state should be thankful for that.”

    Amy Maciaszek, 42, of McHenry, Ill., who works in direct sales, said she believes the state agency was “trying to be overprotective.”

    “I think it does take a village and that’s the best way,” said Maciaszek, who has a 6-year-old boy and twin 3-year-old daughters. “Unfortunately you do have to be careful about that. These mothers are trying to do the right thing.”





    Unbelievable. If the woman were being PAID to do this, I could see more of a rationale, though I would think it is still stupid to make an issue for an hour of watching someone’s children. But the woman did it as a chessed. Unbelievable.


    no words. I just have a question- why did a neighbore have to masar? was she jealous of something??? I found this part funny…

    Dr. Pepper

    I don’t know if this story is true but…

    Some lady had an unlicensed playgroup in her house. One day a neighbor snitched and called the cops.

    When the patrols started pulling up she sat them all around the table, gave them cardboard hats, yanked a cake out of the freezer (stored there for this purpose) and threw in some candles.

    When the cops knocked on the door she lit the candles and started singing “Happy Birthday”.


    Ah kasha oif ah goyisha kup.


    Upon further reflection, I am wondering now, if the one who initially massered was in some way being annoyed very early each morning by potential noise being made by so many kids gathering at the neighbor’s home. They were waiting for the school bus by her. Maybe they were being rambunctious early every morning, and a neighbor was upset about it. Some people are very poor at being confrontational about something, so they might take a different approach and call officials anonymously, to ask them to do it for them.


    The biggest problem is that the government was too involved in the first place. We all want children to be safe, and taken care of in a safe environment. However, most people feel the way to ensure that is to have government licensing. There is no need for that. Instead, there should be some private body that certifies day care providers. If you want your child in a certified day care – fine. If you want your uncertified neighbor to look after your child for an hour in the morning – again fine.

    There is no need for any law covering this situation in the first place.

    Okay. I’m off my soapbox now. Everybody can resume what they were doing.


    Some people try to solve problems in a creative way. People in a neighborhood get together and manage their time problem in the friendliest manner, thanks to the goodness of one of them.

    So then someone with too much time on their hands (nudnik) calls in the authorities who have to invoke a law that certainly was not made for this purpose, to disrupt the entire thing. <shakes head> There’s always someone…….


    thats crazy! people should not have to get stopped every time theyre doing whats right.


    goody, that is the problem today

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