West Michigan Woman Threatened With Fines For Watching Neighbors’ Kids


It might take a village to raise kids, but in Michigan this attitude can get you in legal trouble:

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.

Can we pass a new law which says that stupid laws should not be enforced? I also wonder who filed the complaint. They were hardly being a good neighbor.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. 1
    Joseph T. Halsey says:

    I am very disturbed about this latest move by our state; what ever happened to “It takes a village to raise a child?” -Hillary Clinton, 1995. I am a juvenile criminal justice major at Colorado Tech, and author of “Don’t Tell Anybody” a story about my abused childhood. The point is, Many children are safer being watched by close neighbors than they are under the supervision of relatives. another point is that many families have to work crummy jobs for crummy pay, that can’t afford day care! This is absolutely crazy! Statistically speaking, more kids have been placed in danger by being watched by day care homes more so than being watched by neighbors that have developed relationships and trust over time. When we stop to consider the sheer element of state control that DHS has over children and their families, this is a prime example of our state using a red herring  to steer the public clear about the real agenda; Money. at 17% unemployment, who has the money to get a day care license? child protection is every body’s business. i am not knocking the Child Protective Services here in Michigan, in fact, I appreciate the hard work they do to keep our state’s children safe, but this time the law makers as well as the CPS has gone too far. they are acting more like the Gestapo than a social service, and needs to leave that lady and those kids alone, and the state law makers need to stop being so creative on new methods of bringing in state funds.  Life in Michigan is tough enough as it is with all the hardship we all live in and share. 
                                                       Joseph T. Halsey
                        Author, & Juvenile Criminal Justice Student (CTU)

  2. 2
    thebuilder says:

    this country is filled with assholes. and getting worse by the day.
    you get sued , fined aand jailed for helping your riends and neighbors……
    you get sued, fined and jailed for NOT helping the same people.

  3. 3
    Gerald E Scheffler says:

    She is merely acting as an adult in protecting the children until
    the bus arrives, not baby sitting. The department of human services certainly has guidelines to follow and are just that-guidelines. I am certain that they do not enforce all the laws as
    they should and a peek into their books would prove this. The
    problem is that  it gives one or more of their workers the big head and a feeling of, i am in charge.
    I am retired from ohio as an investigator and saw this type of
    unnecessary confrontration quite often. This mostcertainly
    could have been handled in a more professional manner than it was. They are going to scream oh it is the law – which is not
    necessarily so in this case and many others. They should remove their heads from the dark spot and use common sense
    and good judgement. I hope they read this.
    Jerry S.

  4. 4
    RUKidding says:

    The outrage expressed over this incident is wasted emotion that should be hardened into grim resolve to put an end to the fundamental cause of this incident – far, far too much power invested in government at every level.
    America’s unchecked investment of power in government that has resulted in the near universally accepted (by government officials) notion that it is within their authority to run any aspect of your life they deem necessary and to tax you into poverty for the privilege.
    State Rep. Brian Calley probably means well, but is flat out wrong. The specific law on which the Michigan Department of Human Services bases its claimed right is NOT the issue. Change it and this same department will bend other available law to justify its abuse of power if not continuance of this specific action.
    The ONLY solution is for the people outraged by this incident to grimly resolve that power will be taken back from government at all levels until no public official ever again has the arrogance to tell a mom, “Tell the parents to buy an umbrella.”

  5. 5
    Jim says:

         Same-o, same-o,  You get people in an authoritative position and they let it go to their heads. Come on,  now,  this woman is watching a few kids for less than an hour a day as a favor to her neighbors. Where does  “daycare”  even enter the picture?

  6. 6
    D. Frye says:

    This mother should receive an award for being so willing to watch these children in the morning. Years ago we congregated in a neighbor’s garage when it was cold while waiting for the bus. It was a chance to bond with our neighbors. What crime is being committed that is not for the betterment of society? Should these children be left alone? If something happens the parent(s) will be charged with negligence.

    I wish I could say “unbelievable” but those in power sure can be jerks.

  7. 7
    chris says:

    Where are all these cps workers when children who truely need help don’t receive it. Why. they’re chasing bogus things like this. I live in upstate ny our wonderful cps workers had been at a house 5 to 9 times with “unfit for humans” conditions  the child was never removed,  she was being abused in every sense of the word and ultimatly murdered by the man abusing   her while her  mother and father just stood by. WHERE was cps? If those babies are safe you keep watching them.

  8. 8
    smiley says:

    After reading this crap, I have lost more fathe in are human race. Agian are system seeks out an easy tarket to strick, showing how weak and feably some are. I only wish that growing up in the cold dark state of MI. waiting for a bus to take are frozen little body’s off to school that we had some form of an adult around. I’m also sure that most of the fights would not have happend. I belive this lady is a godsend.

  9. 9
    Babsie says:

    Remember how the young girl in California was kidnapped.  She was outside her home at the bus stop.  Her step-father was witness to this.  Isn’t  it safer for a neighbor to have the children in her home until the bus arrives?  Less worry and stress for parents who have to be to work early.  Maybe a pervert reported this kind lady.

  10. 10
    shelley says:

    The law says no more than 4 weeks of babysitting, that is 672 hours.  If she watches children no more than 10 hours a week every week it does not add up to 672 hours.

1 Trackbacks

Leave a comment