GLENDALE, AZ — Twin 3-year-old boys were left home alone, locked in the bedroom of their Glendale apartment.
Glendale police report that on Saturday morning, Taylor Adaira Gary, 24, locked her twin sons in their bedroom as she went to work around 6:40 a.m. She reportedly left them each with a Poptart and a juice box.
Police were called to the home near 67th Avenue and Bethany Home Road when the children started throwing toys and sticking their hands out of their broken bedroom window.
Police got a key to the apartment from the front office and saw the children locked in their bedroom with soiled diapers, no food, and no water.
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The air conditioner was also turned off at the time, according to police.
Gary was contacted by police and returned to the apartment. She reportedly told police that she thought the air conditioner was on when she left. She also said she did not have a babysitter and was "written up" for missing work the day before.
Gary tried to explain the situation to an ABC15 reporter on Monday.
"It wasn't because I don't love my kids, it was literally me trying to keep my job so I could continue to provide for them because I don't have any help," she said.
Gary says if she could do it all over, she would have not gone to work, rather than leave the kids alone.
"My kids are the world to me and this was just one mistake that will obviously never happen again," she said.
Despite the allegations against her, Gary insists she is a good parent.
"I'm not a bad mom," she said. "Anyone who knows me knows that."
Gary was arrested for child abuse and endangerment.
Many families are in the same boat as this mother. Even though her decision to leave her children alone at home was a crime, single mothers ABC15 spoke to said they could sympathize with Taylor Gary.
ABC15 reached out to daycares throughout the Valley and found several that do accept drop-ins. One place we called, Nana's Preschools, said it accepts a drop-in child at a rate of about $50 to $60 per day. The business offers childcare 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The owner, who wanted us to call her Ms. Tice, said she could empathize with Gary and her children.
"I was that child. My mom couldn't find childcare and I remember we had to wait in my car while she went to work until my dad was able to pick us up," said Ms. Tice.
ABC15 asked her what she tells parents who say they could not afford the daily drop-in rate. Tice said her business refers those parents to state resources that may be able to help.
One single mother who had her child enrolled at Nana's Place was Terece Stewart. ABC15 ran into her as she was dropping off her daughter before heading off to work.
"I'm a single mom, I bring her here pretty much six days a week [for] ten hours a day," said Stewart.
She expressed concern after hearing about the mother who had left her children at home while she went to work.
"I would have never left my three-year-old child at home," Stewart said. "I mean, I know you've got to work and you've got to survive, but anything could've happened to that baby."
She was one of many parents who is getting help through the state of Arizona to help pay for her childcare. Stewart said she paid nothing for her child's care, as she had qualified to get help from the Arizona Department of Economic Services, or DES.
A spokesman for the department told ABC15 help was available for families who meet certain requirements. For those at or below 85% of the federal poverty level, daycare costs could add up to $1 a day for a full day, and 50 cents for a half-day. DES officials said parents could apply for other programs that would erase that cost as well.
A DES spokesman also sent us this statement:
"There is currently no waitlist to receive childcare assistance. Additional investments were made during this past legislative session to support families and childcare providers in Arizona. Effective June 3, 2019, the childcare priority waitlist was suspended. Families who are eligible for childcare assistance can begin services immediately."
The DES assistance applies to not just low-income families but also teen families enrolled in high school or GED programs, people experiencing homelessness, those who are unable to work due to physical or emotional concerns and residents of domestic violence shelters.
To get more information and find out if you qualify, you can head to the department's website here.
ABC15 also received this information from a member of the city of Glendale's Community Action Team:
"First Things First offers existing childcare facilities grants to offer scholarships to low-income applicants. First Things First provides these scholarships to facilities state-wide. You can visit https://qualityfirstaz.com/to access currently funded facilities statewide."