Single Mother Of 5 Faces Prison Time After Leaving Her Teen Daughter Home To Babysit While She Worked

Every mom’s goal is to be a good mom. Being a good mom isn’t always easy, and feeling like a good mom during difficult times can be even harder.


Some parents make different decisions under similar circumstances, and that’s okay. What’s not okay is to judge other parents or offer unwelcome advice and criticism when a parent makes a decision you don’t like. This is known as mom shaming, and it hurts. One parent went even further than mom shaming though. She called the police.

Melissa Shields Henderson is a divorced single mom with five children. She prides herself on being a good mom, but she also sometimes has to make difficult parenting decisions.

Back in May 2020, Henderson’s children weren’t able to go to school or daycare because the local school and daycare were closed due to the pandemic; however, Henderson still needed to be able to go to work to support her family.

Henderson worked as an administrator at a health spa at the time. While her home is in Blairsville, Georgia, her job was 23 miles away in Blue Ridge.


Instead of quitting her job, Henderson made the decision to leave her 14-year-old daughter, Linley, in charge of her four younger siblings. Henderson never considered that this would be a problem because Georgia law states that a child age 13 or older can be left alone and left in charge of younger children as a babysitter for up to 12 hours.

While Henderson was at work and Linley was busy with remote learning, Linley’s youngest sibling, Thaddeus, who was 4 years old at the time, looked out the window and saw one of his friends, a neighbor who lived just down the street, playing outside. Without telling anyone, Thaddeus decided to go outside to play with his friend.


It only took Linley about 10 to 15 minutes to realize her brother was missing. She went outside and brought him home. Nobody got hurt. Unfortunately, that is far from the end of the story. In that 10 to 15 minutes, a parent of Thaddeus’s friend called the police.

When Henderson got home from work, she was greeted by the police who told her that her son had gone outside by himself earlier that day. She thought that was it, but two weeks later, the police came back.

Henderson told Fox News, “They handcuffed me, drove me to jail, booked me, had me put in a cell. It was awful. It was embarrassing.” She added, “It makes me feel hopeless, just now feeling like you can get back to providing, get back to normal. They took away every option that I even have.”

Henderson’s ex-husband bailed her out of jail, but two years later, the case is still not resolved. Henderson faces a maximum sentence of up to 1 year in prison and $1000 fine.

Henderson’s lawyer explained the case to NewsNation. Here his take on the situation in the video below.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Henderson pay for her expenses since she is too scared of being arrested again to work full time. She currently works part time while her children are in school.

Have you ever left an older sibling responsible for a younger sibling? Do you think Henderson did anything wrong?

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