Wednesday, September 30, 2009

UK Neighbors Engaged In Illegal Babysitting

Here's a story I wasn't expecting to see: West Michigan's bias against babysitting was preposterous enough, but it seems positively libertarian when compared to the rules babysitters have to follow in the UK.

Whether it's because statist busybodies who have so little faith in themselves project their own inadequacies onto the rest of their nation, or whether they believe themselves possessing the rare wisdom to form laws that result in "perfect" societies, the end result is the same: ignoring the possibility of genuinely good neighbors, and winding up with nonsense like "illegal" babysitting:
The government has ordered a review of the case of two police officers who were told they had to stop looking after each others' children or face prosecution.
Detective Constable Leanne Shepherd, from Milton Keynes, was warned by Ofsted [Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills] that she could be prosecuted if she did not end the "illegal" reciprocal arrangement with her friend, DC Lucy Jarrett.
The women, both 32, have taken turns looking after each other's daughters twice a week for the last two and a half years while they worked a ten-hour shift at Aylesbury police station in Buckinghamshire.
... New legislation means that people who baby-sit for more than two hours at a time or on more than 14 days a year should be registered and follow childminder rules, including undertaking first aid training and following the so-called "nappy curriculum" for under-fives.
According to the education watchdog, the rules apply in cases where parents receive a "reward" for the child care – which can include money or simply free baby-sitting in return. Ofsted is now in discussions with the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) about the interpretation of the word "reward".
DC Shepherd said she had received a surprise visit from an Ofsted inspector who said she had received reports that an illegal childminding business was being run. Despite explaining that the arrangement was between two friends who were helping each other out, DC Shepherd was told that she was breaking the law and had to stop immediately. "I was stunned, completely devastated. I spent the whole day crying because I couldn't see how I could continue working," she told the Mail on Sunday.

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