A babysitter hired through a caregiver website was arrested Wednesday in Arlington for allegedly for being drunk and high while watching a young boy.
Police said they were called to Egerton Road at around 1:30 p.m. after a resident reported seeing a woman stumbling around the roadway with a young boy in tow.
“The little boy was about 20 feet behind her, tagging along behind her,” said witness Matthew Wolfe. “She didn’t look like she was paying attention to him.”
Responding officers said the woman, 51-year-old Susan Devereaux, smelled strongly of alcohol and was trying to enter the wrong house. They also allegedly found empty bottles of alcohol in Devereaux’s car. Police said she had consumed several alcoholic beverages and taken prescription drugs earlier in the day.
Police contacted the boy’s mother, who came home to reunite with her 3-year-old son. She told police she hired the babysitter back in the spring through Care.com, a website that matches families with babysitters. The mother said they had used the babysitter several times through Care.com and later by reaching out to her directly.
In a statement, Care.com expressed its concern for the family.
“This incident is deeply disturbing, and we are thankful that the child is now back with his family. We have proactively reached out to local authorities to assist in the investigation in any way we can. Safety is of paramount importance to Care.com and when any safety incident occurs, it hits us very hard. Our thoughts are with this family tonight.”
Arlington Police Chief Frederick Ryan said police learned that Devereaux has a criminal record, having been previously arrested for stolen property and motor vehicle violations. He urged families to be extra vigilant when hiring babysitters and caregivers, especially online.
“I urge everyone to take all possible extra steps you can take while screening a potential babysitter or caregiver. A reference or a website’s background check should only be one component of a larger vetting process,” said Ryan. “Never rely solely on one reference or a single report.”
The babysitter will be arraigned at a later date in Cambridge District Court.
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