Affordable Childcare for Single Parents
With one income and sometimes limited resources, childcare for single parents can be difficult. Fortunately, there are options to help you find the quality childcare you need. If you're unable to afford standard baby-sitting, home, or daycare fees for the care of your child, you may be eligible for programs or resources that can help you.
- Head Start is a program single parents often qualify for. A government funded program, the program offers childcare and early childhood education for qualified applicants.
- The US government Access program provides assistance for income-eligible parents attending post-secondary institutions.
- The government's Child Tax Credit may help you to get the funds to pay for your childcare.
- If you're not receiving child support, the National Child Support Enforcement Agency can assist you in obtaining the payments your child deserves, helping you make ends meet and affording you the right care for your child.
Individual State Assistance
The Administration for Children and Families offers state-based childcare assistance for those who qualify. Visit Childcare Development and Fund contacts page to find the appropriate person to contact for your state. Your childcare costs may be subsidized and/or vouchers provided to obtain the care you need. You can usually choose the type of child care you wish to receive, whether family or home-based childcare, federally-based care, or a child care center.
Religious institutions, community based programs, or private centers may have lower fees or sliding scales to help provide childcare for single parents. Early childhood education training programs may also have lower fees for care or preschool and be more affordable than standard facilities.
A small but growing number of employers are also addressing the plight single parents face in regards to childcare and are providing low-cost childcare centers to their employees.
As a single parent, the number of demands and daily difficulties you face can be a struggle. Take precautions when choosing reputable, trustworthy individuals or centers to care for your child.
- Childcare centers should be licensed and have their centers registered.
- Background checks should be mandatory for childcare staff.
- Any childcare program or individual you choose should follow all safety and health standards.
- Proper caretaker-child ratios should be adhered to.
- Proper maintenance and sanitation methods should be practiced.
Above and beyond ensuring these aspects, always go with your gut feeling. If a caretaker or staff member doesn't enjoy being around children or something feels amiss, you may be better off trying elsewhere.
Other Options for Single Parents
Finding safe, affordable childcare for single parents can be a struggle, and this is why many single parents choose another route altogether. With the continuing increases in technology, many single parents are choosing home-based businesses, telecommuting jobs, freelancing or consulting careers, or other child-friendly career options.
Should this be the route you choose, there are a plethora of resources available, from information on starting up your home business to work-at-home parent support groups.