When you are searching for reliable childcare that is also affordable for your family it can be a difficult and confusing task. Your budget may already be strained to the breaking point and you may feel like you have little hope. For many families, giving up the income of one parent so that they may stay home simply isn’t an option anymore. When there is only one income to work with, money can be so tight you can barely squeeze out another drop. However, there is hope. There are other options available that many do not know about when it comes to paying for child care.
Job and Family Services: Stop Here First
There are typically many different resources for child care available in the area you live. However, tracking them down yourself can take time and effort. Instead, call your county’s Job and Family Services office to ask them if they have a list of child care resources available for you. You may be eligible for several of the grants that they offer, including what is known as Title XX, which provides parents with child care through providers that are all certified. If you are in the middle of looking for a job, there is child care for you, as well. Maybe you are in training or are trying to further your education- if so, you may be able to receive child care assistance during these times. There is even limited child care assistance for parents who work swing shifts and need to sleep during the day. Child care will be paid on a sliding scale and some parents do not pay anything for the services.
If you have a family member who can care for your child, they may also be eligible to receive money for their services.
Nursery Schools and Local Day Care Centers
You may not be eligible for the Title XX grant for child care. Don’t worry. Your local Job and Family Services will be able to give you more information concerning local programs that could help out. However, these types of programs usually operate on a limited schedule. Parents may have to find alternative assistance when they need help on the weekends, evenings, holidays and emergency days. Many of these programs are in demand and will put applicants on a waiting list. One example is the program known as Headstart. These programs are very useful to many parents, but if you do not work a set schedule every week, they may not be right for you.
Day Care Camps and Additional Programs
During the summer months, many day care camps pop up that may help if Headstart cannot. Again, these types of programs are based on income and are often the best choice when someone is working steady, day-time only shifts. You may need to have other options on the backburner for holidays, weekends and evenings.
Many parents plan to go back to school once their child hits a certain age. However, the expenses associated with child care costs can deter even the most headstrong parent. Look into your Job and Family Services again to find assistance for child care if you wish to go back to school. They may offer grants to pay for expenses or small stipends that are given for those in training programs. You should also apply for the Federal Pell grant and any other grant that you can while you are in school. This money will be given out each quarter or semester and is meant to pay for books, daycare and other expenses while you are in school.
While there are a number of childcare grants available, you do have to take the time to search for them. You may just need to fill out an easy, quick form to be eligible or the process may be more difficult. You will want to find a person or program that you can trust; after all, this is your child’s happiness, health and safety in consideration! You will need to ensure that you can afford the best quality care for your children, especially if you are living far away from your family and have to rely on others in your community.
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