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No Kids in Class: The Daycare Dilemma

(Continued from 1)

Child Care from Family Members

If you don’t feel comfortable leaving your children with a child care center, no matter how highly accredited they are, some states will allow you to allocate your Child Care Assistance to a family member or friend that you trust to watch your children, but needs or wants to receive payment for their services. Some states require the caregiver to become licensed while others require state or federal background checks. If this is an option you are interested in, it is best to contact the Department of Welfare in your state or talk to your caseworker at time of application.

Tribal values and cultural norms may be important to you. If so, you may want to look into child care run by or certified by your tribe. Child Care Assistance can also be used towards these facilities and programs in many states. To find these programs, ask your caseworker about TriTAC (the Tribal Child Care Technical Assistance Center.) TriTAC not only helps people locate programs that meet their needs, they also provide trainings for tribal child care workers and administration at the local and national level.

Concerns about Using Welfare

There is a definite stigma about welfare and those who use it. The assumption is that they are lazy or abusing the system. Do not let these stereotypes deter you from doing what is right for your family: returning to school. If people ask how you are doing it, gracefully tell them the truth, “I am working hard.“ Your finances don’t have to be anyone’s business but yours and the government’s. You are working hard so you can contribute to society on a larger level, provide for your children, and set a model for them as they advance in their own lives. Besides, once you re-enter the workforce you will be paying the money back by paying your taxes, and then some.

(See also Time for School, Mom!)

Brynne Mack is a mother and student studying Educational Interpreting. Upon graduation, she will work as an Interpreter for the Deaf for children in educational settings. In the meantime, she maintains a blog, Femme Frugality, about how she is saving money while a student.

Editors' Note: Many institutions have re-entry centers, special programs, and support services for adults, and colleges often offer child care facilities at lower rates. An example of this is Penn State University's Student Affairs Center for Adult Learner Services. Because of the rising need for child care services on college campuses, Congress has approved a significant increase in funding with The Child Care Access Means Parents In Schools (CCAMPIS) program providing child care for single parents in financial need. Information on the program and additional resources for child care are available on the Department of Education Web site.

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