Two working parents and still can't afford child care
Lauren Shade and her husband found out they were going to have a baby on the day they moved from Pennsylvania to Underhill, VT. It was unexpected news, but they were excited about their new lives in Vermont, the new jobs they both had waiting for them, and the idea of starting their family in Vermont.
They now have two children – an infant and a toddler – and Lauren says that the child care crisis in Vermont has left them with no good options. Initially she and her husband worked opposite schedules so that they wouldn’t need infant care for their oldest, but when he needed to leave that position, they had to find child care. Lauren began to research the subsidies offered through the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), but that was also a dead end: “we could get $20 a week for subsidy, which was not anywhere what we would need for child care. To make matters worse, we only overlap two days, so we don’t need a full week, but it’s impossible to find part-time infant care.”
They’ve tried a number of child care settings for their two children, but the only situation they could afford is to have them watched by a babysitter in the neighborhood who is not licensed or registered. This is less than ideal for Lauren – they don’t have the stability or high-quality care of a regulated home or center, which she feels sometimes puts her own job in jeopardy.
In fact, Lauren considered going into the child care industry herself, in part to have a job where she could also take care of her own children, but some quick research showed that would also be financially impossible: “I had thought about changing careers and doing child care, but I know someone who works for a very good child care and she was pregnant, but she couldn’t afford to even pay to bring her child in.”
Ultimately, Lauren is disappointed and surprised that “it’s possible to have two working parents, and still not afford child care.” If the family had child care they could count on, “it would be less stressful. We wouldn’t have to worry about getting to work on time and then possibly losing our jobs. We would know that the kids were well taken care of.”