Is There a Way to Ease the Heartache of Finding Childcare?
If your child has the chicken pox and can't go to school or day care, what do you do?
If you're one of the lucky ones who has a retired family member living nearby who is willing to care for your children at your request, just because they love them, we envy you!
The rest of us are stuck in a void in the childcare industry where finding affordable part-time, in-home or temporary care for a sick child is nothing short of frustrating.
One of the best options available for in-home care (be it full- or part-time, temporary or permanent) is a nanny service such as TLC Caregivers and A Mother's Touch, Inc. with these kinds of services you'll get peace of mind knowing the person caring for your child(ren) has been rigorously screened - but that peace of mind may not fit into your budget. Extensive background checks to ensure the safety of your children are costly and it can take 2 to 6 weeks to find a long-term, full- or part-time nanny. And because nannies are professional caregivers with their own families to support, you'll be hard-pressed to find one for less than $10 an hour. But of course, once you've established a relationship with your nanny, you and your children will always have someone you can count on. That's priceless.
For a parent working outside of the home who is earning a blue-collar wage, finding affordable temporary in-home care for a child too sick to go to center-based care or school, yet not sick enough to need mommy there all day, is very difficult. A day or even a week or more off the job is most likely the costly resolution, especially for those without vacation or family leave. Unfortunately, we were unable to find an existing program to answer these parents needs, though we did brainstorm and wonder if perhaps a college-based program for students studying child development could offer part-time, in-home and temporary sick-child care to middle income families with college credits as an incentive to offer lower-cost care.
Parents with well children have many options available. In Kansas parents (and employers interested in saving money by providing their employees with reliable childcare services) can contact a referral service like Day Care Connection, a local not-for-profit, or visit kaccraa.org to locate a referral service near them.
In Missouri there are several referral agencies. For help finding the one nearest you, contact Child Care Aware 1-800-424-2246.
In our personal search, we found thorough and helpful information through Heart of America Family Services. Within a day of our inquiry, we received in the mail a free, complete packet of information including listings of local in-home child care services, child care centers, information on how to choose a care provider and over a dozen referrals of part-time, family-home care providers located near us.
H.A.F.S also staffs an inclusion specialist who helps parent finding childcare for children with special needs.
Family-home care was the choice for our budget and we were fortunate to find a neighbor who cares for our children, and her own children, in her home. This was a convenient and comforting solution for us.
Most important is providing children with safe and loving care. Making that kind of care affordable, flexible and accessible to every family is the next challenge for the child care industry.
If you know of a solution or would like to address this issue, visit us on the web:
Heart of America Family Services 1-800-755-0838 - www.childcaresource.org
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