Saturday, May 29, 2010

Need Child Care So You Can Hang Onto Your Job? Don't Expect Help in Arizona

Posted By on Sat, May 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Here's a New York Times story from earlier this week about how cuts to subsidized childcare are making it impossible for single moms to hold onto jobs:

Here in Tucson — a city of roughly 500,000 people, sprawling across a parched valley dotted by cactus — Jamie Smith, a 23-year-old single mother, once had subsidized child care. That enabled her to work at Target, where she earned about $8 an hour. She paid $1.50 a day for her 3-year-old daughter, Wren, to stay at a child care center. The state picked up the rest.

She was aiming to resume college and then find a higher-paying job. But in December, she missed by a day the deadline to extend her subsidy. When she went to the state Department of Economic Security to submit new paperwork, she learned that all new applicants were landing on a waiting list.

Ms. Smith sought help from Wren’s father to look after their daughter. But he had his own job delivering pizza, limiting his availability.

“Some days, I’d just have to call in sick,” she said.

By March, she had missed so many days that Target put her on a leave of absence, telling her to come back after securing stable child care, she said.

Without the state program, she sees no viable options.

She, too, is contemplating going on welfare.

“It’s a blow to my own self-image and self-worth as a person who can take care of myself,” she says. “I’m totally able, physically and intellectually, to continue working. But I can’t work without child care, and I can’t afford child care without work.”

But remember: Republican lawmakers are pro-life and pro-family. Just don't ask them to fund any programs that actually help low-income families get a toehold on improving their lives. That would be helping out the people that state Sen. Frank Antenori likes to refer to as the "tax-eaters." Compassionate conservatism is sooo yesterday.

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