Raising a family in today’s economic climate is extremely difficult. Having children is supposed to be considered a blessing. Based on today’s childcare costs, it may be viewed as a curse. Did you know childcare can cost more than a car payment? You may think that this is an exaggeration, but some families with several children are on the short end of the stick when it comes to paying for childcare. Some families have considered themselves lucky by being able to work from home and home school their children. There is another side of this spectrum some may not have been made aware of. For some families, parents had to continue to work while schools were closed, daycares were closed, and there was no one to watch their kids. Some parents were left with no alternatives outside of quitting their job. This has caused a heavy strain on countless household budgets to say the least. You may say that there has to be another way. I am hoping that I can provide you with a few resources that may be able to provide you with some relief.
While employers were required to send their employees home to work, more and more employers are now offering hybrid models to allow employees the option to work from home a few days out of the week. This scenario will require less days of paid child care. This way may be an acceptable option to reduce your childcare expenses.
Another option is to seek a job, if you can, that allows for you work from home completely. This is the top choice, but it is not always plausible based on your industry of experience. In this scenario, it could be in your best interest to take a pay cut to obtain the work from home job. The savings from cutting out childcare along with the savings on gas from ditching the daily commute should be substantial.
Another option is to seek a different work schedule and arrange shorter times requiring childcare. Some jobs offer a split shift that will allow for you to work half of your shift with a few hours break in between and then complete the remainder of your shift. This could work in some households.
Another option would be to hire a private sitter. This person would have an assigned schedule and may be cheaper than the traditional daycare centers. You may be able to connect with a family member or friend who you can share the sitter to split the costs. The downside is that you would need to decide whose house is used as the childcare site.
Another option depending on the age of your children is arranging for after school care from organizations like the Boys & Girls Club or the YMCA. There are costs associated, but usually substantially cheaper in most areas than the traditional childcare centers.
Another option that may be more affordable is a local church. Some churches may be able to offer scholarships or free childcare based on hardships. You may be on the fence about the church, but this is where more families attend on a regular basis outside of a school. Think about that for a moment.
Now, if none of the other options will work and finances are just too tight to allow for anything at all. It is time to apply for State Assistance. I have included the instructions on how to apply. It lists the requirements and steps that you will need to follow in order to apply. This program is for low income families currently working, teen parents currently enrolled in high school or GED classes, residents of a homeless or domestic abuse shelter, and to individuals who are physically or emotionally unable to work. You may be added to a wait list if there is a large demand.
The resources provided were found on the Arizona Department of Economic Security website. Here you will find additional resources according to your needs. The resources include food assistance, medical assistance, cash assistance, housing and shelter, and a lot more. I have attached a list of community resources below. It contains the names of departmental agencies that handle specific resources. Please share these resources with anyone you know who could benefit from them. Please do not let pride be the reason that you are not seeking help. Everyone needs help sometimes. Let me provide some resources that will allow you to receive the assistance you need. It takes a village to support each other and we are that village.
Arizona is offering return to work childcare assistance for those who were received unemployment benefit payment for the benefit week ending May 8, 2021 or May 15, 2021. You may qualify for some other incentives based on certain criteria (see below information on how to apply).