Over three weeks ago the child care center both my children were attending closed without notice on a Friday afternoon. It closed for good and left me scrambling to find a new facility for my children to attend by that Monday. Luckily I found a facility which had recently opened and was able to enroll my daughter immediately, but my son had to wait a few weeks to start due to transportation issues for after school. I was ok with this, and we fumbled through the next few weeks with relative ease getting everyone where they needed to be and picked up/dropped off from buses and school.
After struggling with finances for over 2 years, due to the high cost of child care, I was finally approved for a state funded program which would help me with the cost of child care. For the first 2 years I was denied funding due to me being a full time student instead of working full time. I was told the state would be willing to give me funding for the hours I was participating in a work study program but not the hours I was in class because my major, Liberal Arts, was not a trade based major. The work study program I participated in was through the VA based on my veterans status and did not have weekly pay checks/stubs. My pay was based on me working a total of 50 hours (not to exceed 25 a week). Needless to say, it was a difficult process to get the needed paper work together. As a single parent I struggled to support my 2 young children as I bettered myself by earning a college degree, and all without state help.
When I finally graduated I ventured out into the work force with my diploma in hand. With the job market being what it is, I know that beggars can’t be choosers and took a job paying $15.50 an hour. After working 40 hours a week I now make about $560 a week. The cost of child care, with my daughter going full time and my son only attending after school care, was now at $365 a week. Add on a $430 car payment and $1225 a month rent, I wasn’t making ends meet. I had no choice but to re apply for state funding once again. It took over a month for the state to approve my paperwork. I received the letter of the approval on a Tuesday. After struggling with bills, ruining my credit, and getting utilities shut off, i was finally going to be able to get my feet back on the ground. I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Three days later I went to pick my children up from their daycare only to find out the daycare was closing its doors for good. Although I found a new facility that evening I received notification from the state of my assistance being terminated. I called to immediately to ask if there was a program in place for emergencies such as this one and was told, quite rudely, no. My only option was to re gather the necessary paperwork to re submit to the state once again.
Each week I checked the status of my application. After 2 weeks I was informed the necessary paperwork was in and it would take about a week for it to processes. A week later I called again to check only to be told the new facility needed to submit an additional form. I approached the owner with this issue and was assured they had submitted the paperwork several weeks beforehand. Another week went by and I called again, this time I was told all the paperwork was in once again, but when I asked how long it would be before I was approved AGAIN I was told my case workers had 10 to 15 days to submit everything.
So here I am, once again, with $9 in my bank account trying to figure out how I am going to pay my new daycare facility, rent, feed my family, and keep my utilities on. It has take the state of Connecticut 2 months to approve me for funding, none of which could be used as I tried to better myself to get a better paying job, and only 1 business day for them to deny me. There are no emergency funds in place for situations such as this. I know I’m not the only parent to be put into a bind like this in the past month.
With the closing of Precious Cargo Daycare over 45 families were displaced, many of which were receiving funding from the state. All of those families, I’m sure, also received to notification that Tuesday that their assistance was immediately stopped. This kind of issue highlights part of where the state of Connecticut fails its citizens.
So I’m asking you, Governor Malloy, why. Why do I as a single parent have to suffer financially as I better myself and become a better role model for my children? Why do I have to suffer financially for over 2 months as I wait for paper work which has already been approved to be re approved? Do you have the money to pay the debt the misguided state system has put me into? Do you have the money to feed my family? If you do, and you’re willing to pay, then I’ll back off. If you don’t and can’t help me, I’ll continue on until the state corrects its wrongs. One angry mother or thousands? The choice is up to you sir.