Number 1: I have a one year old daughter
Number 2: I am a full time student
Number 3: She needs childcare while I go to class
Number 4: I can’t afford it
All of these things seem like a simultaneous impossibility. There was a time, when I was receiving childcare assistance, that they were not. My first semester back at school since before I had my child was the most recent passed. Her daycare center got $112 from her father and the rest from the state. We saved over $400 a month. As with any government assistance program, it’s not easy to get.
There are lines to wait in, mornings to be wasted outside a dingy building full of dingy people with poor attitudes and more desolate futures. But I waited and I left messages and women behind desks called me back and it happened. This semester, however, looks to be a different story.
For the past month I have called almost every day. I have left messages for the women behind the desks and left my name, phone and social security numbers more times than I can count on two hands. This time, they are not calling me back.
I start school in one week.
I still have a one-year-old daughter. I still am a full-time student. She still needs childcare while I go to class. I still can’t afford it. But this time nobody will help me.
I’ve been lucky in the past with things just working out. Even when they seem horrible and unfair and at once impossible, I can usually find solace in knowing that they will work out. Everything will be okay.
I’ve drunk too much. I’ve studied to little. I’ve been arrested. I’ve been suspended. I’ve been to jail. I’ve gotten pregnant. I’ve come out of it all on the bright end of the tunnel thanks to the help of a lot of people and the support of even more. Childcare assistance, compared to all these things, seems trivial.
But this time nobody will help me.