The peace of mind I feel when dropping off my son at his child care, though, is disturbed every day by the financial stress I feel about my checking account. Quality child care is expensive and I can feel the financial and emotional weight of each check I write. Even with the 10% tuition assistance I receive through the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP) and the child support I receive from my ex-husband, it’s a constant struggle for me to afford child care, my student loan debt and all of our living expenses. And it’s not because I only have one income—before our divorce, my ex-husband and I struggled to pay for child care because we earned enough to not qualify for tuition assistance.
Once I had my son, I began to realize our family’s struggle mirrored the struggles of families from all economic backgrounds across the state. Child care is expensive and it’s forcing Vermonters to ask tough questions like:
- “Can we afford to give our child a sibling?”
- “Do I leave the workforce or do I work two or three jobs and never see my children?”
- “Which can I afford to pay: the child care bill or the heating bill?”