As a Parent, I Feel Like I'm Failing
For Faye Longo, a single mom in South Royalton, affording child care has been a constant struggle. Having grown up in poverty herself, Faye notes that it’s very important to her that she lives a life and does work that gives back to her community. She receives assistance paying for child care through the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), but the program structure creates some unfortunate side effects for her professionally.
She explains, “I'm working so hard to make it so that I can be self-reliant, but every time that my employer comes to me with a raise because I'm doing a great job, I have to decide, do I accept that raise, or do I sit down with her and explain to her why I can't take it? Every time that I get a dollar raise at work, that affects my child care subsidy substantially more than that dollar raise does. So I end up in a situation where I'm losing more than I'm gaining. You want to get raises at work. And if you're doing a good job, that's supposed to be a good thing. But in my situation, it's not always a good thing.”
This situation puts Faye in a bind and forces her to sacrifice her career progress (and therefore her family’s long-term financial health) to keep her child care affordable. In addition, this particular child care setting closes before Faye is done with work for the day, so her mother (who lives in Cabot) picks up her daughter from child care daily and takes care of her until the end of Faye’s workday. This arrangement means that she has up to three hours of drive time added to her day, going between child care, work, her mother’s house and back home to South Royalton. She says, “As a parent I feel like I'm failing, even though I'm doing everything I can. But when you are so stressed for time, and you're spending so much of it driving your children around and trying to work and do the right things, it’s just really hard. Even when she was three, my daughter would tell me, ‘Mom I feel like I don't ever see you.’”