Desperate Moms Sometimes Resort to Unsafe Child Care

low quality day careWhen we began the search for child care for my daughter, as new parents who were not wealthy, we were very overwhelmed. Once we saw the cost of day care -- and forget about the fancy developmental learning ones -- we were a little bit devastated. We were able to cobble together my part-time job with part-time day care that we could (barely) afford, but yet we still felt good about. 

We were lucky. Because the solution for some moms, according to the National Women's Law Center, has been to resort to "low quality day care." When I read this, I thought, "What does low quality day care mean? Does someone actually advertise that they are a 'low quality' day care?" Then I stopped to think about it and realized how awful it would be to be forced to make that choice.

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Low quality day care could come in a variety of forms. Generally you're talking about unregulated day care facilities. People who have opened up their home without going through the proper education or regulatory requirements. Whether that means their child care methods are extremely lacking, or that there are too many children and not enough care givers -- none of it is good. Perhaps there is lead paint on the walls, no safety bars on windows, or no safe fire escape route. Then you have the crazies who drug the kids, or leave them unattended or otherwise in danger, and we read about it in the news. Needless to say, mom is going to be preoccupied at her job when she knows her child is not in the greatest situation.

But what choice do so many moms have, really? I'm always amazed at how the families in America manage to work and pay for child care. While most (all?) western civilizations have support in place for working parents, we simply don't feel like taking care of our nation's children is a priority. While that's incredibly sad, what is even worse is that in this super crappy economy, some parents are choosing between day care and the rent. Not a great position to be in when you're also trying to care for your little ones.

I feel lucky that we were able to find exceptional options, even though we went in debt to do it. But not everyone is as lucky as we were. For those people, they're just crossing their fingers and hoping for their best.

Do you have to use a 'low quality' day care?

 

Image via ABN2/Flickr

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