As states pull back on support for childcare services, single mothers will have an even harder time building wealth and staying out of debt.
Single mothers aren’t faring very well in the recovery. Their unemployment rate was 12.4 percent in November, up from 11.7 percent in June 2009. An unemployed single mother will clearly need help with at least one thing to go out and get another job: childcare. And those who have jobs are still trying to make ends meet, potentially working longer hours and in need of someone to care for their children. But just as the need for childcare assistance is surely rising, states are cutting back. A new report from the National Women’s Law Center shows that those in need of assistance were worse off this year compared to last year in 37 states when it came to income eligibility limits to qualify, waiting lists, copayments, reimbursement rates, and eligibility for assistance to parents looking for a job.
Denying women support for childcare will directly impact their ability to save and their need to take on debt. As a report from NYU Wagner, “At Rope’s End,” says, “The hefty costs associated with single parenthood, which include childcare, housing, food, health insurance, among others, decrease the likelihood that, even with a stable income, these mothers will be able to accrue wealth.” And paying for childcare is no small cost. The average price of full-time care can range from $3,600 to $18,200 annually, according to the NWLC report, and At Rope’s End estimates that this cost accounts for over three-quarters of single mothers’ monthly expenditures.