Put yourself, for a moment, in the shoes of Keashia Matthews, a single mother in Texas. You have a 17-month-old son and a dilemma — in order to qualify for state child care assistance you have to have worked 32 hours at your new temp agency job, but without the child care assistance you can’t afford dependable child care.
You cobble together care for three days, until there are just eight hours standing between you and the child care credit. You arrange for someone to watch your boy, whose name is Darrell Singleton III, but who is nicknamed “Tre,” so you can head off to work on a hot Texas morning in September. That person does not arrive, and at the last minute you put the child in the car and spend the day coming out of your workplace to give him water. On one of these trips you find him unresponsive, and race him to the emergency room, where he is declared dead.
This is Keashia Matthews’ side of the story, as told to WFAA news in Dallas this weekend. It may not be the whole story. Matthews had two children taken away back when she lived in Michigan, who have since been adopted by relatives. And last May she was investigated by local Child Protective Services for leaving Tre and his two sisters alone, an investigation that appears to have been dropped when she proved she had found child care.
But suppose it IS the whole story, the truth on that particular day — that she needed to work in order to both keep her job and meet the child care assistance requirement. What was this mother to do?
While you are pondering that, here’s another. Two mothers in Bournemouth, England, faced the universal parent’s dilemma — what to do with the kids during school vacations. Their children were friends, so each mom agreed to watch each others children for four hours a day, two days each week, while the other went to work.
An ideal solution, no? Not according to the police officer who accused them of illegally operating a day-care facility without a license.
What are your thoughts on this story? What are these mothers to do? Leave your comments below.