I am a single mother of three girls, one of whom experiences down syndrome and has significant medical needs. We have often struggled to find the care that she needs.
Once Katie entered full-time kindergarten, I still needed to find after school care for her. Now that she’s older, she qualifies for in-home support. She needs to have someone work with us on independent skills. It’s important that she’s able to respond well to someone who’s supporting her, because she’s going to need support for the rest of her life. And as a single mother, to have that extra support for her is critical.
We qualified for extra help two years before the pandemic, but couldn’t find workers. Part of the issue is that the pay rates for care workers are incredibly low. Many of the PCAs work at least two jobs to make ends meet. This school year, we were lucky enough to find an incredible care worker. But I feel terrible that there is a fabulous person coming into my home to give love and support to my daughter, and I can’t pay her a living wage. I know that finding good support – and being able to pay them – will be an ongoing problem as Katie grows older.
The expanded child tax credit has been a huge help for our family. To know that that additional money is there to cover costs of things I can’t normally cover is wonderful. I used the payments from July and August to fix my car. Generally, that would have been a huge stressor, but because I had additional support coming in, it was very manageable. I didn’t have to do the kind of financial bargaining that families typically have to do when hit with an unexpected expense.