Dealing with financial stress and leaving jobs are among the downfalls Black single mother face due to the ongoing child care crisis.
Check out these shocking statistics: Some 36% of Black mothers declare paying for childcare causes financial stress.
Further, that same percentage of Black women have chosen to leave a job or the workforce entirely because of childcare issues recent studies show.
The childcare crisis can be devastating for Black parents, especially single Black moms who often don’t have a partner to divide those duties with or cannot afford to take a break from work to look after children.
Carleen Haylett, the CEO of EnrichedHQ, a marketplace that offers educational activities for school-aged kids among its services, told BLACK ENTERPRISE via email it’s impossible any longer to sugarcoat the epidemic that is the childcare crisis nationally. She says this is disproportionally acute for single Black mothers.
To boot, she noted this group, by and large, are employed in jobs requiring their physical presence onsite, outside of the home. Coupled with being largely hourly positions, these employees also rarely gain access to company-sponsored childcare benefits offered to their in-office counterparts.
“Current benefits packages operate on the misconception that childcare ends after kindergarten. The truth is that a significant number of working parents are forced to scale back or quit their jobs to care for school-aged children,” Haylett explains.
“Until employers acknowledge this reality, they are unlikely to find much success in preventing working parents from missing work.”
She says her firm can help solve the problem by offering a marketplace of online programs geared for school-aged children that can be subsidized by employers. She claims her solution could be offered as an extension of their existing benefits, making them cost effective and an alternative to traditional childcare like extracurriculars and in-home care.
Haylett offered some tips for Black single moms and employers to help lessen the troubling problem:
1) Build a support community.
For instance, non-profit organizations like local churches, community centers, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America offer options for free care. Take the time to fully understand what is available from state and district programs offered directly through schools. Personally, Haylett says she used a $75/year YMCA membership to gain access to free childcare for her son when he was little, calling it a lifesaver.
2) Company-Funded Childcare Resources
For companies, executives and HR leaders should take a broader look at what “childcare” means for everyone. With school-aged kids being the largest population, offering only daycare access or stipends to backup sitters just doesn’t cut it for those moms. That is especially true with employees needing to be onsite or in-person for work. Employers can turn unused offices or workspaces into after-school homework centers.
3) Be Self Resourceful
Partner with organization support addressing the lack of availability of quality childcare offerings. Organizations like Girls Inc., with many brick-and-mortar sites across the country, offer free after school options including tutoring, life-skills programs, and access to technology. If access to technology assets is a concern, look to organizations like PCs for People that provide computers, software, and Internet access, often for free.
Haylett says it is essential that executives and HR leaders build strong communication and awareness programs for employees. A “build it and they will come” mentality will not achieve the benefits to employees initially set out to be achieved. Ensuring the culture of flexibility and continued communication of the availability of such programs is essential to their success and is driven from the top of the organization and its culture.”
Source: Black Enterprise