After-School Program Cancellations Pose Problems for Parents

Filed under: In The News, Home Base

dad and daughter

When after-care closes, parents are left scrambling. Credit: wireful, Flickr

The back-to-school season is a joy for working parents. But many are facing the nightmare of cancelled after-school child care.

This has led to a boom market for baby sitters, since many households with two working parents are unable to care for their offspring immediately after the school day ends, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The cost difference is significant. The Journal estimates that after-school programs generally cost parents between $3 and $4 per hour, whereas hiring a baby sitter can run as high as $15 an hour. Some parents are pooling their resources to create "share-care," which costs approximately $5 an hour, according Genevieve Thiers of SitterCity.com.

These cuts create more than just logistical problems. They can lead to workers being forced to cut their schedules and therefore earn less money. One woman described in the Journal said that she would probably need to stop taking classes on weekends in order to find the money to hire a baby sitter. She had been taking those classes in order to get a higher paying job.

Some are concerned that the country will see an increase in "self-care" or what used to be called latchkey kids. Laws vary from state to state, but child-care specialists generally believe that children younger than 10 should not be home alone, according to the Journal. But with no options for affordable after-school child care, many parents will be forced to do just that.

Have you been affected by after school program cuts? What are you doing about it?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.