No Longer Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How Martha Helps Working Parents Get Affordable Childcare
Some twenty years ago, Martha walked into the offices of her new job at the non-profit Connections For Children. She was wary of working in an office environment — with all the phone-answering and paper-shuffling — but she was determined to make it work. She needed this job — it paid enough that she could help support her parents.
The fact that she was helping support her parents might tip you off that Martha is a helper through and through — and always has been. Today that helping instinct informs her work as the manager of the child care subsidy program at Connections For Children, where she champions working parents by helping them find affordable child care.
And if you’re wondering — no, Martha doesn’t mind the office environment anymore. In fact, it’s within those four walls that she’s found a purpose that extends throughout Santa Monica and west L.A.
Connections For Children: Solving The Work-Child Care Conundrum
A huge stressor for many parents and caregivers is the challenge of paying for childcare, so that they can work and provide financially for themselves and their children. It leaves many parents stuck between a rock and a hard place, a conundrum made all the harder by living in a region already marked by a high cost of living.
Connections For Children helps solve that problem by connecting caregivers to affordable child care providers. They also offer workshops and training for parents and caregivers, equipping them with the best tools possible for child-raising, and ensuring that kids are ready when the time comes to start school — a goal Santa Monica has for all children.
Collaboration Is Key
Connections For Children works collaboratively with other supportive agencies in the city — like Family Services of Santa Monica and Community Corporation of Santa Monica — to ensure that families get the holistic and multi-pronged support they need to raise their children well.
This interagency collaboration makes a difference in people’s lives in a way that moves Martha to tears. It wasn’t long ago that she worked with a single woman who had made the brave decision to foster a young child all on her own. This child’s life had been marked by unthinkable trauma — a fact that might be daunting to many potential caregivers. But this foster mother persevered, and Connections For Children, along with Santa Monica Family Services, stepped in to give her the resources and support she needed. As a result, she didn’t have to turn the child away. Martha says, “Because of the support she had, this child has flourished and he’s developed in many ways. He’s with regular kids. He’s not being bullied anymore... It’s amazing.”
She still keeps in touch with this family. It’s clear this foster mother and child have made an impact on her — just as Connections For Children has made an impact on them.
How The Community Can Get Involved:
Interested in helping give working families a leg up? Here are some ways to get involved:
There’s currently a shortage of home family daycares — get one started if you’ve ever thought about becoming a child care provider.
Volunteer at community events or help with their Christmas toy drive.
Donate! Monetary donations go to supportive services, the holiday toy drive, and CPR certification for providers.
If you’re the parent of a child 5 years or under, check out Family Time at Virginia Park Mondays at 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Playgroup leaders lead singing, arts, crafts, and storytime. There are also resources available focusing on child development, preschool readiness, and building a community support network.
And stay up to date with all things Santa Monica at weare.santamonica.gov