Alissa duHasky returned to her job as a church youth worker when her youngest child, Emily, was 18 months old. Her schedule was flexible: some evenings and weekend hours, and every Tuesday in the office. She decided that home-based child care close to her son’s school was the best option for the Tuesdays.
Although she would be picking up Emily at 3 p.m., duHasky agreed to pay the full-day fee, and donated the after-school hours to another family.
At first the arrangement seemed to be working well. But duHasky became concerned about the number of children and the quality of care Emily was receiving, so she pulled her out and hired a mom on mat leave to come to her home for a few months. Then she had a teenager in for the summer. In the fall, Emily attended a daycare centre one day a week for a while, but outgrew the toddler room and could no longer be accommodated. She now spends Tuesdays at her grandma’s house.
“It was extremely frustrating. I thought I had the best possible working arrangement and that daycare wouldn’t be a problem, but this poor kid had every possible kind of care,” says duHasky.
Guelph, Ont., single mom Brenda Telford* can empathize. She’s worked 12-hour shifts as a 911 operator since her daughter, Leah, was six months old and has had a succession of caregivers for the now eight-year-old. “People who answer my ads for a sitter are always in transition, either between jobs or not looking for permanent work.”
*Names changed by request.
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