Single parents have to make difficult decisions all the time, and this was no different for Ella. For example: should she exchange her close to home, full-time but low-paying job with a better-paying one with benefits but located out of town, so that she could work less and spend more time with her daughter? But there was no guarantee until after successfully completing a 9-month probationary period. It was a risk Ella prayerfully took with the hope of providing a brighter future for her small family.
If you are a working family in central Minnesota with young children, you’ve probably felt the restricting squeeze of finding available childcare. The percentage of households with children and two working parents has been increasing for decades now; but conversely, the availability of childcare is not rising to meet the need. Even with an increasing population, the number of childcare providers in Crow Wing County has decreased from 199 in 2008 to 92 in 2018.
Ella was one of the lucky ones who did have secure daycare during the week; however, her new job required her to work every other weekend as well. Despite not having the support of family, Ella had so far been able to find friends to babysit during her weekend shifts. Until this particular Saturday morning.
Ella called the Crisis Nursery, and I could tell by the tenseness in her voice that she had run out of options and was running out of time as well.
The struggle of having a limited support network is not only that you don’t have many options to meet your needs, but you also don’t generally have the security of a backup plan when things fall apart. When she found out on Friday afternoon that her babysitter for Saturday was no longer available, it was hard for Ella not to panic. Missing a shift at work during her probationary job could very well be grounds for termination.
Thinking she had exhausted all her options, Ella was told about Crisis Nursery, which she’d never heard of before. When Ella called, I explained to her how Crisis Nursery provides safe, no cost, short-term childcare during a family crisis; and that her current situation qualified. After a few phone calls to our list of area Crisis Nursery providers, I was able to secure a placement for Ella’s child so she could continue working and providing for her family.
During a follow up phone call, Ella told me, “Everything worked out great. It was nice to not have to stress about childcare!” Because of the support of the community, Bridges of Hope is able to help families just like Ella’s thrive and grow even amidst adversity and challenges. Thank you for helping us build Bridges in the Lakes Area!
Crisis Nursery Services is a collaborative partnership between Bridges of Hope and Crow Wing County Social Services. It provides safe, no-cost, short-term crisis childcare for children ages 0-12 in Crow Wing County. Children are cared for by licensed daycare and/or foster care providers. In 2016, we worked to arrange 37 separate placements for children to have a safe place to stay when their parents needed a break or time to attend to a family crisis. Families may access Crisis Nursery between the hours of 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, seven days a week. For more information about childcare services, read about the programs and resources on our website.