The health care bill has been the biggest government story for the past few months. It aims at helping families afford health care, but possibly also requires all people to have some form of insurance, like for cars. Meanwhile this past week, New York state cut $10 million in child-care funding for low-income families and raised the income eligibility requirements. It is estimated that 1500 children in Erie County will be affected. So the question remains: Can low-income single moms, who are working hard to get off the welfare system, survive after this latest blow?
Channel 2 NBC-WGRZ reported a story of one such mother who seemed in shock Wednesday night as she pleaded with government officials. Sherine Weaver guesses she'll have to quit her job to take care of her two children. She only makes $350 each week, and daycare would cost $300, leaving her with only $50.
Or there's Nichelle Jones, who the Buffalo News stated is just getting by right now. She works full time and has a 7 year old daughter. Right now, she is able to pay the $49 child care bill each week. But soon, that will change to $150 per week, and by summertime when school is on break, $350 per week. She too thinks she may have to quit her job of 10 years.
Many people are quick to point the finger at the mothers, saying they are relying too much on state help. But it seems this cut in child-care funding will only create more dependance on welfare, and hurt the children. Jones has worked since she was 18, but will have to go on welfare if she has to stay home with her daughter. Other mothers may not make the same choice, leaving their young children to take care of themselves after school, home alone. Weaver said wednesday, "I just want a sense of independance".
Angry parents, including some of the 100 who attended Wednesday's meeting with local officials, have vowed to organize and talk to state leaders. Their goal is to obtain more money from the state for Erie County to help reintroduce the funding.