Thursday 19 October 2017

'Childcare remains the biggest issue, despite the supports on offer'

Lone parent - Aimee Croke

Aimee Croke from Waterford City. Photo: Patrick Browne
Aimee Croke from Waterford City. Photo: Patrick Browne
Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

Aimee Croke has just been offered a job as a trainee accountant and her focus is on finding suitable childcare for her nine-year-old daughter Saoirse.

When she returned to education last year, studying to become an accounting technician, childcare was also the biggest issue for the 30-year-old, who lives with her daughter in Waterford city.

She is relieved that she will still qualify for the Family Income Supplement (FIS) when she returns to work and loses her Jobseeker's Transitional Payment (JST).

However, she won't benefit from any of the Budget announcements for childcare.

"I was really hoping for something in childcare, but to be honest, I wasn't expecting it," Ms Croke said.

"There are improvements in early childcare but my daughter is nine so we won't benefit from that."

"There are only four registered childcare providers in Waterford city," she added.

"So I'm stuck paying for a private, unregistered childminder, so I don't benefit from any childcare schemes at all."

Ms Croke has been trying to source the best childcare for her daughter before she returns to work - but says she is finding this process extremely difficult.

"Every single crèche in the city that I've contacted is either full with a long waiting list or else they don't provide a pick-up service from school," said Ms Croke.

"It's just smoke and mirrors really with the childcare."

Ms Croke is in receipt of a Lone Parent's Allowance and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which replaced Rent Allowance.

"I'm not too sure where I stand regarding those payments when I return to work," she said.

Support

Childcare support was what she was looking for in the Budget.

"This is not just for lone parents, it's for all parents.

"In a two-parent family, if both are working, one salary goes on childcare," she said.

"It's even worse for lone parents and in the last few years we haven't been given a choice about staying at home and there was even less support when I went back to education.

"If I missed a day because I had to mind my child, I lost a day's payment and there were times when I'd miss days because I didn't have a crèche."

Irish Independent

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