There are lot of demands on the time and resources of single parents. Consequently it is not always possible for them to provide their children who are not yet in school with twenty-four care.
On top of that the costs of sending your child to a day care facility are quite high. Of course the quality of the care your child receives is also an important factor and not one that you want to compromise on. Fortunately in Illinois there are a number of programs in place that exist to ensure that children of single parents are properly taken care of while their parents work.
Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
There are several options available in terms of childcare assistance in Illinois, one of which is the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). This is not a free program, but it does allow you to have access to affordable childcare services, this is a great advantage as the biggest problems single parents face in this regard is the cost of the services available. You can also be guaranteed that your child will be taken care of in a quality environment and that only the best care will be provided to him or her to give them the best chance at lice possible.
A very innovative idea on the part of the Illinois Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) is to link single parents up with other single parents who they can perhaps share the burden of caring for their children with. Working in shifts can be a great way to make sure that another parent in the same situation as you is keeping an eye on your child. The fact that they understand how much you worry about your child may help you feel that they are taking care of your child properly.
Your child’s health should be of the utmost importance to you, which is why it is essential to look into the various healthcare options that are open to single mothers living in Illinois. There are many ways to ensure that your child receives the healthcare assistance that he or she needs. A healthy child is likely to be a more successful and happy child, so this is one of the more important aspects of your role as a parent. Healthcare insurance is expensive, but there are ways for you to make sure that your child is well covered. You just have to take the time to do the necessary research to find out what options are out there for you.
If your child is of a certain age, and if you are in the financial position necessary, then you may qualify for Medicaid. There are quite stringent measures in place however and many people, especially in certain states, find t quite difficult to qualify for Medicaid. For example the maximum salary that you are allowed to earn for Medicaid is quite low comparatively speaking and many people who not qualify for Medicaid are also unable to afford private health insurance. This means that you may need to explore other avenues, but your first port of call definitely should be Medicaid so you can find out whether or not you qualify.
FamilyCare and AllKids program
Another option open to single parents concerned about the healthcare of their children is FamilyCare. This program is aimed at single parents or guardians of children who are struggling to afford quality healthcare insurance. The eligibility requirements are however very stringent. However there are more affordable options for you to consider such as the AllKids program. This is a far less stringent program to become involved in.
There are not necessarily a lot of options open to single parents who are looking for way to make sure that they have the transport they need to get to and from work and to get their children to and from school. In some states there are measures in place to assist single mothers with their transport needs, so try and find out about those. It is also worth mentioning that public transport may well be a viable option. Public transport is a far more affordable means of transport than either getting a cab or using our own vehicle. It is well worth considering and the public transport system in Illinois is good, so why not give it a try?
If you qualify for Medicaid then you may be in luck. There are systems in place by Medicaid to make sure that children can get transport to general doctor’s appointments and check-ups. This may surprise you but Medicaid does offer non-emergency transport to people who qualify for the service. Therefore it is well worth your while to look into these options and see if you are one of the lucky ones who qualifies for non-emergency transport form Medicaid. There is no harm in asking. The worst thing they can do is to tell you that you are not eligible for the service.
Rent / Housing Assistance
An important part of being a good parent is making sure that there your children have a roof over their heads. As a single parent it is very difficult to achieve this in reality. So that is why in the state of Illinois there are a number of measures in place to assist single mothers and other low income families get the housing assistance that they need. A safe and healthy environment to grow up in affects so many other parts of your child’s life. It is very important to do everything in your power to try and make sure that you have a home.
Food & Supplies / Nutritional Assistance
Making sure that your child has enough food to eat is essential, but it is also important to make sure that they are getting enough of the right food. Nutrition is an incredibly important part of ensuring that your children stay healthy. Without proper nutrition they will be unable to fight off illnesses and diseases. However healthy food is not always the cheapest food out there, as we well know, and single parents struggle to make ends meet as it is. There are several measures in place in Illinois to help single mothers put nutritious food on the table.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
For children younger than the age of five and for women who are pregnant, one of the options that is open to you in terms of providing nutritious food to your children lies with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) organisation. With this organisation you will be given access to enough food to feed your child or children. On top of that you will be able to rest in the knowledge that your children are receiving food with high nutritional value as one of the aims of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is t provide nutrition.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a program through which you will be able to buy food for your children. You get a debit card which is loaded with money to be spent in certain places on nutritional food for your children to eat.
Studying further is a noble ideal for you to strive towards, and you will not regret it once you do. However as a single parent you may feel that you have extremely limited options in this regard. The important thing to remember here is that you are not alone. There are many people and organizations out there that are willing to reward signs that you are trying to improve your own life and that of your children by studying further. There are a number of education grants available if you know where to look for them.
Government Grants for Single Parents in Illinois
Your first port of call when looking for government grants should be FAFSA. The first thing that you should do if you are hoping to study further is to fill out the FAFSA form. This can be found at http://www.fafsa.com. Once you have filled out the form you will be informed by FAFSA what sort of financial aid options you qualify for. The answers that they give you will be based on the information that you fill out in the form, so be honest. Make sure that you don’t forget to find out from FAFSA what kind of educational help you can get.
Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s)
If you are lucky you may be eligible for one of the Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s) that is offered by Assets Illinois, through the Illinois Department of Human Service. Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s) work on the basis that if you commit to saving up a set amount of money, the government will provide you with a set amount of money to go with it to pay for your studies. This is one endeavor to investigate.
General Scholarships and Grants
There are a number of general scholarships and grants available in Illinois for single parents who want to get back to their studies. It is well worth considering all scholarships that are available even if they are not specifically aimed at single parents. You can still benefit from general scholarships provided you meet the necessary requirements. Investigate all the options open to you. Some of your options are the following:
- Illinois General Assembly Scholarship
- Merit Recognition Scholarship
- MIA/POW Scholarships program
- Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarships
- The Illinois Dollars for Scholars organization
Specialized Scholarships and Grants
There are some specialized scholarships and grants for you to consider as well. If you are willing to work in undeserved areas such as nursing or teaching you may be eligible for some of the following scholarships. They are:
- Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program.
- The Illinois Future Teachers Corps Program (aka the David DeBoit Teacher Shortage Scholarship Program)
- The Illinois Special Education Teacher Tuition Waiver
- The Golden Apple Scholars Program
- The Nursing Education Scholarship
- Medical Student Scholarship Program
- The Allied Health Care Professional Scholarship Program
- The Nurse Educator Scholarship Program
College grants and scholarships
Remember that there are a number of schools and colleges out there that offer loans and grants to their students in order to encourage more and more people to study at their institute. If there is a school that you are particularly interested in then you should take the time to inquire at their financial services department to find out whether or not you are eligible for any financial assistance from the school itself. It can’t hurt to try and you may end up being pleasantly surprised by the opportunities that this line of inquiry may open for you.
Other Grants or Resources Available
The above information is by no means exhaustive. It merely provides an overview of some of the options that are available to single parents who want to change their situation and make their lives better for themselves and for their children. It is important that you research all possible avenues for assistance in your area. Try churches and non-profit organizations to see what structures they have in place. Use the internet to search for programs that aim to help single parents get through the tough of time of raising children by themselves in your area. Don’t give up and remember that you are not alone.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
One option that is open to you is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. This is, as the name suggests, and temporary program so you will only be able to make use of this monetary assistance for a limited period of time. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families aims to serve as a stop-gap for needy families to get by until they get back on their feet. You will get a debit card that will be loaded with a preset amount of money which can only be spent at certain places and on certain things.