As a single parent, all of the responsibilities of the family are on your shoulders. This may mean that you have to work. In fact there are few single parents out there who can afford not to work. A new problem presents itself in this situation.
When single mothers and single fathers work, it means that they cannot be at home to take care of their children, and that they have to send their children to a childcare facility. These are expensive, but you don’t want to compromise on the care of your child. Luckily there are several programs in place in Tennessee to help parents in these positions afford quality childcare for their children.
Families First Child Care Program, Transitional Child Care Assistance, At Risk Child Only, and the Teen Child Care Assistance programs
There are a substantial number of programs offered in Tennessee for single parents concerned about the care their children receive while they work. Some of these programs are the Families First Child Care Program, Transitional Child Care Assistance, At Risk Child Only, and the Teen Child Care Assistance programs. The programs offer subsidies that cover all or part of the costs of quality childcare for your children.
The health of your child should be one of your top priorities as a good parent. I am sure it is, but it is not always easy to provide for your child’s needs as medical procedures and doctor’s appointments costs quite a lot these days. And, if you want to belong to a medical insurance scheme, this is also not so easy. There are too many medical insurance plans that are out of the budget of the average single parent. There are some plans in place, however, that are designed to be affordable for low income families.
In all states you will be able to have access to the subsidized health care insurance program Medicaid. This is a program that has been designed for single parents and other people form low income families who cannot afford private health insurance to cover the medical costs that they and their children incur. People under Medicaid are eligible for in-patient hospitalization, dental care, immunization, and x-ray tests. Although it is not an easy program to qualify for, it is suggested that you try nevertheless as it is a very good program for your children to be covered by if at all possible.
There are not a lot of options out there for single parents who are trying to find affordable ways of transporting themselves and their children to the places that they need to be. In fact there are not systems in place at all. The best advice that can be given regarding this is that you try to use cheaper transport. For example, if you use public transport it will cost you substantially less than driving your own car. Take a look at the public transport systems in the state and see if you can make it work for you.
There is one interesting option that you may be eligible for. People who qualify for Medicaid may also in certain situations qualify for non-emergency medical transport. This could come in handy for routine doctor’s appointments and so on, and it is suggested that you look into this if you are able to do so. The worst that can happen is that you will be turned down. However, if you are not, this can go a long way to making your life easier in terms of essential transport costs and logistics.
Rent / Housing Assistance
In most states there are measures in place, such as Section 8 Housing or the Housing Choice Voucher program that exist to ensure that you will be able to afford a place to live. In many cases assistance such as this is offered in form of a monetary amount that is paid directly to your landlord to cover your rent. This means that you will be protected by the government from having to leave your home. In most cases you will not be able to find full financial assistance, only partial, but this helps to decrease the financial burden.
Heating and utilities
The government of Tennessee is willing to shoulder the cost of such things as heating and utilities in order to ensure that single parents and their children will be able to stay in their home. This can go a long way to decreasing the financial burdens on the shoulders of single parents. The money is technically a form of cash assistance. However the money is paid by the government directly to the heating or utility company so that you never actually see the money. This is a good program to keep in mind if you are struggling in this regard.
Food & Supplies / Nutritional Assistance
Making sure that your children are well fed is one of the most important things you can do as a single parent. Remember though that it is not enough to simply provide them with food. You also need to make sure that the food they are being provided with is healthy and nutritious and that it will keep them in a good condition. This is easier said than done; especially as such food can be quite expensive and may even fall outside of the price range of a normal single parent. There are methods in place however to help you afford good food.
Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)
In the past there were food stamps, now Tennessee has the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program which has replaced the ineffectual food stamp system. This assistance is offered in the form of a debit card that is preloaded with money that you can use to purchase nutritional food. In fact one of the advantages of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) system over the food stamp system is that nutritional food is far easier to come by with the new cards. Nutrition is one of the most important aims of the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), making it a very good bet indeed.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
If you are a pregnant woman expecting to be a single mother, or if you are a single mother with children who are younger than five years of age, then you may be in a position to benefit from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program which is a program that aims to ensure that the infants and small children of single mothers and other mothers in need are adequately provided for in terms of the nutritious dairy products that their systems require. This is essential for development in children at these ages, which is why the service is offered.
Studying further is one of the best things that you can do as a single parent. This is because you will then be bettering your own situation as well as the situation of your children, and this is a great thing to aim for indeed. There are many institutions and individuals who recognize the greatness of this ideal, and they are willing to provide you with the financial assistance you need to fund your studies and achieve your educational aims. You just need to know where to look and what questions to ask. Below are some options for you to consider.
Government Grants for Single Parents in Tennessee
If you are looking for sources of financial aid from the government then the first thing you have to do is apply with FAFSA. Be honest in your responses to the questions asked on the form as the financial aid you will be informed of will be based on those answers. You will then be given information about what sort of financial aid you may be eligible for and then you will be able to apply.
Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship
One option available in all states in the merit based Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship which is awarded to students who have achieved outstanding results. If you are a top achiever and if you want to study further, then you should have a look at these requirements to make sure that you qualify for it:
- Eligible recipients must be top students in their graduating class
- Eligible recipients must have top GPAs and ACT scores
- Qualified recipients must be accepted into a four-year college program anywhere in the United States
General Scholarships and Single Parent Grant Programs In Tennessee
There are several general scholarships and single parent grants in Tennessee that you may be eligible for. Not all of them will be suitable for you, but it is well worth the effort required to look into them and see what they are all about. The worst that could happen is that they tell you are not qualified. You may as well look at the option in any case. These are:
- Tennessee Student Assistance Awards
- Education Lottery Scholarship Program
- Dependent Children Scholarship Program
Specialized Studies Scholarship and Grant Programs
There are certain professions in Tennessee that are experiencing a shortage. These areas include things like teaching and nursing, both of which are essential professions. If you are interested in one of these professions you may qualify for a scholarship to cover your tuition:
- The Christa McAuliffe Scholarship Program
- The Minority Teaching Fellows Program
- The Tennessee Math and Science Teacher’s Loan Forgiveness Program
- Graduate Nursing Loan Forgiveness Program
As you may notice these scholarships are not specifically aimed at single parents, but there is no reason why single parents cannot benefit from these wonderful opportunities offered by the state of Tennessee.
College single parent grants and scholarships
It is important to note that there are a number of colleges and universities in this state that offer a wide range of scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial assistance to potential students in an effort to encourage more and more students to join their college. This is something that you may be able to take advantage of if there is a specific college that you are interested in attending. Start by making inquiries at the college itself, preferably at their financial or financial aid department. Find out what the options are and if you are eligible for them, and then apply for them if you can.
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.
Family First program
There is one very interesting temporary measure, for example, that you may be able to make use of living in Tennessee. This is the Family First program which is designed to aid single parents as well as other individuals who are struggling financially to get back on their feet. This is monetary assistance and the funds given to the single parent can be used to purchase a variety of things that the single parent feels are necessary for maintaining the family. The aid is temporary and you will be unable to benefit from it for a period longer than five years.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
A similar form of financial assistance for single mothers that you may be able to apply for is Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This is a form of monetary assistance that is given as a debit card that is preloaded with money to be spent on certain items. However, this assistance is temporary and aims to help single parent families reach self sufficiency.