Here's where to look for resources and financial help for single mothers.
The job of being a single parent undoubtedly comes with many challenges, but never more so than when trying to juggle work, finances and childcare. Although there are no easy answers or quick fixes, there are, fortunately, many places you can turn to that offer help for single mothers.
In addition to government or state-sponsored programs, "there has been a rise in corporate sponsorships for early childhood education programs in recent years," says Dr. Diane Levin, a professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College in Boston. Below is a list of federal and assistance options that may be available in your state.
Search for Financial Grants
Although the application process to receive grants may be a bit lengthy, a quick search yields an abundance of organizations and programs offering financial assistance. Be wary and read the fine print on these websites, as many of them are simply portals for collecting registration fees without giving any real information on grants.
Two reputable websites are:
The Soroptomist Live Your Dream Awards offers resources for women who are the main source of financial support for their families. The award seeks to provide assistance with securing employment, improving education and building skill sets.
- The Sunshine Lady Foundation
Offering the Women's Independence Scholarship Program and the Learn By Giving Program, The Sunshine Lady Foundation provides financial assistance to female survivors of domestic abuse and college graduates interested in learning about philanthropy.
Get Help From Your Community
This is a government-sponsored phone line that provides access to a host of important local community services. Call 211 to access resources like food and clothing shelters, emergency financial assistance and childcare.
- Childcare Resource and Referral Agency
These organizations help parents locate affordable childcare in their area. One of the most useful services that Childcare Resource and Referral Centers provide "is access to information about the wide variety of programs and assistance available to parents from all economic levels," says Dr. Levin. She goes on to explain that "CRRCs act as something of an aggregator of local parenting resources in that they collect information on what child care, financial assistance and parenting programs are available in each city."
- Parents Without Partners
This is a nonprofit membership organization that provides support and help for single mothers in the form of recreational activities, educational activities and parenting advice from peers within the membership ranks. There are many chapters of Parents Without Partners throughout the United States and Canada that single parents from all walks of life and circumstances can join.
- Helping Hands for Single Moms
This is a community-based nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide financial help for single moms and help them further their education by sending them to college. Helping Hands for Single Moms also assists single moms with auto repairs, tech support and budget management.
Look for Federal Assistance
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
This organization provides financial assistance and access to various social services for low-income families. To apply for programs like TANF, "parents can fill out an application online or print it out and mail it in," says Pam Post, the director of the Chelten Child Development Center in Dresher, Pennsylvania. "Qualifying for assistance and the wait times to receive it differ from county to county, depending on how much money is allocated [to the program in that city] and how great the need is," she continues. "For example, in our county, once a family qualifies for aid, there is a four-month wait for a funded spot to open up [in government-sponsored programs]."
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Offering assistance with heating and cooling bills to eligible low-income households, LIHEAP may also help weatherize your home, depending on the state you live in.
These are just a few suggestions for resources that offer help for single mothers in offsetting the personal and financial burden of being a single parent. However, there are many other government and state-sponsored services for which you may qualify depending on your particular circumstances, including "programs for children with special needs, assistance with medical services and subsidized housing," explains Post. The bottom line, she says, "is that there is help available for parents if they need it, and there is no limit to how many children may be enrolled in a subsidized program. All children in a qualifying family are covered."
Want more advice? Read Single Mom, Successful Mom.
Tisha Berg has been a freelance content writer and desktop publisher since 1997, with articles on family life, healthy living and parenting appearing on Working Mother, AboutOne, Lifescript and United Way. Tisha holds a bachelor's degree in theater history from Hunter College in New York City and is also certified hypnotherapist.