Child Care’s Path to Success

2 min
at 11:43 PM

Single mother Tasha Buffin is ready, willing and able to work hard to achieve her dream of being self-sufficient. But there is one big obstacle to her success.

When I was a little girl growing up in East Oakland, I dreamed about becoming a lawyer because I had witnessed a lot of injustice and I loved debating my classmates. I wanted to become a lawyer to help people.

Despite my dreams, I am not yet a lawyer. I’m a young single parent struggling to pull my children and myself out of poverty.

Instead of courtrooms, clients, and cases, I’m navigating the tangle of social services that keep my family fed and off the streets. And I am grateful for the support, but my goal is to be self-sufficient so I won’t have to depend on the system. But that’s nearly impossible without safe, affordable and accessible childcare for my two amazing young children.

My son attends second grade and my daughter is in a half-day pre-school so their school time overlaps only two hours. That’s not nearly the coverage I need. Family and friends help out with child care when they can, but I can’t commit to a job with piecemeal, unreliable care. Full day preschool for my daughter would allow me to work, but I have searched long and far, and every program in our area has a waiting list with dozens of families.

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Alameda County just did an analysis of the need for childcare throughout the county. The number is shocking: over 7,000 children are on the waiting list to get into child care or preschool. This means there are thousands of families in my situation – moms and dads wanting to work, to contribute to the economy, and to be self-sufficient, but who are missing a piece of the puzzle because they lack adequate childcare.

Unfortunately, my options are limited. So, I will keep calling child care centers and keep looking for flexible work. I will keep trying to make a difference for everyone in my community who needs these services.

I will never give up on my dreams of getting a good job and getting my children the education they deserve.

With my Perspective, I’m Tasha Buffin.

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Tasha Buffin is a community activist who lives in San Leandro.

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