kelly 1Kelly Dejoode was panicking. She had just received a letter saying she would no longer receive Child Care Assistance from the state. She was going to drop off the so-called “Child Care Cliff."

Without assistance, Kelly would go from paying $17 a week for her three-year-old son Jaxson to attend Oak Academy full time to paying $180 a week. Her wages—a little more than $13 an hour—as a teaching assistant in a Head Start classroom couldn’t cover the child care increase as well as her family’s other basic needs, including rent, gas, and food. She didn’t realize that by starting to work full time, she would be pushed just over the threshold of receiving assistance.

“Things were starting to go really well,” she says, “and then boom, that happened.”

About The Author: Sarah Welch

Sarah Welch is the former Strategic Communications Officer at United Way of Central Iowa.