Expensive child care forces parents into tough situation - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Expensive child care forces parents into tough situation

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

With the skyrocketing cost of child care, many parents are left with a tough decision: when are children old enough to stay at home alone?

Twice this week in Memphis, police arrived at homes where small children were left to fend for themselves.

Many of our viewers pointed out that sometimes single parents have no choice. Either they go to work and make money to put food on the table for their children, or they stay at home and look after them.

"You can't just say, 'How could they do that?' They have to go to work," Memphis parent April Thompson said.

Thompson has two small children. She says making the decision of what age they can stay home alone comes down to maturity.

"I would have to see what my oldest daughter's maturity level is like," Thompson said.

Tennessee state law agrees. There is no legal minimum age to start leaving your kids alone. The decision is left in the hands of the parents.

Parent Lawrence Johnson says finding free child care is hard. Many parents rely on places like the Boys and Girls Club for a safe, kid-friendly environment.

"Community centers, church organizations," Johnson suggested looking for volunteer-based organizations.

The Department of Human Services also has a child care assistance program. There, low-income families can qualify for child care assistance.

Click here to learn how to apply for the assistance programs.

Click here to find places near your home or business that are licensed to look after your children.

Copyright 2015 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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