As a single mom far with no family in Arizona, Irish didn’t have many places to turn for support as she tried to juggle work and her young daughter’s schooling. Irish’s daughter attended Maricopa County’s Head Start program in one part of the city, while her job was located across town. This distance was making it very difficult for Irish to pick up her daughter on time each day.
Irish needed extended hours of daycare for her daughter. Irish could not continually ask to leave work early and risk losing her job. At the same time, she could not be late to pick up her daughter. She was in a bind.
That’s when Lucia Cuevas, a Family Support Specialist in the Early Education Division of Maricopa County’s Human Services Department, learned about the Irish and her situation. Lucia quickly started the necessary paperwork to transfer Irish’s daughter to a Head Start classroom closer to Irish’s workplace. As Lucia was in the process of making the transfer, she learned that Irish’s employer was unable to make further accommodations for her and that she had already separated from her job.
Hearing the news, Lucia remembered that Irish had mentioned working with children previously. She also knew that an unemployed single mom was most likely in a fragile financial situation. Lucia encouraged Irish to apply for a position with Maricopa County’s Head Start program. This would solve her need to be close to her daughter and put them on the same schedule. Lucia provided Irish with the job application link for a teacher assistant position and notified management about Irish.
Within a week, Irish’s application was processed, and she interviewed for the position. She got the job! At the same time, her daughter was successfully transferred to a Maricopa County Head Start location that offered longer hours, which enabled Irish to work full-time and provide financial stability for her family.
The Maricopa County Human Services Department provides wraparound services so that people facing adversity have access to the helpful services they need to address their situation. In this case, Irish’s connection to the Maricopa County Head Start program enabled her to also find employment.
The family support offered to participants in Head Start is a cornerstone of the program. Not only does the child receive important educational and social interaction, the family is supported to ensure that they have what they need to care for their children and thrive.
If you know a family with children under the age of 5 years who could benefit from the wraparound services provided through the Maricopa County Head Start program, we invite you to share this link: www.Maricopa.gov/HeadStart. For more information on other support available through the Maricopa County Human Services Department, visit www.Maricopa.gov/HelpWithBills.