Wednesday, March 3, 2010

13 is not the new 18

This isn't going to be a sappy post about my little girl growing up. This is an angry post. This is a post where I lament the loss of my child care tax credit.

Because my baby's turning 13 this year. And apparently, the government thinks that makes her old enough to take care of herself. I disagree.

Yes, I trust her. Yes, I think she would follow any rules I would give her. Yes, I think she's a remarkable girl.

But she's also young. She's still immature - meaning she has not reached an age of maturity yet. And there are a whole lot of people in the world that I simply do not trust.

Do I think she would start committing juvenile crime? No. Do I think she's responsible enough to look both ways before crossing the street? Yes, but I've also seen enough crazy drivers that I don't trust that they won't be speeding through a light or on their cell phone, or, worst of all, see her as an easy target.

She means too much to me. She is my flesh and blood. She is the love of my life.

I like the situation we have now. She takes a bus to her after-school program and calls me to let me know she's on the bus safely. When she gets to her after-school program, she does homework, takes her acting or dance class, spends time with her friends, and is surrounded, always, by people that care about her. This works for me.

It is worth the cost of the program; however, I do appreciate the tax credit that I receive at the end of the year. I've pretty much been putting the program on my credit card and then paying off as much of the balance as possible with that refund.

This year, I lose that credit.

While I may look at other options for the summer, I hesitate to pull her from the program where she knows everyone and everyone knows her. She knows what to expect, and I know what to expect. The staff are our friends now and have earned our loyalty. And quite frankly, I don't think any other options would be more affordable, except to have her stay home. Alone. For 9 hours a day.

And the really scary part? At least we have a program available. 15.3 million children don't even have that.

I asked the after-school program if there any lobbying efforts to change this, to make the credit available until a child reaches the actual age of adulthood. Nope.

Yet another example of how "family values" so rarely apply to my family.

Originally posted on LA Moms Blog, Mar. 3, 2010.


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April said...

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