Across the nation, many working parents can relate to the dilemma 46 year old single mother Debra Harrell faced as she began getting ready for her job; how to afford adequate childcare during summer vacation on a minimum wage income. As a shift leader at South Carolina McDonald’s restaurant, Harrell’s income is barely above the federal baseline of $7.25 an hour. Unfortunately, this does not leave much room for “luxuries” such as day care or other forms of childcare. Harrell’s solution to this common dilemma was to leave her daughter in a public park amongst many other children and adults down the street from her home. She provided her 9 year old daughter, Regina Harrell, who had asked to play at the park while her mother was at work, with a cell phone and food. This decision ultimately led to Debra Harrell’s arrest, a night spent in jail, and temporary lost custody of her daughter for 17 days. At one point during this ordeal, Harrell thought she may even lose her only source of income, her job at McDonald’s. Additionally, Harell still faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted for felony child neglect.
Unfortunately, Harrell is not alone, as cases similar in nature to hers have been popping up across the country. In fact, 56% of mothers and a comparable 50% of fathers struggle to balance work and parenting responsibilities. Single parenting is quite often a juggling act between the cost of living and adequate child care. Situations like Harell’s paint an all too familiar picture of the struggles single parents face in regards to child care and child support. Family law practices, such as the Zolman Law Firm Family Law St. Louis, can help prepare and even prevent parents from having to face a situation like this. With decades of experience in family law practices, Family Law St. Louis can give single parents the tools and resources they need in order ensure their families remain together.