Last week I wrote a post about the potential elimination of an after-school voucher program intended for families unable to care for their children for mental health type of issues. The program seems to basically benefit yeshiva/Bais Yaakov type schools and the proposed elimination has the Agudah screaming bloody murder. While the Agudah screams about funding cuts (delivering 30,000 letters from community members), I'm screaming about the tremendous level of dependency which is quite detrimental to the Orthodox community, certainly as detrimental as funding cuts.
Now the NY Times is running yet another installment on this budget issue and I can't help but just feel a great amount of sorrow. Here are some quotes on record:
- A mother of 11 who has 5 children on Priority 7 vouchers says: "If I didn’t have it, my head would spin. It gives me time to take care of my other children.”
- An administrator of a school with an after school program: “People don’t earn a lot of money. In some small apartments, some children come home to 11, 12 people in the family. I really think without after-school care, the children will probably go crazy. There will be parents and children who have to start taking pills. It’s really going to affect them tremendously.”
Let me make this clear. I like large families. But this is just a sad "report" (if accurate and in context) on the State of the Union. I can't even imagine being an elementary school child and being unable to return home after school to my own home where my own mother/father is because she can't handle having me around.
If there are so many families are truly in over their heads (article mentions another 1422 families on the waiting list in addition to the 2000 using the program), I think the community leadership needs to actually deal with that issues beyond trying to protest funding cuts. The solution to all problems can't be to spend money, either government funds that might be cut or personal funds that might run short.
I don't have the solution on how to raise a family of 11 or 12 children in an apartment in Brooklyn. I do know that when you are facing difficult issues, that it is ultimately better to learn a new skill set.
Taxpayers aren't going to be happy to read this report either.