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Assistance Available for all Illinois Family Members of Divorce

Posted on in Child Support

latchkey kid, single parent, parenting, Illinois family law attorney, divorce attorenyLatchkey kids. For many, these children live in single family homes either due to divorce or explanatory absence of one parent. The concept of latchkey kids dates back to World War II, when fathers left to serve and mothers entered war effort industries. Often awarded a key, dangling from a piece of string placed around their necks, latchkey kids arrived at an empty home and waited for mom to finish her shift. World War II moms often opted for the swing shift, requiring them to lock the door and slip off to work while their children slept. The country realized this was an issue, and promptly set up community centers where Latchkey Kids could safely await mom’s arrival.

These types of programs ended shortly after the war, leaving Americans still wondering how to work, support families and ensure the safety of their children. Sixty-nine years later, latchkey kids remain a societal issue of today’s generation.

Home Alone Act II

Although the U.S. Census Bureau once announced that one third of all school age children can be considered latchkey kids, the percentage of kids returning to a parentless home has been on the decrease. According to a recent article by Bloomberg, the number of latchkey kids has plummeted by 40 percent since 1997 due to changes in federal aid, after-school programs and the initiation of work life balance employment options for parents.

Parental Fear Factor

Even though statistics are on the decline, the hardship placed on either single mothers, fathers and the child who is still statistically a latchkey kid in America still proves a problem. For single family households, often as a result of our high marriage dissolution rate. Modern day latchkey kids and their parents are realizing the world is not as wholesome as it once was. With the advent of 'stranger danger,' parents are opting for more creative ways to ensure their child’s safety. Often turning to relatives, friends and organized after school programs to solve the issue.

Future of Latchkey Kids

Statistically there is an estimated 14 percent of children who fall under the latchkey umbrella. Often they may face more than the norm of emotional and social problems. For the single parent wanting to secure adequate after school child care options they are experiencing a drain on their finances. Child care costs have soared over the past 25 years. This equates to higher demand on continual maintenance and child support received by single mothers who experienced divorce. Child care remains a large slice of the financial "pie". This may decrease the quality of life for both the parent and the child as well as quantity of quality time spent together.

The Good News

In 1998, a federal law was enacted to initially infuse over $40 million into the establishment of after school programs. At that time, 11,000 learning centers were created with that number now reaching over 1.7 million. These types of programs offered a safe haven for latchkey kids and peace of mind for the single parent.

For those residing in Illinois who may be facing divorce or are considering arranging a latchkey plan for your child, there is assistance available. The Afterschool Alliance, in conjunction with 21st Century Community Learning Centers works with families, often those on a limited budget. For more information on available programs, contact the Alliance at 312-516-5572.

If you are just in the beginning stages of considering divorce, contact the experienced legal team of A. Traub & Associates. Our team understands the complexities of divorce and how it can affect all family members. On the legal front, we will handle all of your concerns in a timely, compassionate but professional manner as we move forward with reaching an equitable and fair settlement. Contact us today at 630-426-0196 to schedule your initial consultation.

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