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Cary charity gets child care for job seekers

Dennis Lamour, a single father of two, is grateful for help from the nonprofit Christian Community in Action after learning first-hand how big an obstacle day care costs can be for a parent looking for work.

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CARY, N.C. — Amid a national recession, a Cary charity helps lift the burden of childcare costs for parents struggling to find jobs.

Dennis Lamour learned first-hand that the cost of day care can be a significant obstacle for a parent looking for work.

When his wife left him a year ago, Lamour said, he became the primary caregiver for Clancey – "He's in kindergarten and loves school" – and 4-year-old Angie – "who is wonderfully generous, sweet and kind."

Lamour worked as a property manager for years and kept up his real-estate license. But the economic downturn and dad duty led to a career dead-end.

"I don't have any hours that I can actually do (work), so at the moment, I'm just going into savings," he said.

To help parents such as Lamour free up hours, the nonprofit Christian Community in Action offers a child care assistance program. Proceeds from Dorcas Thrift Shop and other donations fund the program.

In 2008, CCA spent $53,000 to help place 176 children in child care. Based on applications from late last year, the charity expects 20 percent more requests this year, and officials said they're confident they can provide services for all those who need it.

"We have not denied anyone a request for childcare because of lack of funds from CCA," Executive Director Howard Manning said.

Lamour went through an application process and a home visit by CCA workers.

"They were sympathetic and shed tears and encouraged me to not be too proud to take help," Lamour said.

Families can pick any licensed child care facility, and the amount of financial assistance varies from family to family. It typically lasts two to six months – long enough to help families build up some savings or look for a new job.

Thanks to CCA, Angie spends two days a week at the Methodist Children's Center. The charity picks up 60 percent of the tab.

"Having the child care thing taken care of was a real blessing," Lamour said.

CCA also offers funds for before- and after-school programs and scholarships for camps. Its crisis ministry helps families with bills, food and medicine.


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