I’m a single parent with no family support and wondered where I could get help with my child if I became unwell?

This is a situation I’m sure many single parents worry about but I am afraid there isn’t a simple answer.  If you don’t have family support, maybe you have friends that could help out over a short period of time looking after your child.  If this is possible, you could offer to return the favour if needed at some point in the future.  Could you maybe have a “what if” conversation with friends so you feel prepared if this happened, and you might find out they have concerns about this too?  Depending on the age of your child you could maybe rest during the day if they were at school and arrange for someone to pick them up and bring them to a friend’s till later in the evening/ bedtime and then bring them home.  This would minimise the amount of time you would be looking after them. This would of course depend on how unwell you were as well as their age.

There is an organisation called Home Start who give support to families with a child of 5 and under who are struggling for whatever reason.  Ordinarily they  provide a volunteer for around 2 hours a week to help support the family, whether that be doing activities with the child or supporting the parent.  They don’t provide “childcare” but might be able to help temporarily, depending on your circumstances or signpost you to another  service in your area.  It might also be worth speaking to someone at your child’s school if you have concerns to ask for their advice. Mumsnet and NetmumsI are online sites for mums and have forums as well as local groups.  I’m sure you could start a conversation there with other mums, many of whom I am sure will be single parents and share your concerns.

If you aren’t able to get support anywhere you can contact your local social work department to explain about your situation.  They would make an assessment of your circumstances and see what they could do to support you through this period.

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