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Mother struggles to find overnight care for child

Sandra Solem, a single mom in Hermantown, works as a Duluth firefighter for 10 24-hour shifts per month. She has been a firefighter for 12 years. Every time she gets child care arranged in her home for her 3 1/2 -year-old son, it works for a few ...

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Sandy Merritt Solem helps her 3-year-old son, Trey Merritt, put on his shoes before he goes out to ride his bicycle Friday. Sandy is a Duluth firefighter who is having a hard time finding child care for her son. [Bob King / News Tribune]

Sandra Solem, a single mom in Hermantown, works as a Duluth firefighter for 10 24-hour shifts per month. She has been a firefighter for

12 years.

Every time she gets child care arranged in her home for her 3ยฝ-year-old son, it works for a few months, then someone quits. She often struggles to find care and relies on relatives and friends as a backup. She is looking for a long-term solution.

Through Child Care Resource and Referral, she got a list of seven people who provide overnight care, but she's reluctant to use them. She's worried about her son spending the night at someone else's home, she said.

"I would rather find someone I know to take care of him," she said.

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A friend suggested that she check with local colleges to find a nursing student who would exchange room and board for taking care of her son. She plans to check that out soon because her current child-care provider recently gave notice that she wants to leave at the end of September.

"It's a struggle," Solem said.

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