Platform : The Trials of Day Care for the Nanny-Less : BETH JAMES / Teacher's aide, Los Angeles

Compiled for The Times by Trin Yarborough

My oldest daughter, Qura, is 9. She's mentally retarded and hyperactive. She can't speak and has epileptic seizures every few months. My other daughter, Jocelyn, is 4, and Qura is crazy about her.

I started work as a teacher's aide when Qura was 2. I put her into day care at the McBride School for handicapped children, which is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, and it's wonderful. After her school is out, a bus from the after-school program run by the Jeffrey Foundation Child Care for Handicapped Children takes her to their center, which is also wonderful. It brings her home at 5 p.m. I meet the bus just after I pick up Jocelyn at the (LAUSD-run) Westminster Day Care center in Venice.

Jeffrey is free now, but after the recent state cutbacks the state said Qura will have to go to a regular school campus when classes are over every day. I wouldn't be able to do my job if that happened. I'll be too worried about her.

My worst worry is Qura being sick. I can't take off any more sick time or vacation time. The other day she was sick and my husband took off a day to stay with her. I really lucked out to have such a good husband. He's Qura's stepfather, but has been like a father to her.

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