The government shutdown could cost Melanie Rhodes her job.
After nearly a year of unemployment, Rhodes finally landed a job as a school bus driver in Bridgeport, Conn. But now that the shutdown has closed her child's preschool, she may have to give that job up.
"It took me a long time to find a job," said Rhodes, who was also homeless for a time before having her son almost four years ago. "But if the government shutdown continues, I'm going to have to stay home again."
Rhodes' son Malachi is one of nearly a million children nationwide who attend Head Start -- the federally funded preschool program designed to give children from poor families early access to education, nutrition and health care.
As of Thursday, over 5,000 kids under the age of five in 11 states have been shut out of their preschools -- victims of the political impasse that left the schools unfunded. All told, there are nearly 19,000 students in schools set to receive funding in October, according to Sally Aman, a spokeswoman for the National Head Start Association.
This is bad for the kids, and also for the parents who must now scramble to find childcare, or risk losing their jobs.
"What these parents aren't able to do is go to work, go to school," said Aman. "It's really a devastating ripple effect."