food stamps, medicaid. I have an ex who is in that same mindset, unfortunately if they are just crappy people there's no changing their mind
But child support enforcement is a help! They will hold him accountable for child support, so when he doesn't pay, they keep track and take him to court, take it out of his unemployment, take it out of his taxes, etc.
we are on food stamps, and still make everything, tortillas, crackers, well, not noodles yet, but hopefully soon! I do garden. Do you have any neighbors that you could garden with? Our farmers market takes food stamps.
Beyond that, making more money always helps
Doing some babysitting, dog walking, house-sitting, etc are all things you can do with little ones in tow.
Also, we're phasing out christmas - they get something made from me and maybe something I' buy if I've got the funds. BUt my relatives get near nothing, maybe some cookies mailed to them if I've got funds, but I'm over being guilting into buying presents for people other than my kids! Even birthdays, relatives get a nice phone call, which is way nicer than plastic crap anyhow. Birthday gifts for other kids are all from the thrift store or yard sales or something my kids dont' want anymore or something made by me.
Soap is bad for the earth, so we so rarely use it. It takes me about a year to get through a small bottle of dish soap. No paper towels or paper napkins (we use cloth napkins and have a drawer of cloth rags for cleaning messes, etc. that are old diapers and beat up wash cloths, etc.).
Walking and taking the bus are big. Our town has disounted rates for kids but you have to ask special - they are school kids discounts. We do eat out, because our natural food store has a hot bar & salad bar that they let kids eat free at once a week, and it goes 1/2 off at a certain time of night, so we go then, and all eat really yummy food for about $4-$5 total.
I also resell things I find curbside on craigslist (not trashed things, actually good things that people just are tossing out).
I rarely use the library actually, b/c I accrue so many late fees! I just borrow books from friends, and have my kids do the same.
I'm sure I'll think of more, that's what's on the top of my head at the moment