Thursday, August 16, 2012
A new study finds the cost to provide care for a child is getting to be more than most parents can afford.
Child Care Aware of America reports the annual cost of infant care increased about 2 percent. Meanwhile, the cost of providing care for a 4-year-old increased by more than 4 percent.
The report also found that the cost of center-based care for one child exceeded annual median rent payments. But when two children are factored in, the costs exceeded rent payments in all 50 states. Child Care Aware also found that in 35 states, the cost to provide center-based care for an infant was higher than in-state tuition and fees for one year at a four-year public college.
Ollie Smith, interim executive director of Child Care Aware, told CNN Money the growing costs have put a tremendous strain on families’ budgets.
"Child care costs have become a bigger burden for parents since the economy turned," Smith said.
Marsha Basloe, executive director of New York's Early Care & Learning Council said more families are turning to informal childcare. However, unlicensed child care centers are not required to meet health and safety standards.
"Quality of care really makes a huge impact on the child's readiness for school, which impacts his or her success throughout school and later in life, but many parents are stepping away from it because of the cost," Basloe said.
Infant care costs ranged from about $4,600 in Mississippi to $15,000 in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, the cost of providing care for a four-year-old ranged between $3,900 a year in Mississippi to almost $11,700 a year in Massachusetts.
New York tops the least affordable list for full-time infant care with 15.9 percent of the families’ income paying for childcare. Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado and Illinois round out the top five.
The cost of care for a two-parent family in Kansas averages 14.7 of their annual income, the sixth least affordable state for child care costs.