More Parents Desperately Ditching Daycare - Main Street Meltdown
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Main Street Meltdown

More Parents Desperately Ditching Daycare

 Wall Street finance companies and the Big Three automakers aren't the only businesses in need of a bailout these days.  Higher unemployment and a reduction in work hours at many businesses across the country are leading to a downturn in another industry:  daycare centers.  

 Parents without jobs or those who have seen their paycheck shrink have been forced to make some tough decisions in regard to the care of their children.  Faced with increasing household bills and less money to pay them, parents are cutting back.  In some cases, that means reducing the number of days each week that they bring their children to a daycare center.  In others, it means their children will stop going altogether.

Daycare operators worry that with few other options, parents will bring their children to unlicensed daycare centers. State licensing ensures that daycare centers have met certain standards for safety, cleanliness and education.  Unlicensed centers, operating illegally, could pose certain hazards for kids. 

According to a report released earlier this year by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the average price of full-time care for an infant in a center was as high as $14,951 per year.  For a 4-year-old in a center, parents paid up to $10,787 a year for full-time care.

"The cost of care is out of reach for too many families," said Linda Smith, Executive Director of NACCRRA.  "No parent should have to choose a poor-quality child care setting just because they cannot afford anything better for their children."

Parents and the High Price of Child Care: 2008 Update provides results from a 2008 survey of Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) State Networks, which asked for the average 2007 prices charged by child care programs listed in CCR&R databases.  Located in every state and most communities across the nation, CCR&Rs provide services in 99.3 percent of inhabited zip codes.  CCR&Rs work with parents to connect them with the child care that meets their needs and with caregivers to help raise the quality of child care in their communities.

To download a copy of the full report, please visit www.naccrra.org.


To find a child care resource center near you, go to www.childcareaware.org.



mamasjob said:

It's a catch 22. You work to provide a good home life but your kids may be in a bad daycare so you can work to provide a good home life. Ugh. Quality day care does cost a LOT! DH and I pay over $16K a year for our 2 boys and constantly re-evaluate my working full time. However, our daycare is excellent and accredited state and nationally. If my kids have to go, this is where they will go. But I read about poor-quality care and it hurts me to think of the mothers (usually single moms) who have no choice because they have to work.

But I would need child care even if I worked part time. And part-time care (quality) is even harder to find than full time. Or I would pay for the full time care and use it part time. We can afford our child care but it is our largest monthly budget item. It is more than our mortgage right now.

I know the arguments--that this should be a moot point if a parent can stay home--but the choice my husband and I are making now is best for us right now. And the larger picture of working single parents warrants this discussion on affordable, quality child care options.

November 13, 2008 11:24 AM

frugal_fun said:

My state has done nothing but increase the regulations for daycare the last decade and then wonder why day care has become increasingly scarce and higher cost?

"Good daycare" is too often means completely sectioned by state systems, not the actual quality of care. I'm not advocating no regulations or the removal of oversight.  However, regulators need to be very careful about how much they ask providers to fill out paperwork, attend "education" classes of dubious value, or conform to a regulator's "ideal" day.  

Sometimes less really is more.

November 26, 2008 9:25 AM

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