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Daycare Costs Are Out Of Reach For Many Americans, Study Reveals

Parents make great sacrifices for their children. In today’s society, it’s very common to see both parents working outside the home in order to provide for their families. Opportunities for women to pursue careers have increased immensely over the years and the support they receive is wonderful. Though this progression is a step in the right direction, it does come with a price tag: the cost of daycare.

Daycare, nurseries, and preschools are vital for working parents. They are great places for little ones to learn, socialize, and develop. But their costs have been climbing exponentially and they are digging deep into parents’ pockets. Some families are paying as much as their rent in childcare every month. Right now, the Department of Health and Human Services considers that daycare will cost about 7% of a family’s income. Unfortunately, many families pay much more than that.

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A dad from New York shared the rates of a newly built daycare to Twitter. According to the chart, a family would be paying over $10,000 a month on daycare for 5 full-days a week. These numbers beg the question: Where does all that money really go? On average, a daycare facilitator earns a little more than $9.00 an hour. One daycare worker replied to the tweet and said “At full enrollment, my classroom will have 20 children paying this much (per month!!). My monthly pay is...substantially less than the rate for one child. I don’t know where all that money is going, but it isn’t to teachers.”

And this isn’t just a New York City problem. Daycare facilities all over the country are charging parents high fees in order to “maximize profit margins”. One would assume that paying higher tuition would lead to a better daycare experience, but that’s not always the case. Since daycare teachers are underpaid and overworked, many of them are unsatisfied and leave the facility.

A recent study did show that, generally, nonprofit daycare centers have better wages, classroom sizes, less teach turnover, and overall more “positive caregiving” than for-profit daycare centers. The only problem with that though is availability into those nonprofit centers. If they come with such high praise, there’s probably a long wait-list to get in.

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Thankfully, new legislation has been brought back to the Supreme Court that would help families afford childcare. The bill is called The Child Care for Working Families Act. This act would ensure that families do not pay more than 7% of their income for childcare; increase pay and training of daycare workers; and, allow access to higher quality preschools for all children ages 3 and 4. With its approval, thousands of families could feel relief from the financial struggles of daycare. 

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