10 February 2010

Nationwide, the cost of quality childcare is rising faster than inflation

A growing body of scientific evidence makes it abundantly clear: high quality early childhood care and educational experiences help to promote optimal early childhood brain development. This foundation, in turn, provides a solid base for subsequent growth, development, and school readiness. Across the country, over 80% of professional families place their young children in high quality early learning centers during the work-week. Meanwhile, according to a recent report from NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, high-quality care is growing increasingly unaffordable for middle and low-income families – precisely those families whose children would most benefit from high-quality early-childhood interventions.

Across the country, childcare expenses account for 10% of family income for two-parent families. For single parents, meanwhile, childcare expenses account for an astonishing 60% of the median household income (NACCRRA, 2009). In every region of the United States, the market-rate for quality childcare prices it far beyond the reach of most single-parents. Single-parents with one child pay more for childcare than they pay for food. Single parents with two children pay more for childcare than for rent. The average yearly childcare costs for an infant surpass 4-year public college tuition rates in 39 states.

Parents and the high price of child care: 2009 update. (2009). National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, Retrieved from http://www.naccrra.org/docs/publications/supporting-docs/parents-and-the-high-price-of-child-care-2009-update/executive-summary.pdf

Devlin, K, Breland, F, & Imig, D. (2009). Updates on data, education and policy. The Urban Child Institute, Retrieved from http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org/Download.php?fileId=4ac3b9cb2120d7.54160006

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