A new analysis of child care supply in every U.S. neighborhood finds that approximately half the country has too few licensed child care options.
A state-by-state analysis of the true cost of infant and toddler child care finds it is unaffordable for most working families.
Key findings from this analysis include:
Licensed infant and toddler child care is unaffordable for most families:
– The average cost to provide center-based child care for an infant in the United States is $1,230 per month. In a family child care home, the average cost is $800 per month.
– On average, a family making the state median income would have to spend 18 percent of their income to cover the cost of child care for an infant, and 13 percent for a toddler.
– In no state does the cost of center-based infant or toddler child care meet the federal definition of affordable—no more than 7 percent of annual household income. In 12 states, the cost of child care for just one infant exceeds 20 percent of the state median income.
Current public investments in infant and toddler child care fall short:
– On average, child care for an infant costs 61 percent more than for a preschooler, yet child care subsidy rates are only 27 percent higher for infants than preschoolers.
– Child care subsidies only cover the average cost of care for an infant in three states—Hawaii, Indiana, and South Dakota.
– The gap between the child care subsidy rate and the cost of licensed infant care exceeds $400 per month in nearly half of all states.
To address these findings, policymakers can take some immediate actions, such as conducting a full cost-of-quality study and updating child care assistance policies, but they must also look to longer-term solutions such as increasing pay for infant and toddler teachers and enacting comprehensive child care reform…..
Parents aim to create a nurturing environment for their children. Raising a child, however, is not cheap, and to provide children with food, clothing, health care, and any other needs, most parents must work. Going to work entails leaving young children in the care of others, be it friends, neighbors, family members, or professional day care centers.
In most American counties, annual average child care costs exceed $6,000 per year, though it can be significantly higher in some places. In some American counties, child care costs are more than double that $6,000 figure. These places tend to be the most affluent in America.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator to determine the county with the most expensive child care in each state for a two-parent, single-child household…..
From the press release:
About nine percent of working families with children under the age of six are pushed out of the middle class as a result of their child care expenses, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.
The researchers also found that many middle-class families do not pay any out-of-pocket child care expenses, perhaps by relying on family and friends, or by turning to lower-cost, less-qualified care. If all middle-class working families with young children were to pay what typical upper-middle and middle-class families pay for child care, roughly $6,900 per year on average, an additional 21 percent would be pushed below the middle-class threshold….
From the summary:
As the Baby Boom generation matures and current unmet child care needs remain constant, the United States faces a burgeoning crisis in the demand for care workers. The market has slowly but surely begun to adapt, seeing an overall growth of 19 percent in the number of care workers between 2005 and 2015, with most of that growth in adult care. The U.S. Department of Labor suggests that this will only grow further, projecting that the economy will add more than 1.6 million jobs in occupations related to adult care by 2024 (Rolen 2017).
This report analyzes changing demographics and trends in earnings for two occupational groups, child care and adult care workers. Findings from the analysis show that:
—-While Still Largely Female, White, and US-Born, the Care Workforce Is Increasingly Adding More Men, Women of Color, and Foreign Born ….
—-Female Care Workers Are More Educated Than in 2005, Yet Face High Poverty Rates ….
—-Despite Gains in Human Capital and Growing Demand, Wages for Care Workers Are Stagnant or Declining ….
In 2016, three community-based organizations that operate in the Texas–Mexico border region collaborated on a participatory research project. A.Y.U.D.A. Inc., Fuerza del Valle Workers’ Center and Comité de Justicia Laboral/Labor Justice Committee trained 36 women from the local communities as surveyors. The surveyors, most of them domestic workers themselves, interviewed 516 housecleaners, nannies and care workers for people with disabilities or for the elderly who work in private homes. The survey was conducted in Spanish and was composed of a standardized set of questions focused on work arrangements, working conditions, the impact of low pay on workers’ lives, injuries and abuse on the job and citizenship status.
This report, the result of the surveyors’ hard work knocking on doors, gaining trust and gathering data, is the very first quantitative study of a sizable number of domestic workers in the Texas–Mexico border region. The data provides us with a fact-based portrait of the difficult conditions domestic workers in the region face. The report findings will be used to shape ongoing organizing and advocacy to improve conditions and end workplace abuse. Our hope is that it will also shape the thinking of policy makers and encourage further research about working conditions along the border.
The Price of Domestic Workers’ Invisible Labor in U.S. Border Towns
Source: Sarah Holder, The Atlantic, June 25, 2018
The fate of thousands of college students— and their kids—hangs in the balance.
…. Across the country, campus child-care programs, like the one Preciado relies on, are eagerly waiting to see whether they’ll be able to afford to maintain their services or even expand them. Earlier this year, Congress authorized an increase in funding to the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which supports efforts by colleges to help low-income student parents afford child care. But it still remains unclear which of the many campus child-care programs across the country will get the new funds and how that will be decided. ….
From the introduction:
Child care assistance for low-income families is intended to reduce the cost of care for working parents, encourage children’s participation in high-quality child care arrangements, and increase stability in parents’ employment and children’s care arrangements. Children from low-income backgrounds who access high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs fare better on many developmental outcomes than children who do not. Common forms of child care assistance include federal subsidy programs, ECE programs such as Head Start/Early Head Start, and publicly funded universal pre-kindergarten programs.
Understanding how low-income families search for and locate ECE programs that meet their needs, and how they obtain assistance to pay for ECE, is a critically important issue for researchers and policymakers.
Historically, Hispanic families have underutilized government assistance programs aimed at serving families who experience poverty, reporting that they do not need them or do not have knowledge of the assistance available or eligibility requirements. Research has also found that Latino and other immigrant groups may not use federal assistance, due to a belief in helping their larger group (collectivist orientation), which could result in families foregoing support so that others may benefit, even when they themselves are eligible for assistance.
Because the Hispanic population is growing rapidly and often faces considerable economic need—and because ECE can play an important role in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in early learning and later school outcomes—it is important for the research and policy community to better understand how and why low-income Hispanic parents search for ECE. This study takes a closer look at low-income Hispanic parents’ reported reasons for conducting a search for an ECE provider or program for their young children.
This brief uses data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe why low-income Hispanic parents with young children (birth to age 5) report searching for child care; comparison data for low-income non-Hispanic black and white parents are also reported. Prior research involving low-income families from various racial/ethnic backgrounds showed that parents report a variety of reasons for their ECE searches. There are also several important barriers to low-income families’ use of care, including lack of availability, low affordability, and poor alignment with parents’ work schedules. Understanding similar or shared concerns about ECE across U.S. racial and ethnic groups—along with differences across these groups—can guide outreach by programs and inform policy adjustments that might better serve diverse groups…..
….The reality is that child care in America is expensive and out of reach for many families. Whether center-based or family child care, the average cost of child care nationally exceeds US$8,600 per year.
By comparison, that is more than double the estimated average net tuition and fee price of $4,140 paid by full-time in-state students at public four-year institutions in the 2017-18 academic year.
There are other good reasons why child care affordability should get just as much attention as college affordability, if not more.
For starters, families typically use child care for five years per child – a year longer than earning a bachelor’s degree is supposed to take…..
From the summary:
Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It makes it possible for parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it bolsters our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care.
Given the importance of child care assistance to families, it is essential for states to have strong child care assistance policies. Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care assistance program, states have flexibility to set policies within federal parameters. This report examines states’ policies in five key areas—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, payment rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job. These policies are fundamental to determining families’ ability to obtain child care assistance and the extent of help that assistance provides.
– Families in 41 states were better off—having greater access to assistance and/or receiving greater benefits from assistance—in February 2017 than in February 2016 under one or more child care assistance policies covered in this report.
– Families in 14 states were worse off under one or more of these policies in February 2017 than in February 2016.
Although there were more improvements than cutbacks between 2016 and 2017, the improvements states made were generally modest and too small to close persistent, substantial gaps in families’ access to assistance and the level of assistance available.