ARLINGTON, V.A. - According to a report released by Child Care Aware of America, the cost of child care continues to increase while families struggle to afford quality care.
The Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2012 Report provides results from a survey of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) State Networks and local agencies, which asked for the average fees charged by child care programs in 2011.
The report provides the average cost of child care in 2011 for infants, 4-year-olds, and school-age children in centers and family child care homes nationwide. It shows that in 36 states (including the District of Columbia), the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant was higher than a years in-state tuition and related fees at a four-year public college.
In every state and the District of Columbia, center-based child care costs for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) exceeded annual average rent payments.
Families need child care in order to work, said Ollie M. Smith, Child Care Aware of Americas Interim Executive Director. But, child care today is simply unaffordable for too many families. This is not a low income issue. Families at nearly every income -- except for the very wealthy -- struggle with the cost of child care.
According to the report, in 2011, the average annual cost of full-time child care for an infant in a center ranged from about $4,600 in Mississippi to nearly $15,000 in Massachusetts. The average annual cost of full-time care for a 4-year-old child in a center ranged from about $3,900 in Mississippi to nearly $11,700 in Massachusetts.
The report also found that in 2011, the average annual cost of full-time care for an infant in a family child care home ranged from $4,500 in South Carolina to nearly $10,400 in New York.