Working Missouri parents depend on child care to get and keep a job. Each week, more than 280,000 Missouri children under age 5 and 73,000 ages 5 to 14 are in the care of someone other than their parents. A recent report released by Child Care Aware® of America, “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care,” examines the cost of child care for infants and 4-year-olds in child care centers and family child care homes in every state.
The cost of child care is high any way you measure it, and it is increasing. For an infant in Missouri, the cost is $8,580, based on data from Child Care Aware® of Missouri. Infant care is so expensive that it actually costs more than college in 36 states, including Missouri. For families with two children, the cost of care can be as much as if not more than rent or mortgage payments. Yet, child care programs are not gouging parents or getting rich off these fees. Most programs are also struggling to make ends meet; many went out of business during the recent economic downturn.
All families should have access to quality, affordable child care. There is no program-based public support for child care. Investment in quality child care returns $10 for every $1 spent.
It is time to look more closely at the lack of financing for child care, as costs rise and an increasing number of families -- not just low income families - struggle to stay employed. For more information on the report, see http://www.naccrra.org/about-child-care/cost-of-child-care.
Director of Central Region
Child Care Aware® of Missouri