Photo: Province of British Columbia
The cost of child care in Indiana is dropping, but Indiana is still among the ten most expensive states when it comes to child care for school-age children, according to a report released this week by Child Care Aware of America.
The cost of child care dropped for infants and 4-year-olds. In 2011, parents paid $9,880 per year on average for infant care and $7,975 per year for child care for a 4-year-old. Those costs decreased to $8,073 and $6,448 respectively in 2012.
But before- and after-school care in Indiana remains some of the least affordable in the nation.
Indiana is the 9th least affordable state for before and after school care in 2012, showing that school-age child care in Indiana is even less affordable than 2011 when the state ranked 13th.
It costs parents more than $5,700 per year for before and after school care and that doesn’t include summers.
The cost constitutes 26.6 percent of the income for a single mother in Indiana, compared to 7.8 percent of a married couple’s income, making child care an increasingly difficult financial burden for single mother and low-income families.
“It’s really a struggle for families to find affordable high quality child care. Not just in this state. It’s in all the states,” says Patty Ryan, the interim executive director for Indiana Association for Child Care Resource & Referral.
Ryan says several reasons lead to the least affordability of school-aged child care compared with the care for other age groups.
“It varies based on what types of activities might be offered in the school-age care program and also varies based on the types of resources and subsidies that are available to school-age programs,” she says.
Dianna Wallace, the executive director for the Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children, says the data also reflects some problems in education that need to be addressed.
“It could mean that we are not fully offering full-day kindergarten, which means that the burden of paying that half-day program is actually on the families,” she says.