Hoosiers could pay more for childcare than they would for their kid’s college tuition. That’s from a new report put together by a national child care policy nonprofit.
ChildCare Aware reports the average Hoosier family spends nearly a third of its income on child care costs. And for a single parent, a licensed child care program can eat up over half of their income. Early Learning Indiana’s Emily Rouge says comparing the cost to college tuition highlights the huge financial impact on families.
“A child is born and suddenly you need infant care, and you don’t have 18 years or 16 years or that child’s life in order to save for it,” Rouge says.
Rouge says that creates problems for parents looking for child care within their budget. She says that can lead to families choosing unlicensed providers, and putting children at risk despite good intentions.
Rouge says regulations play a role in the high price tag.
“A little change in a rule or regulation can have significant impacts on the bottom line,” Rouge says.
She says new rules can be expensive for providers as they make necessary changes. And maintaining programs aren’t cheap. Things like replacing toys and equipment, building maintenance, and providing food keep costs high. And Rouge says, needs for many staff members to supervise children make it more difficult to not only lower cost, but to pay employees higher wages.