On average, a school-aged child will spend 36 hours a week in child care. Any working parent can tell you that one of their greatest concerns is daycare. Even in a two parent home, daycare expenses can consume a large portion of a monthly income. This can easily leave parents with a shortage on other equally important expenses. In an average single parent home, daycare expenses can be completely unaffordable. According to the 2014 U.S census, there are over 13 million single parents raising over 21 million children. In addition to childcare costs, finding someone who is both qualified and trustworthy proves to be extremely challenging.
An article found in the Washington Post, states that daycare costs surpass college tuition. Furthermore, America currently has the highest childcare costs for children under five. The average yearly cost for daycare in cities like New York is approximately $14,500. Massachusetts surpasses NY at an astonishing $16,500 a year. In this article, we will discuss options available to parents, as well as money saving tips for daycare expenses.
Child Care Options: What Are Your Choices
Below, we gathered an extensive list of childcare services and other resources available to parents. We have included price averages and tips to help you make an informed decision.
Daycare is by far the most common form of childcare. Parents drop off their children during work hours, which are usually between 7 am and 6 pm. A legitimate daycare is a licensed business with a specific schedule. Most daycare centers tend to specialize in infants through preschoolers. Some daycare facilities offer before-and-after school care for school aged children.
Daycare is an economically booming business and the facilities can be quite competitive with each other. This dynamic gives parents options when it comes to what services they want their children to receive. There are daycare facilities that are specialized for infants, school-age children and children with special needs. Many daycares offer such services as tutoring, homework-help, and extracurricular activities.
It is very important when in the process of choosing a daycare, that you check with your state to determine their licensing and regulation requirements. Also, it is advisable to ask other parents for their opinions, and check online reviews. Here is a list of what to look for in a day care. The average price for daycare is $188 per week per child.
Family Home Daycare
Family home providers care for children in their own home. Usually, there is a ratio of roughly five children to one adult, according to what your state regulations are. Family home daycare can offer a more personalized and individual service. They care for infants through school-age children. The hours are also flexible. It is extremely vital to make sure the family home daycare of your choice is licensed by the state. Providers are required to take yearly training and keep their license displayed where it is easily visible. States have very specific rules when it comes to safety requirements, the age of child, and capacity. Click here to find a statewide providers list. The average price for family home daycare is $140 per week.
Hiring a nanny can be a very convenient option for the working parent. A nanny will work around your schedule and provide care at your home. When hiring a nanny you have multiple options. You can go by referrals from friends and family, you can place an ad online or you can hire through an agency. It is highly recommended that you check references and run a background search regardless of which method you choose. Click here for a list of childcare agencies. A private nanny can also live in, handle personal services like wash clothes, cook and clean. The average price for a private nanny is $470 a week.
A baby nurse specializes in care for newborns. They’re educated, trained and skilled in all areas of infant care. They usually work with new parents anywhere from a couple of weeks to possibly a couple of months depending on the parents preference. Many new parents hire baby nurses to help teach them good feeding and sleeping patterns. The average price for a baby nurse is $600 a week.
At times, parents need to rely on family. Having a family member care for your child is convenient, affordable and will allow you the peace of mind of knowing your child is in the best hands. Although most parents would prefer a family member, it’s not always an option.
Speaking with other parents is key as you might have a neighbor who has children your child’s age that can use the extra income. Just keep in mind if you don’t personally know the person a background check is always recommended.
Quitting Your Job
This would be a last resort and is more common than you think. Many parents find themselves paying more from childcare than they earn at work. This works better in a two parent home where one parent can stay home and care for the children while the other works. Before you make a drastic decision, study your options. Below is a list of financial assistance and subsidies for child care.
Federal / State Childcare Assistance
The below list consists of federal or state programs that assist low income families with child care resources, employment, training or education.
The Office of Children and Family Services supports low-income families with resources and financial assistance. They can guide you in finding affordable child care and can even assist financially if you qualify. They also promote education and afterschool programs. OCFS offers a list of statewide resources and programs on their website. You can also go in person and speak directly with a social worker. Call ahead in case you need to make an appointment.
The Child Care and Development Fund provides assistance to low-income families who need child care due to attending school or working full time. They also provide work-related training. In order to qualify, you must be a parent or primary caregiver for children under the age of 13 years of age. You would also qualify if your child under 19 has special needs.
Child care subsidy programs for federal employees provides financial assistance to eligible families. Their programs assist employees with child care by assisting parents in finding a licensed family care home or child care center. Parents of children ages infant to 12 may qualify.
TANF is a government program that assists low income families with a wide range of services. Every state has their own requirements and deadlines. Please visit the above link to be directed to your local office.
Head Start is a federally funded program that provides free child care and other services to help eligible families. Headstart is for children under the age of five who are preparing to go to school. To qualify you would have to meet federal poverty guidelines.
Non Profit Organizations Childcare Assistance
The below organizations are not for profit. Each organization has their own list of programs in which you would need to meet specific qualifications. This list serves as a great resource for parents looking for child care, employment or emergency resources.
The NACCR works directly with the Department of Defense in assisting military members with childcare. They have a statewide referral list that can connect parents to affordable child care providers.
The Bridge To Benefits Child Care assistance program assists parents who are low income pay for childcare. Parents would need to be working, looking for work or enrolled in an educational course.
The National Urban League assists adults with educational programs, career counseling, and advancement. Their goal is self-sufficiency. They have nationwide offices that serve as an excellent resource for parents looking for community assistance.
The Soroptimist provides single women by giving them employment projects, career building, and educational resources.
The Sunshine Lady Foundation provides scholarships nationally through local agencies to women who have left a domestic situation and who are pursuing an education. Their focus is to provide economic independence for women and their children.
Parents with Parents is an international nonprofit agency who assists single parents and their children. They provide resources, support, education and networking for single parents.
Helping Hands provides assistance to single parents with educational grants, emergency funds, household assistance and other resources.
The RMHC assists parents of ill children with housing and medical resources. They also provide financial assistance.
The YMCA provides child care at a very low cost. They also have reading, writing, and extra curricular activities for children and teenagers.
Other Saving Tips for Daycare Expenses
Many employers assist with childcare expenses. You should contact your corporate office or HR manager who can provide you with options.Programs such as FSA, WageWorks and Spending Accounts provide parents with a pre-tax benefit account used to pay for dependent care services. They can cover preschool, summer camp, before or after school programs, and daycare. Having this set up through your employer can save you on average 30% a year. That’s about $4000 a year!
Get Insurance Rebates for Daycare Expenses
Many insurance plans have specific coverage for household expenses. Nationwide is well known for having this sort of plan. If you are paying for life or car insurance ask your provider for information on child care expenses. Chances are if they don’t have it, they will have an affiliate or referral.
They cover emergency medical expenses, accidents, and daycare.
Pre-tax contributions that are used for child care expenses.
Reimbursement for after school and daycare expenses. Also may cover tuition, preschool and nursery charges.
Some parents hire a babysitter and share the costs with other parents. At time you get a discount for additional children.
If you don’t know of one maybe you should start it. A baby co-op is a couple of parents who get together and take care of each other’s children. Its casual and a great way for everyone to save!
Many libraries offer after school activities for children. You can also count on them to be educational. A library is also a great place to network and look for postings on other child care services.