Why Does Child Care Costs So Much?

In every region of the United States, average child care fees for an infant were higher than the average amount that families spent on food.

Making a child care decision is one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make as a parent. You want your child(ren) to be safe, healthy and happy; and to be prepared for school.  However, like many parents, you were shocked when you first discovered the high price of child care.

Child care is a small service-oriented business, just like a physicians office, tax preparers office, a beauty or nail salon, spa or even a pet grooming business.

* A service is provided

* The balanced budget is needed to stay in business.

Child care center and family child care homes charge fees based on a basic, simple formula:

Cost of running the program divided by the number of children served = cost per child

Other expenses child care centers and family child care providers have to include in their budgets may include:

* Facilities maintenance

*Fire alarms/extinguishers

*Food

*Insurance(business, liability, workers comp)

*Professional services(accountants, lawyers & health consultants)

*Rent /mortgage

*Staff training

*Supplies

*Taxes

*Toys/Equipment

*Transportation

*Utilities

State licensing regulations govern issues related to health and safety.  These regulations can affect how much it costs to run a child care program. However, not all child care programs are covered by state licensing regulations, such as church run programs in some states.  The following are types of regulations that can affect the cost of running a child care program:

* Group size- the number of children that can be in one group;

*Ratios- the number of children for each adult

*Staff education and training

*Square footage- the number of square feet required in the building and on the playground for each child.

*Activities and materials

*Health , safety and nutrition

Like most service industries, about 80% of the cost in a child care program is salaries.  The major way to control budget is to control salaries and food costs.  Moreover, despite the best responsibilities, the average salary for a full time child care teacher is $8.39/hour, which makes child care one of the lowest paying professionals.

Family child care homes are a little different as many will only have one person, which would be the owner/manager.  Their fees can be even higher since its their main source of income, but you will have a smaller ratio of children.  Every parent wants quality, safe and healthy environment for their child(ren) and child care centers want a safe work environment for their staff with a benefits.

Does Public Funds Help Pay For Child Care?

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48 Comments

  1. I thought that child care was expensive when I lived in GA, but then I moved to OH and learned what expensive child care really meant. I can’t find anything under $250/week and even though I understand the high cost of rent, salaries, etc. that’s still a bit much to me. Unfortunately, when both parents work there’s no other option so $1000/month is what we dish out to make sure our daughter is safe and cared for. Thanks for sharing!

    Erica | Black Bloggers Network
    NEW POST: 5 Secrets to Explode Your Blog Income: How One Blogger Earns Over $100,000 per Month

    • Thanks, Erica the cost of child care will vary from state to state, region to region. Family Child care home businesses are always a great option as well. Now, many family child care home have earned their accreditation status.

  2. If I had a kid, the first thing I’d think about is childcare cost. I get the reasons why, but I don’t know if my pockets are ready for that.

  3. This is something that definitely worries me. I’m not a parent yet but just thinking about who will take care of my child if I’m not able to work from home is frightening.

  4. I remember when my older children were in daycare and it was so expensive! I think there should be more government funding for daycares to help alleviate the cost of childcare. Sometimes the high fees really make parents feel like they’re working for the daycare.

  5. Im currently a work at home mom with my 2 year old. When my oldest was born, after my maternity leave ended, my hubby took care of him during the day while I worked. That saved a lot of $$. At 9 months, I put him in chilcare when my hubbys shift changed. That was an eye opener because it cost $220 per week. Thank God my job offered reimbursement up to $5K. Thanks for breaking down the costs!

  6. as a new mom to be(7months prego) I’m terrified about all the difficulties of getting good care, thanks for this article I’m looking into it and this was definitely helpful <3

  7. Its very informative!! If I start earning i will give everything to child care and left with nothing!! So its better to stay at home !

    • Thanks, Nida there are plenty of stay at home options as well. You could always open your family child care in your home and help other moms with quality care for their children.

  8. I remember the costs for childcare when my son was an infant. I was in school AND working full time and it made me feel so guilty to leave him there with someone else while I pursued my degree, and worked to help pay rent and buy groceries. He’s 17 now and doesn’t seem too worse for wear. I just wish that I didn’t have to live in such poverty back then when he was in daycare.

  9. My heart goes out to families that struggle with the cost of childcare – I can only imagine how tough it must be to juggle. But you have to look at it from both sides and they are providing a valuable service. Thank you for offering that balance.

  10. Very informative post. Childcare is very expensive but at the same time these are the people that are in charge of the wellbeing of your child when not under your care so it is so important to find the right fit for you and understand why the costs are what they are.

  11. child care costs are very troublesome. There are costs both ways. Be a SAHM and lose employability or keep working and pay a lot for quality care.

    • Gillian, this is very true. Being a SAHM you can also work from home for legit work at home companies. Starting a Family home child care business in your home and provide other parents quality care for their children

  12. My husband and I have actually talked about whether it would be more economical for me to NOT work when we have children. The costs are higher than many of my friends’ salaries, yet they work. Interesting to see all that goes into the cost!

  13. It can be very expensive especially if it’s not enough funding in the budget for certain necessities. A lot of activities get demolished and important factors that the children benefit from. I wish certain programs were just a free standard offering. Every child should be able to have these basic necessities

  14. I have a sister-in-law that owns a Learning Center for children and she’s asked this question all the time. I love how you broke down the explanation of expenses.

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  15. Wow, I had no idea there are so many factors that go into child care costs. As someone who doesn’t have children, I often hear about the high costs of child care from my colleagues and friends. I would wonder myself why they were so expensive, this article makes it clear where the costs are driven from. I can’t imagine the resources, energy, and effort it would take to run a child care facility. This was a very insightful post!

  16. I think most people get frustrated with how much it costs and I think you did a good job of breaking it down for us, so that we would respect why it does cost that much.

  17. I don’t have children but i hear the cost of child car is like another rent payment. I have a co-worker whose children are out of school. She stated it is cheaper for her husband to care for the children then for him to obtain a job. Hopefully, my stepmother can watch my children when I do have them to avoid the high day care fees.

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