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No Childcare = No Can Do

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It's no secret that many Americans are struggling with the consequences of a downtrodden economy -- and that's putting it lightly. The average cost of living is skyrocketing, and overall expenditures for the typical household are reaching all-time highs. But what about moms who are trying to get back on their feet and support their families? Well, they can't do it without childcare, and there is a big discrepancy between the amount of funding that states will shell out for subsidized childcare and how much it actually costs. Supply just isn't meeting demand in most states.

The New York Times reports that in many low-income working families, childcare is one of the largest expenditures after housing. Among families with working mothers and incomes below the poverty line -- $18,310 for a family of three -- childcare absorbs nearly a third of total household budgets.

Many moms told the Times thatthey are more than willing to return to the working world after maternity leave, but they can't -- due to the prohibitive cost of childcare."I'm totally able, physically and intellectually, to continue working," said mom Janey Smith, who lost her job after losing her subsidized daycare. "But I can't work without childcare, and I can't afford childcare without work."

Moms, what do you think? Has the cost of childcare kept you from returning to the workforce?

next: Kindergarten: 4-Year-Olds Need Not Apply
11 comments so far | Post a comment now
2 in Daycare June 3, 2010, 1:14 PM

Let’s put it this way… I’m basically working for the health insurance benefits. More than half my salary goes towards daycare.

Terri K (@tkharmonic) June 3, 2010, 2:12 PM

No way could I work for minimum wage. Decent, licensed daycare here starts around $125-175/week! Thankfully I only have one child, but that means when I’m looking for a job I literally can’t afford to work most jobs I could get.

Sara June 3, 2010, 2:18 PM

Yes, the cost of daycare is keeping me from returning to the work force. Since we need the money that I would be bringing in I had to think outside of the box. I have since started a pre-school entertainment business where I am contracted by daycares and preschools to come in and put on science shows. I thought outside of the box and used my strengths (marketing and science) to still generate the income we needed.

Lisa June 3, 2010, 2:37 PM

It’s not only those below or at the poverty line that can’t afford childcare. My husband makes very good money but if I were to go back to work atleast half my salary would go toward daycare for our 2 children! Not to mention the cost of hiring an occassional babysitter for a night out or school function where the baby is better left at home.

Amy June 3, 2010, 6:04 PM

I strongly feel that if the government helped with the cost of daycare for all the benefits to the economy would be amazing. I am certain the program would quickly pay for itself by allowing women and men (my hubby is a stay at home dad because were only clearing $20 a week from his paycheck when he worked) to go to school and achieve even higher paying jobs thus creating tax dollars.

Kristen June 4, 2010, 3:30 AM

You know the really sad part of this article, it forgets to mention that most daycare workers work for a paltry sum of money and have very lousy hours. I think the gov’t needs to step up and realize it needs to help. I also believe that more parents really do need to stay home with their kids if they can afford to. We need to stop consuming mores as americans. Back to the childcare thing, France and our own military are great examples of good quality childcare systems that should be implemented nation wide. It would be better for all, the scary thing is once the gov’t is involved they seem to screw up a lot.

Anon June 4, 2010, 8:46 AM

Work opposite shifts or cut out all the after school actvities. That will save money.

Erin D. January 20, 2011, 9:52 AM

I believe very strongly in the reduction of costs for childcare. I do not believe in publicly subsidizing private daycares or sitters, it is not ocst effective. Most daycares overcharge for services, I am saying thta blatantly. I do not buy into the despairity of these centers. Babysitting is an easy job. I see no reaosn for it to be so overtly overpriced, and it’s crippling America.

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amr212s June 1, 2011, 1:31 AM

To Erin D. childcare is not an easy job! However, our childcare costs for two LOs is more than our rent and utilities combined. We are going to have to make a change because we can not pay our bills. :(

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