Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
The cost of center-based child care exceeds the cost of tuition at state colleges in a number of states, due as much to rising child care costs as to slightly declining state college tuitions. More from CNN Money:
Last year, average center-based child care costs rose by nearly 3% nationwide, according to a report from the nonprofit Child Care Aware of America. Full-time care for an infant ranged from a high of $16,430 a year in Massachusetts to $4,863 in Mississippi. Meanwhile, center-based care for a four-year-old hit a high of $12,355 in Massachusetts and a low of $4,312 in Mississippi.
Why such huge price disparities? Blame it on differences in labor costs, state regulations and cost of living expenses, such as housing, food and utilities.
For example, Massachusetts has strict child care regulations that require one teacher for every three infants, compared to one teacher per five infants in Mississippi. Meanwhile, child care centers in New York City, among one of the most expensive places for child care in the country, pay significantly higher rents and also must meet strict state standards.
“In order to meet those (standards), it costs money,” said Jessica Klos Shapiro, public policy and communications coordinator at the nonprofit Early Care & Learning Council, which advocates for families across New York state.
The centers are also grappling with ballooning operational costs, ranging from rising insurance costs to higher food prices, said Lynette Fraga, Child Care Aware’s executive director.
As a result, child care costs grew by as much as eight times the rate of family incomes last year, the report said. And they continue to take a major chunk out of family budgets, often representing a household’s largest monthly expense.
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Image: Kids at day care, via Shutterstock
Thursday, April 4th, 2013
The costs of child care have nearly doubled in the last 25 years, according to a new report based on census data. More from a release by the U.S. Census Bureau:
“Perhaps the most critical decision parents make in balancing their work and home life is choosing the type of care to provide for their children while they work,” said report author Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer in the Census Bureau’s Fertility and Family Statistics Branch. “Child care arrangements and the financial burden they impose on families are important issues for policymakers and anyone concerned about the welfare of children. This report is unique in that it is not only the sole study from the Census Bureau on this topic, but also provides a consistent time-series on trends going back to the mid-1980s.”
Families with an employed mother and children younger than 15 (see chart) paid an average of $143 per week for child care in 2011, up from $84 in 1985 (in constant 2011 dollars).
The median wage for a full-time child care worker did not increase over the last 20 years. The median wage for a child care worker in 2011 was $19,098, not different from $19,680 in 1990 (in constant 2011 dollars).
The percent of families who reported they made a cash payment for child care for at least one of their children declined from 42 percent to 32 percent between 1997 and 2011.
Since 1997, the use of organized day care centers and father-provided care for preschoolers has increased, while the proportion of children cared for by nonrelatives in the provider’s home has declined. (There was a change in the data collection methodology in the mid-1990s; 1997 was the first year of data that was affected by this change.)
Image: Girl in day care, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
Delegates who planned to bring their children to the Democratic National Convention recently learned that organizers will not provide childcare or allow kids on the convention floor, CBS Charlotte reports. The DNC begins in Charlotte, N.C., on September 3.
This decision has sparked criticism from local chapters of the National Organization of Women and from women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, who called it “discrimination against moms.”
“Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women,” Steinem said in a statement. “It’s both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist.”
Californian Susie Shannon, who planned to bring her four-year-old daughter to the convention, told the Charlotte Observer: “The Democratic Party shouldn’t put you in a position where you have to choose between your child and participating in a political convention.”
A convention spokeswoman said the DNC’s official vendor directory will include a list of private child care providers, and added that all convention venues will include lactation centers for nursing moms.
Image: Political convention via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
Nearly a third of American fathers with working wives stay at home at least one day each week to care for children, a new analysis of 2010 U.S. census data has found. Twenty percent of fathers with children under age 5 are the primary child caretakers in their family.
CNNMoney has more:
Not only has it become more necessary for men to pitch in at home, but fathers have also become more available to do so. “It’s a combination of mothers going to work and fathers being out of work as a result of the recession,” said Lynda Laughlin, a family demographer at the Census Bureau.
Men were particularly hard hit by the steep job losses during that time, losing 4 million jobs since 2007, while women lost just over 2 million during the same time period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Image: Father and baby, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, March 26th, 2012
Giving new ammunition to spouses who quarrel about the division of daily child-care tasks, a new study out of the University of Virginia is asking whether women “like” such jobs more than men. The New York Times reports on the response from the 181 heterosexual college professors with children 2 or younger who were surveyed for the study:
On 16 out of 25 child-care tasks — like changing diapers, taking a child to the doctor or getting up in the middle of a night to attend to a child — women reported statistically significant higher levels of enjoyment than men. The only parenting issue that gave women less pleasure than it gave men was having to manage who does what for the child. Over all, women’s scores were 10 percent higher than men’s.
Is it really true that women end up shouldering more of the parenting burden simply because they like it more — or at least dislike it less? Steven Rhoads, a University of Virginia political-science professor and the study’s lead author, surmised that some women may have inflated their enjoyment scores because of feelings of guilt or cultural pressure. But he also said some research suggests that a woman’s parenting skills are deeply rooted in biology. Women with high levels of testosterone, for instance, often show less interest in babies, while a father’s testosterone levels are known to drop when a new baby arrives, ostensibly a biological mechanism to encourage bonding with the infant.
Image: Mother changing diaper, via Shutterstock.
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