Childcare Still Unaffordable For WI Families
WI Identified in Top Ten Least Affordable for Families with 4-year-olds in Centers
For the ninth year in a row childcare is found to be unaffordable for working families including those in Wisconsin according to Child Care Aware of America’s Parents and the High Cost of Childcare Report. Wisconsin was once again ranked in the top ten for least affordable states for a 4-year-old in a group based center based on a percentage of state median income for a two-parent family.
“What we know about early childhood development tells us these are critical years for laying a strong foundation for success in life,” says Paula Breese, Executive Director of Family & Childcare Resources of N.E.W. “Quality early childhood experiences impact all children but the most vulnerable children can make the most strides in quality childcare settings. Cost can prohibit families from making choices based on quality.”
According to the report, the average cost of care for a 4-year-old in a group based center was $9,469 in Wisconsin 2014. This is 11.2% of the median income of a married couple and 40% of the median income of a single mother in our state. For the average Wisconsin family with two children in center based childcare, the cost of childcare exceeds all other average household expenses like housing, food, transportation and college tuition.
“Part of quality childcare is caregivers providing quality environments and experiences but the average wage of a group center childcare provider can mean childcare is unaffordable to them,” says Breese. According to the report, the average childcare provider wage in Wisconsin is $21,230 and the cost of care for two children in care $21,048 which is 99.1% of their income. There are many overhead costs to childcare businesses including rent, food, insurance, continuing education, toys, safety materials and wages for staff.
“Because of our work with childcare providers and parents we know that some of the difficulties in finding and providing quality childcare don’t have easy answers,” says Breese. “As a community, we need to put our money where our mouth is when we say we care about children and invest federally and locally in programs that support early childhood.”