The recession is hitting everyone hard. But the ones who are hit the hardest are the middle to lower middle class working families. Many of these families are made up of two parents who have two to three jobs between them, plus the job of raising their children. This makes childcare a very important issue in their household.
Of course, everyone wants safe childcare. They want to place their children in hands of capable and caring people. This is a fact that no parent is about to skimp on or to take for face value.
But the problem with today’s childcare isn’t all about safety. It is about price.
It has been estimated that full time child care costs as much as rent for some families. (The average cost of full day care for an infant in most daycares for a year would run from $4,500 to $15,000). This is to high of a price, when jobs are being cut and incomes are being lowered. What are the options that some families may have.
They just can’t admit their children into any preschool centre of their choice only because their budget does not allow them to.
First, there are state funded programs that will help provide daycare. The problem here lies in the fact that most families make too much to qualify for these programs. Yet, they do not make enough to enroll their children in most day care centers. What other options do families have?
Check with your local childcare resource agency or go to childcareaware.org and see if you qualify for some of the new stimulus plan that has been subsidized for childcare. Under the new plan childcare subsidizes has been raised from 2 billion to 4 billion dollars.
Talk to your daycare provider and see if you can qualify for a reduction in price. One way in which they may allow you to do this is by paying for the time that your child actually stays in daycare. For instance, if your child is only in day care for 3 out of 5 days, point this out to the provider.
Ask your employer about dependent care allowance. These are pretax dollars that are set aside for childcare costs. To learn more about this program check out this Childcarefinancialaid.org.
Talk with other families and see if you can come up with a plan together. Many families are sharing babysitters or nannies. You may even be able to come up with a schedule in which part of the time family members can take over for the babysitter or nanny.
Finally, consider asking your family for help. Forty percent of grandparents are currently providing some type of childcare help with their grandchildren. (This includes great-grandparents). This is a great way for the grandparent to be a part of the child’s life and to feel needed. Just make sure you take in account the grandparents current health status when you consider this option.
Affording childcare costs in a recession can take a toll on a family, at times. But it can be doable, especially if you are lucky enough to have a support network such as a grandparent to help.