Why Affordable Child Care Matters

Metairie daycare

Being able to stay home with a child full-time is a rare privilege these days. Most parents need to opt for some form of daycare service and full-time stay-at-home parents represent just one third of all parents in the U.S. Just one generation ago, that figure was at least 50%, with the mother usually trying at home with the children. Of course, times have changed and women are now much more accepted in the workplace and play a vital role in the financial wellbeing of their families.

In this context, as much as a quarter of all children aged five and under are in daycare, nurseries or some other form of organized child care. Sadly the provision for such care does not meet the demand with most (two-thirds) parents believing that more needs to be done to provide such services, whether by government or business. In fact, lack of access to daycare services or child care services results in over 11 million children having to take care of themselves after school because there is no parent or family member to do so and no access to affordable healthcare.

For some parents, after school programs can help with the child care requirements, but only 10.2 million kids participate in such programs. A further 19.4 million would participate in after school activities or programs but are unable to because there are none available. Choosing the right child care facilities, whether daycares services or options for older kids, is vital as they can provided much-needed stimulation for children outside of school tie and can positively impact on academic performance. Pre-school seems to be one of the most important parts of a child’s education, with as much as one quarter of this in the high risk group likely to drop out of high school if they do not get the right kind of quality pre-school experience. Such children are up to 40% more likely to fall pregnant or become teen parents, 70% more likely to commit a violent crime resulting in arrest, and 60% more likely not to go to college, according to the Ounce of Prevention Fund.

The problem is that child care of whatever type is pricey. One study found that families earning less than $18,000 a year tended to spend as much as 40% of their income on such services. Overall, families spend about 7.2% of their total income on child care. Despite the existence of federally subsidized child care programs, only 22% of low-income families have their children in such programs. There are affordable daycare services and other childcare programs available; the trick is to find ones that meet your needs and offer your child the best start in life.

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