For the eighth year in a row, data from Child Care Aware® of America’s Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report shows child care costs continue to be a heavy lift for America’s working families. The 2014 report shows that the cost of child care in the United States can be as much as $14,508 annually for an infant, or $12,280 annually for a four-year-old in a center, and does not always guarantee a quality environment. The 2014 report was released at a special media event at the National Press Club this morning, where a panel of experts in child care, public policy and advocacy discussed the key findings from this year’s report. Studies show that increased access to quality, affordable child care raises employee morale and company loyalty, and can even save U.S. businesses as much as $3 billion a year. Moreover, exposure to quality learning environments during the earliest and most fundamental years of brain development set children up for a lifetime of success. Of children who arrive at school without the skills needed to succeed, more than 85 percent are still behind in fourth grade. Child care made national headlines in November with the passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. The legislation, which provides child care subsidy dollars for low-income families, had not previously been reauthorized since 1996. Overhead expenses in child care programs account for a majority of the expense, meaning most child care providers make little more than minimum wage. This year’s annual report on child care costs will highlight solutions along with significant trends and analysis of America’s child care costs.
Read the report here.