DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Jessica Rivera wants the best for her children. Being a working mom, she has had no choice but to pay for day care so that she could help her husband keep the house up and running.
“A thousand dollars a month for two children so that along with mortgage and everything it was hard.”
It became so overwhelming that Rivera sought financial help. Her daughter America was accepted into a program called ChildCareGroup.
But millions of parents are feeling the pinch from child care. A new study released by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies found that in 36 states the average annual cost of child care was higher than a year’s tuition at a four year public college.
In Texas one year of public college averages $7,743. While one year of child care for a four-year-old is $6,600. But the cost of child care for an infant was greater than a year of college at $7,850.
Susan Hoff is a child care advocate for United Way. She says finding affordable quality child care is a huge problem, but adds educating babies and toddlers requires a significant investment just like higher learning does.
“Those first four years of life are the greatest amount of brain development in young children… It’s important to our entire public.”
According to the study New York is the least affordable state for child care, while Louisiana is the most affordable. But that’s based on a two parent income. Its even more difficult for single parents.
“A little bit more than half my income goes to paying day care,” says Maria Ruiz, who is raising her three-year-old son Sidney alone.
She just moved her son from one day care because they went up on the tuition, again. “It was hard trying to find something that would meet my budget and at the same time meet my needs for my son.”
And meeting their children’s needs is every parents concern– no matter the cost. “His education means a lot,” says Ruiz.