Affordable Child Care

In today's difficult economic climate, families are finding themselves pinching pennies. Mothers who never had to work before are trying to enter the work force, but it almost doesn't pay when they begin to figure in childcare costs. The search for reliable, safe, and affordable childcare seems like mission impossible. Meantime, a national study found that the cost of childcare continues to rise.

In spite of the difficulties, 11 million U.S. children under the age of 5 are in childcare of one kind of another. Childcare options abound, but not many are affordable. Consider this: if you need to place two children in daycare, the costs can be higher than what you're paying out for rent, mortgage, or even food expenses.

More Complicated

In the summer, the problem of what to do with the children becomes even more complicated. One solution is Kids Campus, a summer program for elementary-school aged children. Kids Campus offers all kinds of summer fun and games. The campus is open from 6:30 AM until 6:00 PM so moms and dads can work as caregivers supervise their kids: some 150 children every day.

The staff at Kids Campus understands that the key to making the long summer pass is to keep the kids busy and engaged with new activities, all day and every day. Different activities are offered throughout the day so that the children never feel the kind of boredom that comes with repetition.

But for some parents, Kids Campus is just a dream. For one couple working fulltime, Arlene and Bob Crane, the costs of Kids Campus are prohibitive at around $100 per child, per week. Instead, the couple chose a home day care for their son. Arlene is expecting a second child, a girl in November. "It's just not worth it to put him in Kids Campus, much as I'd love to. I might as well stay home instead," says Arlene.

A Resource

A spokeswoman for Omaha, Nebraska's Child Saving Institute (CSI) says that parents are struggling to find quality, affordable care for their children. CSI asks as a resource to help parents find what they need and to offer support to the better childcare providers.

Deenie Carpenter says she'd love to send her kids to a summer program but there just isn't enough money to go around. "The truth is I'd rather do nice activities with my family instead of sending my kids to a kids' program. It's much better to do family activities than for me to stay home and fund my kids' attendance at a fancy place like Kids Campus. It just makes sense."

A recent study looked at childcare costs throughout the country. At the lowest end of the scale the costs for one child in daycare run $4000, while in Massachusetts, costs for a single child can rise to more than $13,000 a year.