2009-05-15 / Top Stories

Study Sho ws Skyrocketing Child Care Costs

With families coming together today to celebrate Mother's Day, a new study shows that New York parents are struggling more than ever with the skyrocketing cost of child care.

A study by Representative Anthony Weiner (D - Brooklyn and Queens) shows that, from 2003 to 2007, the average cost of providing child care for kids under 5 jumped 20 percent - from $7,848 to $9,382 a year. For many families, paying for child care consumes more than a third of their income. Rising Cost of Paying for Child Care:

* The average cost of providing care

to infants (under the age of 1.5

years) jumped 28 percent. * The cost of providing care to toddlers

(1.5 to 2 years) jumped nearly

$900 - an 11 percent increase. * Preschool child care (3 to 5 years)

increased $1,417 from 2003 to

2007 - a 20 percent jump. * The largest jump in the cost of

care came at larger child care cen ters, which increased from $13,884 to $19,240 for infants under 1 ½ years old - a 39 percent jump. * A family of four earning $51,625 a

year pays an average of $18,764

for child care, which is 36 percent

of their entire income. * A family of four earning $100,000

that sends their kids to private child care center would pay over

$38,000 for child care - 38 percent

of their income.

To make child care services more affordable, the City and State do have public programs to assist some New York families. Last year alone, New York City received nearly $717 million, including $300 million from the federal government, to provide subsidies for child care.

The problem is that, unlike financial aid for college, which is available for some middle-income families, child care subsidies only go to lowest income families. In fact, less than 2 percent of all children in publicly-supported care came from families earning more than $42,400 per year; only 1 in 7 children received a public subsidy for care.

Weiner is proposing expanding tax credits to middle class families by doubling the amount of money families can take out of their pre-tax income to help pay for child care to $10,000 per year. The current cap is $5,000 - regardless of how many children a family has. Currently known as Flexible Savings Accounts for dependent care, the federal limit would increase further based on regional areas cost adjustments.

Rep. Weiner said, "Kids are the best present a parent could get - but they aren't always cheap. Many families are struggling to provide basic child care for their kids. The steps we're taking today will bring some relief at the very moment parents need it the most."

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