MINNEAPOLIS - A new report from Child Care Aware of America found that a year in day care is more expensive than a year of college tuition.
The average full-time center-based care for an infant in Minnesota costs a whopping $13,000. The average Minnesota parent pays 15.6 percent of their income on child care, the largest household expense, according to the report. It's second only to New York which pays 15.9 percent of their income.
Robin Lanick, owner of Linden Hills Child Care Center in south Minneapolis, says all that money parents pay doesn't go as far as one would think.
"We pay the overhead, we pay the rent, we pay all the licensing fees and requirements, and still try to pay our teachers but still try to make it affordable for the parents," Lanick said.
Rent, insurance and licensing fees alone costs Lanick $7,000 a month. Paying her staff of 11 to care for roughly 40 kids also takes a big chunk of cash. There's also supplies and training for her staff. She says quality and affordability is a tough balancing act.
She's not the only one. Ann McCully, executive director at Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Network, said affordability is real struggle for child care programs.
"On one hand, we need to cover our costs and keep providing this quality of care, and yet they know they can't go much higher without pricing more parents out of the market," McCully said.
Lanick believes some financial support of providers from the federal or local government could help cut down costs.
For now she says her center tries to help families out when they can because she knows what it's like trying to make ends meet. While she provides a service to other families she also has a second job to support her own family.
"The women and men who are in it really have their hearts in it. It's not a big money maker," Lanick said.
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