FAQs
Where did these numbers come from?
To understand the calculations behind this tool, please read the accompanying methodology.
How does congressional funding for child care support parents’ ability to choose care that’s right for them?
Right now, parents lack choices. Since child care supports parents’ ability to work, the cost of care should never be a barrier to accessing quality child care. Currently, the federal government provides the overwhelming majority of public support for child care but it only serves 1 in 7 subsidy-eligible children. Congressional funding for child care will preserve and enhance parents’ ability to choose the type of quality early educational experiences that works for them and their children.
How does capping out-of-pocket child care costs support child care programs and families?
Congressional funding for child care covers the gap between parents’ out-of-pocket costs and true costs of care, which account for overhead costs such as rent and offering competitive wages to attract and retain quality early educators. Nearly 2 in 3 Americans support capping child care expenses for low- and middle-income families.
Why is early childhood educator pay important?
Children’s brains develop at a rapid pace in the first five years. Their interaction with adults plays a critical role in this early development. Training, education, and fair compensation means that early childhood educators have the tools they need to be effective in setting children up for success by providing them with quality care and early educational experiences.
How is the partnership between early educators and families supportive of children’s wellbeing?
Child care can help expand opportunities for children. A robustly funded system not only supports parents’ ability to choose the type of care that meets their children’s needs but also allows early educators to provide quality, safe early educational experiences for children, bolstering the life-affirming partnerships among children, families, and educators.
Quality child care costs more than most families can afford, yet most parents need child care. How do families make it work?
When faced with the high cost of a child care center or home, many parents make sacrifices. Some parents leave the workforce or send their child to a less expensive program—which might not offer the quality they want—or string together a patchwork of care. Young children deserve stability and many young children from low- and middle-income families would benefit from a more sustainable care arrangement, including access to quality child care as an option. These are just a few reasons why Congress should fund child care.
My child care costs less than this. Why is that?
Child care costs are driven primarily by teacher pay and rent depending on the setting of care. The tool assumes market-rate rent. The rent might be less if the center is in a religious facility, nonprofit, or government space. Across all states, median early childhood educator pay is about $12.24 per hour. Your program may pay teachers less than the state average.
There's no way I can afford this much for child care. What do I do?
Child care is expensive, and families should not bear the burden alone. Become an advocate for investing more public money into child care. Encourage elected officials and candidates to address child care. Ask your community to take action too. Learn about legislation that can make quality child care affordable. Click here to take action.