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    California Ranks the Least Affordable for Center-Based Infant Care in Study Just Released by Child Care Aware® of America

    Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA)  recently released its 13th annual The US and The High Price of Child Care: An Examination of a Broken System which found that child care is unaffordable in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia. For 30 years, CCAoA has been the leading voice for quality, affordable child care in the United States. Of note, CCAoA’s findings showed that across all states, the price  of center-based infant care exceeds 27 percent of median household income for single working parents—these impacts were exacerbated for parents and families of color.

    CCAoA also found that child care remains one of the highest household expenses, especially in the Northeast and West, often exceeding $20,000 per year in those regions, competing closely with rising housing prices. The federal poverty level for a family of three in the continental United States was $20,780 last year.

    In California, the annual price of center-based infant care is $16,452. Median income for a single parent is $29,198 in California; meaning that infant child care in a center will cost 56.3% of median income. In two-parent families, where median income is $93,850, child care prices for an infant in center-based care is 17.6% of median income. Average annual child care prices for a toddler (California ranked 20th least affordable) and for a 4-year old (California ranked 6th least affordable) is $11,202. To put that into perspective, the average public college in California is $9,870 annually for tuition and fees.

    Child Care Aware of America has created an interactive map showing prices across the country as well as the relationship between prices and median income by state.

    Report highlights include:  

    • Nationally, the price  of center-based infant care ranges from 7.6% to 17.6% of median household income for married couples;
    • The use of updated millennial income data to compare with child care prices in each state shows that, overall, millennials pay anywhere from 18 to 42 percent of annual income for center-based infant care;
    • Descriptions of each member of the child care ecosystem—children, families, providers, communities, government and businesses and the role they play in creating and implementing solutions to price and access issues;
    • The Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies that exist in states to support families and communities can lead the way for multiple stakeholders;
    • Legislative and policy recommendations which focus on the key questions of how we can best support the child care workforce in sustaining quality care and how to help families pay for it. Recommendations include:
        • Improved data collection and analysis
        • Enhanced parent and provider awareness
        • Strengthened financial mechanisms

    Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware® of America said, “A critical piece of the Price of Care Report this year is the spotlight stories on children with special needs, businesses who help, working fathers, single, student, and millennial mothers, family child care providers, exemplary child care programs and solutions to better fund the system to support all of these stakeholders. When one member of this ecosystem struggles, the entire system flounders.”

    Fraga continues, “Quality, affordable child care should be, and can be made available and accessible to all children in the U.S.—regardless of age, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status or geographic location.”

    CCAoA works with state Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies to track the price  of care for children by age and setting, then compares each state’s prices  to its median income, ranking the states by affordability for each category of care.

    For more than three decades, CCAoA has advocated for families, partnered with CCR&Rs, and informed the nation about the price of child care for families. Research has shown that children who attend high-quality early childhood education programs have better outcomes later in life, including increased education and earnings and less contact with the criminal justice system, saving the government money in the long run.

    More than 12.5 million children under the age of five are in some form of child care in the United States; roughly 35 percent of children in care under age five are in child care centers. As the nation’s leading voice for child care, CCAoA is comprised of 125,000 online advocates from across the country and hundreds of members. For child care providers, they offer training on emergency preparedness as well as technical assistance that emphasize health, nutrition and obesity prevention and more.


    About Child Care Aware® of America
    Child Care Aware® of America is our nation’s leading voice for child care. CCAoA works with state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and other community partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. CCAoA leads projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offer comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. To learn more, visit usa.childcareaware.org. Follow them on Twitter @ChildCareAware and on Facebook at facebook.com/childcareaware.

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