New York State has the unfortunate distinction of having the “least affordable” child care in the nation, according to a new report issued by Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies). The report – Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2012, determines affordability by looking at the cost of child care as a percentage of state median income for a two-parent family. The 10 least affordable states (in ranked order) for full-time center-based infant care in 2011 were: New York, Minnesota, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Indiana and Wisconsin.
In New York the average annual cost for center-based care for an infant is $14,009, more than twice the average one-year tuition and fees for a SUNY college. In New York, the average cost of center-based child care for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) is $25,594, again, more than twice the average rent for one year in New York State. New Yorkers are not alone in struggling with the high cost of child care, however. In every state and the District of Columbia, center-based child care costs for two children (an infant and a 4-year-old) exceeded annual average rent payments.
“Families need child care in order to work,” said Marsha Basloe, Executive Director of the Early Care & Learning Council “But, we are facing a crisis. As child care costs continue to rise, parents are faced with difficult decisions. Do I pay my rent, buy groceries or pay for child care? Parents are often forced to take their children out of regulated care and place them in unlicensed care where the quality is unknown. While parents may not always be able to afford to place their children in quality child care, we as a state can’t afford not to.”