Childcare costs almost doubled during the pandemic
(CNN) – New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focus on safe in-person learning as school-aged children return to class this fall.
However, parents find that for children too young for school, child care has become unaffordable.
Some parents are forced to take drastic measures.
âI was quoted around $ 4,300, which is actually not the same as my rent, but more than my rent,â said parent Tomia Mitchell-Haas.
She faces a growing problem for millions of parents with childcare costs, a problem made worse by the pandemic.
A model developed by the Center for American Progress estimates that the average annual cost of daycare for a toddler in the United States before COVID-19 was just over $ 9,000, but during the pandemic – it almost doubled to almost $ 18,000.
Experts said relief may not be in sight for families anytime soon.
“We believe the costs will remain high until these centers can operate again,” said Carrie Cronkey, Director of Marketing at Care.com.
This is especially a problem for low-income people, who experts say have had to resort to more drastic measures to find affordable child care for their children, sometimes including quitting work altogether and taking a huge hit. financial.
âWe’ve seen over 3 million women leave the workforce during the pandemic, and it’s not hard to draw that line between the lack of affordable child care and, you know, their ability. to work, âCronkey said.
So what is behind the soaring tuition fees? Experts said it was out of necessity.
âThere are a variety of factors at play there,â Cronkey said.
Daycares have increased spending because of COVID-19-related protections, like hygiene products, while also losing workers, forcing many to reduce class sizes, experts say.
Lawmakers are trying to help.
“I can’t tell you how many people have told me over the past year that child care is the only issue preventing their family from being stable,” said Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash .
As part of this year’s COVID-19 relief program, families receive up to $ 3,600 for each child under age 6 in their household and up to $ 3,000 for any other up to age 18 years old.
It also gives $ 39 billion to child care providers, and some of that must be used to help families in difficulty.
This is the help that experts say is the key to truly bringing America back to normal.
âIn order to truly fuel our economic growth, ownership is imperative. Cronkey said.
President Joe Biden is campaigning for the adoption of his US plan for families, which he says is a “generational investment” in human infrastructure.
Democrats hope to push the package with benefits to working families, including child care, through Congress using budget reconciliation.
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