Childcare costs on the rise
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) — Parents are seeing the cost of child care rise.
According to a recent study by loan tree, childcare costs are up more than 40% from pre-pandemic prices. Part of the increase can be attributed to teacher shortages and increased demand for childcare.
“It’s only going to go up from here and we’ve actually discussed changing prices every year,” said Risa Cline, school principal at the Sandbox Early Childhood Learning Center.
Their prices have never been higher. Right now it’s $1,100 a month for infants, $1,000 a month for toddlers, and $920 for three- and four-year-olds.
“The cost of childcare has increased a lot in recent years, but especially now with the demand and need for children attending, we have had to increase our tuition fees,” she said.
Their increase of around 5% is only a fraction of what some parents are seeing. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, child care is affordable if it costs no more than 7% of a household’s income. According to this rate, only 8.7% can afford child care in Arizona.
Another thing that is high is the demand for childcare. The sandbox and other child care centers have been forced to limit admission due to the pandemic and the associated teacher shortage.
“I feel like I’m firing five to ten parents a day who call us asking about custody of their children and I have to fire them. I refer them to other schools because I want them to be able to go to quality daycare,” Cline said.
New Pima County preschools help ease the cost of child care.
“Two big things: one, a child who has the preschool service and quality education services, it’s day and night. They are so successful. It also gives that parent the opportunity, with the financial assistance, to get into the economic realm, maybe get a job,” said Pima County Schools Superintendent Dustin Williams.
In the past month, school districts in Pima County opened three new preschools. Superintendent Williams says there have been discussions about adding more nursery schools.
“Those parents who have this high cost, this program really puts pima on the map as a driving force in education for children and for parents,” he said.
For parents who need child care but cannot afford it, the Arizona Department of Economic Security offers financial assistance to those who qualify.
This includes working low-income families, teen parents enrolled in high school or GED, homeless people, and people who cannot work due to physical or emotional conditions. You can find more information here.
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