The rising cost of child care in California and nationwide is forcing families to make difficult decisions with their household budgets. According to a newly released report from the U.S. Department of Labor, families in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties are spending nearly a quarter of their income on child care. Child Care Resource Center is leveraging government funding to help thousands of families pay for care.
“The economic failure of the child care system is showing up in our communities through declining birth rates, workforce shortages and hindered economic growth.”CCRC Strategic Engagement Officer and VP Donna Sneeringer
The DOL National Database of Childcare Prices report published in January found L.A. County families spend on average 24% of their income on child care, while families in San Bernardino County spend nearly 23% of their income on care. The study notes that the average cost of care for a family in L.A. County increased from $17,378 a year in 2018 to $19,355 a year in 2022. Similarly, in San Bernardino County those figures were $15,151/year in 2018 to $16,875/year in 2022. At the same time, poverty rates are 12.2% in L.A. County and 13.7% in San Bernardino County.
“It’s hard to believe that even with the high cost of care, child care providers are some of the lowest paid professionals in our workforce,” says CCRC President and CEO Dr. Michael Olenick. “Clearly, this is not a situation that can be solved by the free market. Change needs to happen at the legislative level so child care providers are paid a living wage and families can afford child care, which is essential to their ability to work.”
With the cost of child care surpassing that of in-state college tuition, families are left to cut costs from other necessary parts of their budget like groceries and rent.
“Lack of access to affordable child care hinders the ability of working families, especially working women, to fully participate in the workforce and build financial prosperity for their family,” says CCRC Strategic Engagement Officer and VP Donna Sneeringer. “The economic failure of the child care system is showing up in our communities through declining birth rates, workforce shortages and hindered economic growth.”
Many families don’t know that CCRC can help pay for child care. A family of four with a household income up to $7,900/month may qualify for child care assistance through the state’s Alternative Payments program. For context, the median family income in L.A. County is about $72,000 and in San Bernardino County, it’s about $66,500. That comes out to about $6,000/month and $5,500/month respectively.
The application is simple and takes most people less than five minutes to complete. Fill out the form here to learn if you qualify for child care assistance. Care is available full- and part-day, as well as overnights and weekends. Parents or caregivers who are working, looking for work, in school, and other needs can receive child care from a provider of their choice. This includes family members, trusted neighbors, and friends.