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Report: Cost of child care rises, costs more than annual rent

Rising cost of child care in Indiana

(WISH) — Child care for two kids costs about $23,157; that’s twice the cost of rent in Indiana, according to a report from Child Care Aware of America.

Madeline Mckasson is a single mom to 7-year-old Nolan. “Parenting in itself is hard, but adding that extra layer to things can be very stressful.”

Mckasson says she’s been feeling the pinch of child care costs for years, even pivoting her career from a hairdresser to working in a law office to make things work.

The average cost for center-based child care in the state is $13,736 for an infant and $11,965 for a toddler. Compare that to the average yearly rent in the state, which is $11,604.

“With my son, it felt like I was paying a college tuition every year to be able to go to work every day,” Mckasson said.

Riley Zipper, an education workforce analyst at Indiana University, said, “Since the pandemic, we lost a lot of employment in the child care sector. In Indiana, we lost 20% of employment in child care.”

Unlike other industries, Zipper also says, child day cares can’t rely on automation or artificial intelligence to take care of kids. “You can’t really automate much of the operation of a child center. It’s really a human-centric industry and requires personal care and attention that only humans can provide.”

Still there’s hope. Zipper says new legislation is set to begin in July. “One of those changes is providing subsidies on child development vouchers to residents making 85% or less of the medium annual income.”

Mckassion says she was paying $13,000 a year when her child was in day care. With rising costs, she said, “It’s very sad. It makes you feel like you have to be very wealthy to have children these days.”