Apr 13, 2014
11:03 AM
Connecticut Today

Day Care Costs Connecticut Families More Than Public College Tuition

Day Care Costs Connecticut Families More Than Public College Tuition

STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images

In this file photo, then-President U.S.President Bill Clinton helps out Alexis Kennedy, age four, during his tour at the early Childhood Laboratory School at the Housatonic Community-Technical College.

It's shocking but not new; the cost of day care in many U.S. states exceeds the cost of public college tuition, and Connecticut is one of them.

According to a new story published online by The Washington Post, the cost for day care in Connecticut is $12,973 a year, while the cost for public college tuition is $9,630, a difference of $3,343. Child Care of America is the source of the information. (One of CCA's publications is Find Help Paying for Child Care.)

The skewed nature of cost ratio for higher education versus preschool, which is sometimes a version of baby-sitting, is disturbing enough to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, both Connecticut Democrats, that they've tried to address the issue through changes in law—twice, with the second push for a bill involving some Connecticut events late last year.

Murphy's office even producted a report entitled Sparing No Expense: A Look at Child Care in Connecticut.

The Child Care Flex Spending Act would allow families making less than $200,000 to set aside up to $10,000 per year to help pay for child care costs, and would be adjusted for inflation over time, a post on DeLauro's website explains.

"This would be a considerable help to families across the state," the site says, adding that, according to the report, the average cost of full-time child care in Connecticut is $11,377, which is nearly 17 percent of the state’s median household income. This varies by city, from a high of over $15,000 in Stamford to over $7,800 in New London. New Haven comes close to the Connecticut average at $11,281 per year for full-time child care.

Govtrack.us says the bill was referred to committee last November and has a "0% chance of being enacted."

The judgment seems on target given the bill's history, and trends on tax code overhaul, but that doesn't ease the burden on Connecticut families.

“We need to make sure our political, social, and economic policies reflect the working world of the 21st century and that they are meeting the real needs of today’s middle and working class families," DeLauro says on her website post. “That includes helping families gain access to quality, affordable child care."

“Quality child care in Connecticut costs money, and middle class family budgets are already stretched thin," Murphy says in the post. "Families shouldn't be forced to go bankrupt in order to care for their kids, and one of the best ways the government can help is to double the amount of pre-tax money families can put into flexible savings accounts.”

One Waterbury area mom's answer to the dilemma?

Not quite the decision to become a stay-at-home mom in response to the costs, a trend cited the Pew Research Center (a link from The Washington Post story.) Instead, this mom decided to go direct and a la carte, lining up a high school student for child-care shifts when the mom couldn't be home.

What the mom said the family gains in the situation (a bit hopefully it would seem): a vacation house on the water.

 

Day Care Costs Connecticut Families More Than Public College Tuition

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