Giving Compass’ Take:
• Ryan Bourne argues that states should deregulate child care in order to bring down costs for parents.
• How can funders help policymakers find an appropriate balance between cost and quality of childcare?
According to 2016 data compiled by Child Care Aware, the average annual cost of full-time center-based infant care varies dramatically nationwide, from $5,178 in Mississippi to $23,089 in the District of Columbia. That amounts to 27.2 percent of median single-parent family income in Mississippi and fully 89.1 percent in D.C. Such high burdens not only have a crippling financial impact on poorer families but can make it uneconomic to work and pay for child care at the same time.
Why is child care so expensive? One important answer, it turns out, is state-level regulation. Staff-child ratio rules and worker-qualification requirements, in particular, increase prices and reduce availability, particularly in poor areas. These are things state legislators can do something about.
Crucially, the negative consequence occur almost entirely in poorer areas, and they disproportionately impact single mothers, who are particularly sensitive to child-care costs in terms of deciding whether to work. Costly center-based care also appears to drive parents toward home-based daycare or using unlicensed relatives, alternatives that, in the absence of regulation, may result in much lower quality care.
Read the full article about child care by Ryan Bourne at Governing Magazine.
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