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With costs high, families look to Biden's plan to make child care affordable

child care
Posted at 9:18 PM, Mar 07, 2022

Julie Groce knew raising a child would add to her expenses, but it's different than what she was prepared for.

“I thought diapers were going to cost more, than the child care. Like I thought that was going to be the stressor. That's not, that wasn't the stressor. It's the child care,” said Groce.

Groce and her husband pay about $1,100/month for child care, which is actually a little bit less than the average cost in the U.S.

“Many states the monthly cost of care exceeds the average mortgage payment that a family has and the annual cost is higher than in state tuition for college for many families in many states,” said Stephanie Schmidt.

Schimdt works for the Center for Law and Poverty which has been advocating for a significant increase in government funding to support child care. A cause the president took up during the State of the Union Address.

The president's plan would cap child care costs at 7% of a house holds income if they make up to 2.5 times the states median income and households making 75% or less of the median income would pay nothing.

For example, let's look at Ohio where the median household income is close to 56,000. So an Ohio family making $70,000 per year would have their child care costs capped at $4,900 per year. That's 7% of their annual income. Families making $42,000 or less would pay nothing, in this example.

“What that would mean for families is just that there would be so many more options and so much more opportunity for them. There would be so much less stress for them and childcare being affordable and accessible would mean that they would have more money in their pockets which would provide them with more economic stability,” said Schmidt.

“We made the difficult decision to sell our home and we moved with in-laws. I was trying to get child care so that I can go back to work and contribute to the family household but I didn’t realize that the wait lists were so long here,” said Lily Marquez a mother of two in San Francisco.

Marquez say she and her partner looked for childcare after the birth of their second child but were seeing prices of around $3,000/month. So Lily left the workforce to stay home with the kids and they sold their home to move into her in-laws.

When she was able to sign up for a public program, they were on the waitlist for more than three years.

The plan to cap costs is a part of the Build Back Better bill, which was passed in the House but stalled in the Senate. The hope is the renewed attention could push it through or it could pass as a stand alone bill.