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October 23 2018

An Article on the High Cost of Child-Care Misses the Elephant in the Playroom: Unnecessary Regulations

by Charlotte Hays

MarketWatch has a story out on the crisis in child-care cost that features this remarkable fact:

In every region, however, child-care costs are roughly double the price of a year’s tuition to an in-state public university. Child-care costs for one infant and a four-year are cheapest in the South ($17,193 on average) and most expensive in the Northeast ($24,815).

Think of that: you could almost send two young people to the state university for what it costs to provide a year of child care for working parents.

As might be expected, affording child-care is even harder on single parents: child-care can gobble up 37 percent of the household budget for these parents, who are generally the sole financial support of the family.

Interestingly, the report explores the reasons for the high cost of child-care (rent/mortgage, building and liability insurance, security, staff training, toys and other materials, and utilities) but leaves out one of the biggest cost drivers: unnecessary government regulations.

We want children to be safe and well-cared for at daycare, but unnecessary regulations are a factor in driving up costs and making it difficult for families. I wish the MarketWatch reporter had read IWF's Policy Focus on regulations and child-care costs.

Co-op preschools that rely in part of parental volunteering are another way to provide less expensive day care but some states want to set up stringent training requirements for parents that would make volunteering impossible. Julie Gunlock and Kristen Shapiro illuminate this issue in an IWF podcast

In addition to eliminating unnecessary regulations, tax credits for parents would help with the financial burden of child care. Instead of tax credits, the MarketWatch article highlighted subsidy programs, which would likely lead to further increases in the cost of day care.

Children are precious and day care is always going to be a significant expenditure, but if we pay more attention to regulations we can reduce the cost and give parents more choices.

 

 



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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