Low pay is the leading cause for the child care shortage in America today that has sent some parents home from work and stretched family budgets to the brink.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that as of 2021, the child care provider annual wage was a mean average of $27,680 with an average hourly wage of $13.31.

Many people in the child care profession have shared the internal issues that come from lack of funding they receive. With the pressures of creating a successful course of education on such a limited budget, some schools are decreasing the number of actual school days, leaving Friday as a professional development day for teachers. The incentive is to increase employment applications with hopes that an emphasis on career development for teachers entices more people into the child care field.

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How are families affording child care?

According to The New York Times, working parents from all income levels are struggling with finding affordable care for their children. Elizabeth Sperber, an assistant professor who lives in Denver, told The Times that she and her husband, a high school teacher, had joined eight child care waiting lists before getting denied from all of them. Their desperation in needing care for their 1-year-old son led them to search the competitive market for nannies. They now share a nanny with another family; the nanny makes an hourly rate of $32 an hour, causing them to spend 23% of their pretax household income for the care of their single child.

On the expense of her child care, Sperber remarked, “Realizing how expensive everything is, and then the instability of it, the cost, material and psychological?” she asked. “It really makes you question whether expanding your family is the right thing to do.”

An article in Today reported that 63% of parents said that child care has become the most expensive it has ever been.

Lynette M. Fraga, CEO of Child Care Aware, stated, “Parents continue to face the challenge of finding and affording high-quality child care,” adding “robust, long-term public support is needed to make child care affordable for families.”

According to a report done by Child Care Aware, families found that the expenses of child care were higher than their housing or health insurance.