Child Care: Expensive, Underfunded, Unavailable.
As expensive as college, more expensive than rent
Many parents are paying as much or at times even more than their mortgage or rent on child care, but they have no choice, as they need the care in order to work.
The average child care tuition paid by parents for a child under age 5 is $6240 per year, and the tuition for a child under age 2 is $8200 per year. This is comparable to public college tuition in Virginia
(Source: State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Virginia Department of Social Service).
And yet, at the time when brain development is at its highest, our public investment is at its lowest. For every dollar Virginia spends on a college student, only 5¢ is spent on a preschool child to support the fundamental early years.
The middle-class quandary
Low-income families are not the only ones in need of high-quality care. Middle-income families are in a difficult position because they do not qualify for public care, but they cannot afford high-quality private careâ€”nor can they afford to have a parent stay at home. A working, middle-class family with two young children will spend on average 29% of their income on child care.
Not enough child care exists to serve needs on the Peninsula
Today, over 70% of families are dual-income or headed by a single parent. Likewise, over 70% of child centers offering full-time care have waiting lists. Nearly 100 families are on the Newport News and Hampton Head Start waitlists, and 200 families on the Early Head Start waitlists.
Quality teachers = quality education
Early education experiences must be of high quality in order to achieve the most positive outcomes, and one of the biggest determiners of preschool quality is teacher quality. But child care workers and preschool teachers are often underpaid and are given little opportunity or incentive to advance their education. This has a very adverse effect on quality of care for children.
• Child care teachers earn only 75¢ more per hour than dishwashers
• About 70% of child care teachers report earning a salary below the federal poverty guidelines
• About 63% of child care teachers have no more than a high school diploma
• Highly qualified teachers and caregivers frequently take jobs in fields that offer better compensation.
If more money were invested in early childhood education, the field would attract—and retain—the kind of teachers our children need to succeed.
For every dollar Virginia spends on a college student, only 5¢ is spent on a preschool child