If you have young children, one of your largest monthly expenses may be child care. In 2013, the average cost of sending one child to full-time child care was $10,000. This cost can force many parents to choose between working or staying home with their children and can sometimes prevent children from getting adequate, safe child care. However, there are several ways that you can lower your out-of-pocket cost of child care if you struggle to find affordable care in your area.
Local, state, and national government agencies have allocated funds to help low-income families cover the cost of child care. Although state and national funding has been deemed inadequate to meet the full needs of all working parents, there are current proposals to expand the amount of child care assistance over the next several years. For this reason, it is important to keep checking with your local financial assistance offices each year to see if you are eligible for financial assistance. Additionally, many local funds are allocated to child care, so if there is not state or national funding available in your area, you should still check with city and county resources.
While you are narrowing down your options for child care, one of your criteria should be whether or not each center offers scholarships that you are eligible for. Many centers offer low-income discounts or discounts for siblings, which can greatly reduce your cost. Even if there are no scholarships advertised, you should ask the administrator if there are any available, as they may know alumni who are offering private scholarships or they may be willing to work with you to make child care affordable for your family.
Many faith-based scholarships require that you are either a member of their organization or your child is attended their child care center for your family to be eligible for assistance. However, some faith-based scholarships are available to any local community members. If you have friends or family who attend a local faith-based institution, you should ask for an introduction to their leader to discuss potential scholarships. Alternatively, you can call their office or attend a community event to ask if any child care assistance is available.
Crowdfunding started as a way to get small businesses up and running, but it has transformed into a way that many people fund emergencies, health expenses, and educational expenses. Setting up a crowdfunding campaign to pay for child care can be an easy way to allow friends and family members to contribute to this expense.
When you set up a crowdfunding campaign to pay for child care, it is important to choose a platform that allows personal campaigns as opposed to only business campaigns. GoFundMe and Tilt are generally good options for personal campaigns.
Alternative Child Care Options
Another way to reduce your child care costs is to look into alternative options for child care. For example, you may have a grandparent or another relative watch your child part-time so you only have to pay for part-time formal child care. Additionally, you may look into co-op groups that reduce the amount you pay in exchange for weekly or monthly assistance in the classroom. If your neighborhood does not have a co-op parenting group, you might think about starting one with other interested parents.
Paying for quality child care can be difficult for many families. However, it is important that you do not sacrifice quality of care for a lower cost. Instead, look for more information on how you can find assistance to pay for quality child care.