Rising cost of inflation, rising even higher for parents
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The child care industry is struggling to stay afloat and passing on the soaring costs to parents. Working parents are now having to make tough decisions about who will watch their children.
Liesa Smith has a four year old son named Monroe. She has a full time job and works overtime. But Liesa said the amount it costs to send her son to a daycare these days, is just too much – no matter how much extra hours she gets at work. So, she’s had to make some changes.
“It’s easier to find someone like your loved one, like family members, to watch him for a set price cause you might want to work overtime and just stuff like that, just to make more,” said Smith.
Like a lot of other parents, Smith said child care is too expensive. she said it’s becoming harder and harder to send her toddler to a child care center because it costs so much. So she’s been asking her family to babysit because that way, she can save a few dollars.
“It is cheaper because if I went for child care I would have to pay $200 for 40 hours,” said Smith.
Elisabeth Tobia runs the Educational Child Care Center in Lansing. Tobia said her center hasn’t raised tuition prices -- but that a lot of families are feeling the strain from the high cost of everything else. She said parents at her center are making changes based on that alone.
“We’ve had a few families who have cut back from full time to part time care. I don’t know for certain but I think in some cases it’s been a matter of trying to cut their costs. And so it’s definitely concerning -- it’s an impact on all the families,” said Tobia.
Tobia said that the biggest, most concerning issue for her center, and other child care centers across the U.S, is staffing. And providing high-quality care comes with wage increases for employees. So while the center is paying more for food, gas, and child care products -- they also have to use more funds to pay workers, which means they’re struggling too.
As for Smith, she’s sticking with the babysitter option -- which she said costs a lot less than sending her son to a child care center.
“I’m a single parent so it gets hard sometimes trying to be able to provide for him to be able to go somewhere, to pay somebody, while I’m at work,” said Smith.
Public Policy Associates found that 75% of Michigan’s children live in areas with limited access to high-quality child care, and that one year after the pandemic, most providers reported fewer children in their care -- about 84% of child care centers have reported a drop since then.
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