Affordable Child Care
Child care is expensive. The average cost of care for children under age six is $10,266, more than twenty percent more than the cost of tuition at a public college. The Child Care Assistance Program helps lower-income working families ensure that their children receive an early education in a safe environment.
Families enrolled in the program lose their child care subsidy if they earn a penny over the income limit due to a raise or overtime, yet often do not have sufficient income to pay the full cost of care.
Sensible policy changes would allow enrolled families to pay more but still qualify for child care subsidies until earnings reach a higher level.
The Child Care Assistance Program helps 7,800 children from low-income working families afford the high cost of child care. To qualify, a parent must be working at least 20 hours a week and earn less than 180 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($34,362 for a family of three) per year. Parents contribute to the cost of care based on their income. For example, a family of three with earnings near the top of the income limit pays $275 per month for care.
Families should be able to accept a small raise or work overtime in order to increase their earnings and keep their child care assistance until they are better able to afford the full cost of care. If a family near the income limit gets a raise and loses their subsidy, they could be required to pay five times what they were paying with a subsidy, as the cost of child care in the same setting would increase from $275 per month to $1,317 per month.