How easy is it to find affordable daycare for single mothers in the US?
The short answer is not very. Most parents surveyed (72%) in the Cost of Care Survey say they spend 10% or more of their total household income on child care.
About 55% of families say they spend at least $10 000 a year on childcare which is not affordable for most single moms. In the U.S., childcare is more than the typical cost of college tuition, which is approximately $9000.
Childcare and daycare costs have risen significantly over the last 6 years. How are single moms supposed to afford daycare in addition to medical costs, food, clothes, and transport?
Why is daycare so expensive?
|They do not regulate daycare fees in the US. The article by Max Gulker in the American Institute for Economic Research paints quite a gloomy picture.
The average annual cost of childcare in Massachusetts is 65% of what an average single-parent family earns. The child-to-staff ratios differ significantly from state to state: for example, the proportion of child to staff in Maine, New York is 5:1 as opposed to 12:1 in Louisiana and Mississippi.
He poses whether childcare is a luxury item or whether they should subsidize it.
It seems that red tape and government regulations make the problem worse, leading to artificially high prices in childcare.
often increase daycare costs because daycare centers spend a lot of money trying to be compliant. So the real question is: do all these regulations ultimately provide better daycare or inhibit quality care in that no one can afford it? Least of all, a single mom.
It seems that regulation increases costs and stifles innovation. It is also clear that the laws produce high-quality daycare in high-income areas
while reducing daycare providers in low-income neighborhoods.
The reason childcare is so expensive is less about the rent and administrative costs of the daycare center and more about the cost of labor. Labor costs (including salary, unemployment, payroll taxes, benefits, and training) consume about 60 to 70% of a daycare center’s budget.
So – should we all move to Mississippi?
There is no uniformity of rates for childcare across the different states. A single mom could pay $5000 in one state and $20 000 in another state for the same type of daycare. Massachusetts is between 3 to 4 times more expensive than Mississippi.
Not only is childcare expensive, but it is also challenging to find. Many articles refer to childcare as “deserts” in certain states.
So how do you find affordable daycare for your child when you are a single mom with a small or no income?
There are two major types of options:
- Family housing
- Daycare/child care facilities
Housing options for single mothers – Affordable and safe
Family childcare homes
These are 24-hour live-in centers for single moms and their children. Small groups of children are cared for by childcare service providers in a residential setting.
Check with your Child Care Resource and Referral Agency
to see if the family home you are considering for your child is licensed.
Also, see if the family childcare home participates in the Quality Rating and Improvement System.
Affordable daycare assistance options for single mothers
These care centers are in commercial typesetting, often with many kids and lots of caregivers. They can be profit or non-profit and do not all require a license. We have some tips on finding a child care provider
Some babysitting apps help you locate babysitters at affordable prices.
Some of the best babysitting apps are:
Sometimes you can find the best and most affordable child care assistance for daycare in our own families. If you have a parent or relative with some free time or lives with you, this might be an excellent option for affordable childcare for a single mother.
funded by the state also provide free or subsidized daycare to low-income single moms. You can find out more at your local CCR&R.
There are 400 CCR&R offices in the U.S. All you need is your zip code to search for your state’s subsidies.
Emotional support for moms
is a quick and easy way to get affordable emotional support. Besides no travel to and from the therapist, the rates are way better than brick-and-mortar therapy practices. It is easy to sign up and do a quick assessment to match you to the right therapist.
Affordable daycare providers for single mothers
Head Start and Early Head Start:
provide healthcare, education, and nutrition to low-income children.
Chafee Foster Care Independent Living
CFCIP helps foster children transition into adulthood.
Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
provides meals to children, the elderly, and disabled people in daycares.
The Child and Dependent Care Credit program
is a tax credit that single moms may qualify to receive on their federal income tax return.
The Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS)
Your child will be cared for on campus while you are pursuing an education at a college or university.
Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)
Provides, among others, child or adult daycare centers, adoption centers, independent living counseling, and job training.
Special Improvement Project Grant
provides funds to single parents for child support.
Child Tax Credit program
The Child Tax Credit allows you to receive up to $1,000 based on your income.
Other assistance programs for single moms:
- SNAP Special Nutrition Assistance Program
- TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
is a government assistance program for low-income single parents funded jointly by states and the federal government.
Kids’ health insurance
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
provides single parents with low-cost or free health insurance. If your income is too high for Medicaid assistance, CHIP may be the way to go.
In conclusion, there seems to be more assistance for food and medical aid than childcare. Daycare assistance for single moms is lagging. The government and state provide many forms of service but finding specific help around affordable daycare is not accessible.