DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado has some of the most expensive child care in the country, according to a report just released.

Colorado ranked fourth on a list of the least-affordable states for child care for an infant. When it comes to child care for 4 year olds, the state ranks 9th least-affordable.

The report also notes that in 36 states the average annual cost of child care was higher than a year’s tuition at a four year public college.

New York was the least affordable state for child care. Louisiana was the most affordable.

Comments (3)
  1. dmaverick says:

    So what are the numbers / averages?

  2. T says:

    We pay $1220 a month for three-day-a-week child care for a toddler. It was worse when he was an infant.

    It’s insane madness.

  3. Heather W. says:

    I recently was involved in a program in Arapahoe County called the Family Leadership Training Institute, it is run through the Arapahoe County Early Childhood Council. In this class we have to come up with a community project and mine was about this exact topic. I wrote a letter to the various legislators in the state government and I would like to share it with you as well because I think that this is such an important issue and one that I have had to deal with for the last 11 years! One that many many families both single parent and dual parent households alike have to deal with! The letter is going to make this comment long but I appreciate you taking the time to read it and maybe you could do another more in depth story about why this is such an issue.

    To Whom it May Concern,

    There are currently over 90,000 people in the state of Colorado who are receiving government assistance through state funded programs and almost 50% of the single mothers in this state are currently below the poverty level. I am certain that you are well aware of these figures and the issues that are facing many of the families in our great state right now. However, I wanted to point out a fact that seems to have somehow fallen to the way side in all of the state and local governments attempts to correct these situations. It is something that I call “The Child Care Gap-Trap”.

    As a single mother of 3 children I have struggled for years to become a self-sufficient, self-sustaining parent for my family. I have worked all my life and have never encountered anything as difficult as getting OFF of government assistance. When suddenly met with the need to pay for childcare I was humiliated by the fact that I even needed to apply for assistance in the first place, I felt like a failure because I could not provide for my family on my own. My assistance began with food stamps, cash and child care subsidy so that I could provide for the care of my children.

    When I got a better job, I quickly realized the trap that I had fallen into was not one that I was going to get out of easily. As I began earning more money I no longer needed help with cash assistance or food, but I did still need help with child care. The monthly cost of putting my children into daycare was more expensive than my rent! However, once I exceeded the allowable income limit (even by a dollar), I lost my child care assistance. Financially I was nowhere near being able to afford the cost of child care on my own. My options were to either give up my job or take a pay decrease. Either path ultimately led to needing more assistance!

    I remained in the Child Care Gap-Trap for eight years until I could be completely self-sufficient and no longer need government assistance. However, the only way that I was able to do that was by becoming self-employed and working from home, thereby eliminating my need for child care. If I was still an in office employee I would STILL need child care assistance. The gap is almost $10,000 annually between the child care assistance program income cap and the salary I would need to earn to afford child care. That is with a household budget that barely covers the essentials and leaves no room for emergencies or even clothing for my children. I have recently heard that the child care income caps are set to drop again which will make it even harder for families to work and provide for their families on their own.

    The current assistance programs are not set up to promote self-sufficiency, they are set up in a way that will almost certainly ensure failure. I am certain that the state would love for the individuals receiving assistance to be able to get out and STAY out of these programs, but there is nothing in place currently that is working to make this a reality. Currently these programs require individuals to job search, participate in job training and also spend a set amount of hours doing volunteer work in order to receive assistance. But what are they supposed to do when they do finally find work and can’t afford the child care they need to keep those jobs? Single parents need quality and affordable child care if they are ever to be able to provide for their families.

    I appreciate the time you have taken to read this letter and respectfully request that Income caps are raised to reflect the fair market value of quality licensed child care. Lowering them will only create a greater need for government assistance. I hope these types of changes will become an important part of the 2012 policy agenda and I would be interested in participating in the change initiative on any level. Effective programs promote self-sufficiency and help to improve our state’s economy will ultimately reduce the number of individuals needing assistance. My experience illustrates how the structure of these programs, particularly those related to child care; create a hole for parents when the solution we are seeking is a bridge.

    Respectfully Yours,
    Heather Wells
    Owner, Virtual Administrative Services

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