INDIANAPOLIS - A national study just released by Child Care Aware of America reveals child care costs have dropped in Indiana, bucking a national trend of rising child care expenses.
The report, titled "Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2013 Report" reveals that families are paying more for child care nationwide, and they are paying a significant part of their earnings for this care. In the last year, the cost of child care increased at up to eight times the rate of increases in family income.
The average annual child care center cost in Indiana for 2012 is $8,073 for an infant, $6,448 for a 4-year-old and $5,759 for a school-age child.
The last report, which contained 2011 figures, showed $9,880 for an infant, $7,975 for a 4-year-old and $5,167 for a school-age child.
The report shows Indiana is among the top 10 least affordable states when it comes to school-age children in child care.
Indiana ranked 35th least affordable for infants in a child care center and 32nd least affordable for 4-year-olds in child care.
"Child care is an increasingly difficult financial burden for working families to bear," said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., executive director of Child Care Aware of America. "Unlike all other areas of education investment, including higher education, families pay the majority of costs for early education. Too many families are finding it impossible to access and afford quality child care that doesn't jeopardize children's safety and healthy development."
The report also found child care fees for two children -- an infant and a 4-year-old -- in a child care center exceeded annual median rent payments in every state.
Also, the report showed in every region of the United States, average child care fees for an infant in a child care center were higher than the average amount that families spent on food.
The report uses 2012 data from a survey of Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) State Networks and local agencies to show the average fees families are charged for child care centers and family child care homes in every state and the District of Columbia.
Cost data is provided for infants, 4-year-old children and school-age children. This year, the report also examines why child care is so expensive, why it's more expensive in some states than others and families' options for paying for child care.
"We call on federal and state policymakers to make child care a top priority when working on budgets, particularly in light of looming January cuts," said Fraga. "We also call on parents, concerned citizens and early care and education professionals to urge federal and state legislators to address the high cost of child care."
Click here to view the report: http://bit.ly/1ecvDiP