With Child Care Fees Rising, Some Local Providers Are Trying To Help | News
MADISON (WKOW) – Child care can be expensive for both providers and parents, and the costs have only increased over time. Some Madison providers are trying to provide options for families who may not be able to afford many child care facilities.
According to a survey of 2,000 parents by the financial magazine The Penny Hoarder, parents spend an average of 25% of their income on childcare. This is up from 15% in 2018.
“It’s hard to find quality child care spaces,” said Abbi Kruse, executive director of Madison daycare “The Playing Field”. “But I still think I put your child first.”
Kruse said most families should first see if they qualify for child care grants like Wisconsin Shares, which provide families with payments for a portion of their child care costs if they are working. .
Kruse says another option for families living in Madison is the City of Madison Accreditation Program which offers more financial support.
Beyond that, programs such as the Kruse organization intervene. The Playing Field seeks to “level the playing field” by providing equal opportunities and assistance to children from all walks of life.
At their location on the west side, the children fall into three categories.
“A third of our families pay full school fees, a third of our families receive some kind of scholarship assistance and a third are funded by an Early Headstart grant that prioritizes children affected by homelessness.” , Kruse said.
The location on the east side of the Playing Field caters exclusively to families affected by homelessness.
Madison’s Red Caboose is another provider that offers financial options to struggling families.
Jason Anderson, executive director of the provider, said they offer child care on a sliding scale that matches the financial needs of each family.
âThe idea is to really help families who may be earning too much to get other sources of funding like Wisconsin Shares, but for whom child care is still a big expense,â Anderson said. “So that’s another way to help these families.”
Anderson and Kruse both said it was a difficult issue to resolve. The two said they felt there was often a misunderstanding between families and providers that child care was a for-profit business.
“There’s this idea that parents pay so much, so therefore there must be a lot of profit in this business, right?” Kruse said. “But the truth is, the overhead costs are really high.”
Kruse says the prices of food, school supplies and other materials have skyrocketed in recent times.
Other suppliers have said they have had to increase their prices due to inflation and wage increases.
Kruse says that ultimately leaders need to pay more attention to child care.
âI’ve always said that if we really understood what goes on in the brain in the first five years, we would have our highest paid, highest educated teachers from zero to five,â Kruse said. “We wouldn’t be upside down like we are now.”