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Cost of childcare is a barrier for some Iowa parents: 'Is it really worth having a job?'

Posted at 6:27 PM, Oct 04, 2023

GLENWOOD, Iowa (KMTV) — Last week we looked into the need for more childcare providers in southwest Iowa communities and the people who are finding solutions. Another challenge for families is the cost.

Jaime Apperson and her husband Eric usually have a house full of kids and grandkids. Their youngest, who was adopted through foster care, qualified for state-funded childcare but the registered provider they hired first didn't work out.

"So, we ultimately had to find an in-home provider that we pay out of pocket for," Apperson said, "because there just aren't registered facilities around.”

For Mills County, the $150 they pay per week for one child is a bargain, she says.

"I mean, you hear that and people are like, 'How do you do that?' If we were to take her anywhere else it would easily be $225 a week."

The average weekly cost of care for an infant at a registered child development home is about $150 a week in Iowa, according to data collected by Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral (CCRR). For a licensed center or preschool it costs about $214 a month on average.

That means parents could pay as much as $11,000 a year for childcare for one child. Jaime's oldest daughter has kids and isn't always sure it's worth working outside the home.

"What she makes pays for the gas to go to work and pays for daycare. So, is it really worth having a job?" asked Apperson.

Shirley Urich, a community development specialist with Child Care Resource and Referral, says there are programs in Iowa to help parents with low-income pay for childcare. She also says families have to make the decision that works for them even if that means one parent leaving the workforce.

“I'm passionate about what I do, and it doesn't make me a bad person because I'm not staying home with my children," Urich said, "and it doesn't make that person a bad person because they're staying home with their children. You have to do what's right for your family."

Families looking for childcare options can message CCRR by messaging IACHILDCARE to 59925 or visit its website: Iowaccrr.org

Cost of childcare is a barrier for some Iowa parents

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