Affordable childcare in the US

Griffin Ell / Art Director

Childcare can be a very expensive necessity for many parents and guardians across the country. Recently, the issue of affordable childcare on Keene State’s campus was discussed at a panel at the Child Development Center (CDC). The CDC provides care for children of KSC employees and students as well as children from the broader community. 

According to a report from Child Care Aware of America, the average annual cost of childcare in the nation is about $9,000 to $9,600. This daily childcare, despite the cost, is not an option for many families with parents who work full-time jobs and don’t have other family to look after their children. 

The Equinox believes that childcare is much more expensive than it should be. While no one wants to pay higher taxes, we believe that some of the taxes we pay should go toward helping people pay for childcare. 

However, we also believe that some of the responsibility to pay for childcare should fall on the parents. It seems like sometimes parents don’t always take into account how expensive childcare is before they have children. Additionally, childcare is just the beginning of expenses. The cost will only continue to go up as parents have to pay for more food, more expensive clothing, college and all other expenses in between as the child ages. 

A concerning fact about the cost for childcare is that the people who work at these organizations are some of the lowest paid workers in our country. This leaves many people questioning where the large costs to send children to these facilities go to, considering the fact that many of these facilities aren’t particularly impressive either. 

Another aspect to this is the guilt that many parents face to get their children out into the world meeting other children as soon as possible. If the parents don’t do this before kindergarten, they are often seen as depriving their child of the chance to develop socially from a young age. This is also concerning because it may cause parents to try to do these types of programs when they cannot actually afford the costs. 

Our nation’s necessity for childcare comes down to the cultural expectations of women. In America, women will have children and then are expected to almost immediately go back to work. In other countries, women are able to take years off of work to raise their children. It becomes a vicious cycle of parents having to work to pay bills, therefore not being able to watch their children, which leads to parents having to work to pay for expensive childcare costs. 

The Equinox thinks that if the option is there then parents should not be afraid to ask relatives and family members for help babysitting. This is certainly not an option for everybody, however, so we feel there needs to be a better way to provide and pay for childcare than the current system we have today.