Child care is among the largest household expenses for families with young children across the country. According to a new study from Care.com, one-third of American families spend 20% of their household income on child care, leaving some families feeling financial strain.
Care.com’s Cost of Care Survey also found that 67% of new parents were surprised by how much child care costs, while 52% of families thought they were already spending too much. Despite the rising cost, a surprising 32% of families said they were willing to go into debt just to pay for – representing a 25% increase over the last year.
Access to affordable, reliable, high-quality early learning and care is critically important for the economic stability and prosperity of working families and the nation. The availability of quality child care plays a crucial role in helping parents both obtain and retain employment, plan a family, as well keep their family financially afloat.
Members of Congress have the opportunity to leverage tax reform to improve access to high-quality early learning and child care for working families in every state across the nation. The First Five Years Fund’s 2017 national study found that as efforts on tax reform continue to heat up, voters support proposals that help parents better afford quality child care. Specifically, 81% of the electorate—including 74% of Trump voters—support providing a child care tax credit to help parents better afford quality child care and early education programs, with low- and middle-income parents who need more help getting a larger credit. And 70% say we should increase the amount of the existing child and dependent care tax credit from $3,000 to $9,000 for one child to better reflect today’s child care costs. That includes 60% of Trump voters. Additionally, 85% of voters say there should be increased funding for child care that directly supports greater access to quality programs for low- and middle-income children while their parents work or attend school.
While tax reform is one tool for improving access to high-quality early childhood education, we must continue investing in high-quality, evidence-based federal programs to support children’s healthy development and school readiness. FFYF looks forward to continuing to work with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to accomplish this goal.
Read the full results of the Care.com Cost of Care survey here.
Learn more about FFYF’s 2017 national poll here.