Affordability - Be able to pay for without hardship
Is child care affordable in Calaveras County? Along with the pleasures of our rural life style come the realities of fewer jobs, lower wages and varied work schedules. While we all want the best child care for our children, all too often, cost becomes a major factor in the final decision.
Parents seeking child care are most often young adults in their early income producing years. Child care costs for a preschooler of a parent that is a minimum wage earner would consume 50% of that parent’s[vi]. In 2008, the cost of child care in the County ranged from a low of about $95 per week for school age care to a high of $213 per week for infant care.[vii]
On the other hand, child care providers earn some of the lowest wages in our community, pay high insurance and facilities rent and wade daily through ever-changing rules and regulations. In May 2012, the average annual income of a child care worker in California was $24,460 or $11.76 per hour.[viii] The 2002 Early Care and Education Providers Compensation Report indicated the average child care worker in the county made $9.43 per hour.[ix]
Staffing challenges ranging from high turnover to education/training requirements are some of the biggest issues facing child care operators. Whether from the public or private sector, quality child care can be expensive. The ratio of children per adult must be limited, because young children need close adult attention and supervision in order to thrive. There is seldom enough money to permit adequate compensation of child care staff, even with families pay high fees.
There are a variety of subsidized child care programs available to income eligible families in Calaveras County. Eligibility is based upon family size and income, and some programs have additional eligibility criteria. For more information on the subsidized programs available in Calaveras County contact the local child care resource and referral program: The Resource Connection at (209) 754-1075.
vi California Child Care Resource and Referral Network. 2013. Child Care Portfolio. http://my.rrnetwork.org/site/DocServer/Calaveras.pdf?docID=7321
vii Brion and Associates. 2008. Calaveras Child Care Council Child Care Needs Assessment 2008-2013. Pg. 30 (see publications section)
viii United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2012. Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012. 39-9011 Childcare Workers. Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes399011.htm
ix Social Entrepreneurs, Inc. 2002. Early Care and Education Providers Report