Child care can be a costly affair. While costs vary throughout the country, it’s a good bet that you’ll be spending hundreds each month. This is a major factor when working moms decide to head back to the workplace. Read on to get tips and start searching for a provider in the local DexKnows Child Care Centers listings.
Babycenter.com, using figures from the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, reports that the average annual cost of center-based day care in the U.S. is $11,666 per year. That’s $972 per month.
You want the best care and the best price. That doesn’t mean automatically going with the one with the lowest price. While checking on the quality at child care centers, also make a checklist of what each offers in the way of services and what they want you to pay. Check out the Child Care Aware organization for help in budgeting child care.
Families who paid someone to take care of their child may be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit on their federal income tax return. The IRS states that the care must have been provided for a dependent child 12 or younger. You also must have sought the care so that you — and if you are married filing jointly, your spouse — can either work or look for work.
The credit may be as much as 35 percent of your qualifying expenses. The depending factor is your adjusted gross income. To find out more, check out the IRS website.
Available state aid
Many states have financial aid available to help low-income families pay for child care. Child care centers may need to meet certain qualifications, including safety standards, in order to be accepted by the state’s program.
Local child care resource and referral organizations can help find assistance. The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies’ website can help you find your local referral organization. Links are also available at the website all-things-child-care.com.
Help from your employer
Employers may offer help, including on- or off-site child care. Some employers may help pay for child care services or offer other benefits, such as a flexible work schedule, that would help you rely less on child care.
Ask family members
Not all families will find a way to budget a child care center into their expenses. Another option, especially if relatives live nearby, is to ask for help. Relatives may be willing to be paid less than others, possibly even doing it for free or the cost of gas. It also gives them a chance to bond with your child.
Keep these tips in mind when searching for ways to afford child care. Don’t forget DexKnows Child Care when you search for a provider.