Reports Finds Child Care More Expensive than Rent

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Child care costs are rising faster than inflation for Cook County families, according to a recent report by Illinois Action for Children.

Their 2008 report, subtitled “Elements of Child Care Supply and Demand,” finds working families who need child care struggling with high costs, limited availability and long waiting lists.

The report also provides an analysis of “the costs of different types of child care, the availability of child care for different areas and schedules, parent choices and the role of the pubic sector.”

On average, “Child care costs the average Cook County family as much as 35 percent of their income, and is more expensive than rent or tuition to state colleges and universities. The costs for center are also rising rapidly. For a two year old in Chicago, the cost had risen 40 percent since 2000, while the cost of before and after school care in homes has risen 59 percent.

42 percent of Illinois parents work evenings, weekends or variable hours, but only 2 percent of child care centers and 8 percent of licensed child care homes offer weekend care, similar shortfalls exist for evening care.

In north and northwest Chicago, there are 77 infants for every available child care center slot.

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