The Cost of Child Care

Child care cost can vary widely, depending on the location, the hours needed, the age and individual needs of the child and many other factors. Please contact the child care programs you are interested in to gather more information regarding cost. Each program’s contact information is displayed on their Care About Childcare profile page.

Average monthly cost of licensed child care per county

Cost Considerations:

Staffing Staffing accounts for the largest portion of a child care program’s budget, even though child care providers rank among the lowest earners in the state.

Licensing regulations determine the staff-to- child ratios programs must meet. Infants and toddlers need a lot of individual care and attention, therefore additional staff are needed and care costs are higher for younger age groups.

Quality The cost of child care includes the cost of providing a quality program. Parent tuition is used to support quality standards such as:

  • Hiring well-educated staff and supporting on-going professional development opportunities.
  • Retaining staff through compensation and benefits in order to reduce staff turn-over, providing a continuity of care for the children.
  • Hiring additional staff in order to lower staff to child ratios.
  • Creating a rich learning environment with a variety of age-appropriate materials and space.

Facility Costs Licensed child care programs must meet square foot/child space requirements and other health and safety standards set by state licensing regulations. Utilities and insurance are additional costs that programs incur.

Facilities that are in good repair, have lots of natural light and are well-ventilated provide children with a safer, healthier environment.

Supplies The cost of food, supplies for care/cleaning/sanitation and play/learning materials also contribute to the overall cost that families pay for care.

Good quality programs provide nutritious meals/snacks, take extra steps to make sure the facility is clean and work to provide children with an enriching play and learning environment.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may also be available to families that may not be able to afford quality child care.

Click on any of the links below to learn more about these programs.

Other tips

Sliding fee scales and multi-child discounts – some child care programs offer adjustable rates dependent upon the income of the family and/or the number of children enrolled at the program. Check with the child care program to see what is available.

Paying with a dependent care flexible spending account – a flexible spending account (FSA) through your employer allows you to pay for medical and childcare expenses using pre-tax dollars, saving money by reducing your tax liability. Check with your employers to see if you have access to a FSA.