They now spend $12,000 a year on child care.
“It’s not like we’re bringing in $250,000,” she said. “It’s not a drop in the bucket for us… It did cause me to balk and rethink why I work… Being a working mom is a tension.”
Kanable said the reality is that many parents can’t afford to stay at home with their children anymore.
There are safety nets for some low-income parents. Indiana has set up a Child Care Development Fund that distributes vouchers for child care.
But in most cases, fewer area children are getting those vouchers than ever before. In 2011, 731 Howard County children received the vouchers, according to Indiana Youth Institute data. That’s down from 993 in 2008. Meanwhile, the childhood poverty rate in the county increased.
In Miami County, the number of children receiving vouchers went from 207 in 2008 to 153 in 2011.
In both counties, the number of children on a wait list for the vouchers each month increased substantially.
It nearly tripled in four years in Howard County. It went from 119 in 2008 to 308 in 2011. In Miami County, it went from 41 to 87, according to the data.
Families who don’t qualify, who are on a waiting list for vouchers or lose their eligibility can be put in a tight spot said Indiana Youth Institute CEO Bill Stanczykiewicz.
“It can be a cliff for that family,” he said. “There’s no simple solution for that.”
But people assume that because child care is so expensive, providers are rolling in money, staff at Child Care Solutions said.
Industry reports prove otherwise.
The 2010 Indiana Child Care Workforce Study found that child care workforce wages were markedly low despite increases since 2005. The median hourly wage for program directors was $14.77. And the median wage for teachers was $9 an hour.
Fifty-five percent of licensed child care center and registered ministry directors reported they didn’t help employees pay for health insurance.