The cost of child care is adding up for families in Florida. According to a new Child Care Aware of America (CCAA) report, the state's average cost for an infant in full-time center-based care is $8,299.
The amount is 33 percent higher than $6,232, the average year's tuition and fees at a four-year public college in the state.
Single Parent Molly Burchett says she's feeling the impact.
"It's not cheap. When I looked at daycare, it's not cheap. My job is going to have to make money, enough money for it to make sense," Burchett said of choosing care for her son.
Alisandra McGuiness is director of Carlton Academy, a private preschool in Tampa. She says parents should visit more than one daycare and make sure the centers are licensed, safe and clean.
"If you walk through and there is more of a persistent smell, or if you walk through and see dirt caked in the corners, maybe that's not the place for you or your child," McGuiness says. "You walk in and it feels clean, it feels comfortable maybe that's a good option for your child."
These are issues some parents say they may never have to address.
"My family has been able to step in a lot and help on weekends. When his husband's parents are off, they step in and help," said Parent Jessica Willis. "We do have to work weekends and holidays."
For some families, the cost of child center-based care is an on-going challenge.
"It is astronomical, I think," said Jane Keller, a grandparent. "I don't know how families afford it, especially when they have more than one child to put into daycare."
Hillsborough County Childcare Licensing Program: www.hillsboroughcounty.org/childcarelicensing
phone number: 272-6487
Provider search website
Choosing quality childcare:
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