While federal relief funding has provided critical support to stabilize the child care sector, child care remains unaffordable for many families. A recent Child Care Affordability Analysis from Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) determined that child care prices have outpaced inflation for the third consecutive year.
The average price of child care for families in Alaska is 11% of a married couple’s annual income and 32% of a single parent’s income. This amount is far above the recommended 7% or less benchmark set by the US Department of Health and Human Services. And while housing remains a top expense for many Alaskan families, the annual cost of center-based child care for two children is approaching the average annual cost of housing in Alaska. You can find additional data about the cost of Alaska’s child care system here.
Impact on Families
The cost of child care is forcing many families to make difficult decisions related to work and child care – decisions that impact children, parents, communities, businesses, and our state’s economy. When child care is unaffordable, children miss meaningful developmental opportunities, families experience lost income, businesses struggle to find workers, and the economy is negatively impacted.
What You Can Do
The high cost of child care is not a burden parents should bear alone. A combination of sustainable public investment and improved public policies can help address this crisis. thread continues to monitor federal funding opportunities related to child care and looks forward to reviewing the State of Alaska Child Care Program Office (CCPO) report regarding recommendations for affordable child care.
And remember – as we enter the final weeks of the election season – to consider voting for candidates that prioritize bipartisan policy solutions for children and families, including policies related to child care. Your voice matters!