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What is Child Care Worth to YOU?
By: Donna Worthy

 Child care is one of today’s biggest expenses and worries. Parents are always concerned with how much the cost of child care is as well as how difficult it is to find a sitter that is trustworthy and understanding to the different needs and request of each family. I decided to go in search of child care and do a little research. myself. When I began my venture I wrote down a list of things that I would find to be fair to both providers and parents. The top thing on the list for the client was good care for the child. The top thing on the list for the provider was cost efficiency.


 

 I called around to six in home child care programs and six daycare facilities that were independently owned. In addition to that I called two different daycare “chains”. The price differences were fairly alarming. All of the prices I looked at were for full time care. If we get into part time care the cost goes up per hour or per day by a substantial amount. For in home care the cost ranged from one hundred and twenty dollars to two hundred and ten dollars. In most cases the lower prices did not include any sort of food or other amenities for the children and they were generally operated by an elderly lady or an unlicensed individual. Not to imply that the care given by them was any less loving than those with a license or younger. Please remember I am only stating the facts! When I began to reach the range of around one hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy I found what I thought to be most efficient as well as the best care for the children. It came from providers that were licensed through the state of Maryland (with the exception of two) and were mothers of young children themselves! The majority of them were open for a twelve hour day from around 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. They provided breakfast lunch and snacks for the children and they had sufficient room, toys and supplies for children of different ages. There was one center, that was individually owned, Happy Faces Day Care that I looked at that I found seemed to be nice in some senses but a little overwhelming in others. It appeared to be a center that was fully equipped to care for children and the staff were all very friendly and seemed knowledgeable in child care. The only thing that was lacking was a feeling of personal relationship with the provider.


 

 Then there were the over priced and not so impressive. I’m not sure what the legal issues are so I will go without stating names. Though I will say that the chain that I visited is very well known and extremely expensive. Yes, the do provide food for all children eating table food but nothing for infants! Security was a BIG issue for me at this facility. When I was being given a tour of the infant room there was NO ONE to be seen anywhere. There were babies crying and the room smelled of dirty diapers. The toddlers room was not very impressive either. It was a bit cleaner than the other but the child/teacher ratio was about 7 to 1 which I personally found to be insufficient for little ones who are so easily distracted and quick to roam away.

In summary I would certainly say that the best situation I found was an in-home childcare with one to two providers for one hundred and fifty dollars, including food for children eating table food. That equals out to 2.58 per hour! If anyone thinks that they can find better I would love to read your article!!!

As for fairness to the provider, of course that is not going to be enough to provide any sort of substantial income. However, the county does allow for up to eight children. Thus making the average income of a daycare provider about 1000.00 per week. Each provider and parent in search of childcare have their own individual expectations. This is just my humble opinion and I with each parent and provider luck in their own personal venture!

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What is Child Care Worth to YOU?
By: Donna Worthy
   
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