How much do you pay for daycare?
If you live in Minnesota you pay one of the highest day care rates in the nation. That's according to a national study released this week naming Minnesota as the second highest state for infant childcare.
Margaret Pick has watched over children in her home for more than 25 years. It's a five day a week, sun up to sun down job. Pick is one of nearly 50 licensed daycare providers in Rock County. It's no surprise to her state childcare costs are high.
“The total cost is up,” Pick said. “What they want you to do with the children. All the supplies you buy is up. They expect you to be a teacher, nurse, a janitor.”
But Pick is amazed Minnesota ranks among the highest in the country when it comes to daycare costs.
The study released by a national association ChildCare Aware says Minnesota parents pay more than $13,000 per year for infant daycare at group facilities. That number drops by at least half for children of in-home daycares like Pick's.
“Well I've heard of horror stories from Wisconsin and other states how much they pay per child. I know of one family who chose to have only one child because they couldn't afford to pay daycare for a second child,” Pick said.
Increased state regulations for out-of-home facilities mean more staff, more hoops to jump through and a higher price tag for parents. That's why Pick believes attempts to start those types of facilities in Luverne have never succeeded, and why in home daycares are still king here.
Even at lower prices than the state average, Pick says low wages in the county can't support major increases.
“I've had mothers quit their job because they've had a second or third child and they couldn't afford daycare for three,” Pick said.
Infant daycare rates are highest in the state, Pick charges the same for them as she does school-aged children, as do most of her Rock County Competitors. That's good news in a part of the state bucking the national trend.
The study also named South Dakota with some of the lowest costs, but pointed out that it allows more children per at-home daycare than other states and has little oversight or regulation.