Affordable day care increasing challenge

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Whether it’s a family with two working parents or a single-parent home, affordable child care is a critical part of making it all work.

But the announcement last week that the Enterprise Child Development Center in Huntington is closing its doors is a reminder that providing quality care at an affordable price is easier said than done.

Since 1997, the center had cared for about 50 children at a time, using fundraisers and grants to help underwrite the expense and charging parents on a sliding scale according to their ability to pay. But eventually, the expenses were too great.

“The fact of the matter is the parents can’t afford the true costs,” said Suzi Brodof, executive director of the River Valley Child Development Services that operated the center. Many other day cares have faced the same challenge and met the same fate around the state and across the country.

 While child care expenses in our region are low compared to other parts of the country, the costs are still staggering. In West Virginia, day care averages almost $8,000 a year and 4-year-old care about $7,000, according to Child Care Aware of America.

Meanwhile, the costs of providing quality care and educational programs continue to rise, especially when you consider the need for reasonable pay, benefits and training for day care workers.

While tax credits for families are available, they are not enough. Locally and nationally, we are still a long way from developing the public-private partnerships that help provide quality care that parents can afford.

To see more from The Herald-Dispatch, click here. 

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