Florida parents face waitlists at day cares, high cost of child care

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Nikoia Darrisale, a mom of two, started teaching at the Achievement Centers for Children and Families in Delray Beach, where tuition is on a sliding scale based on income.

“Having my own kids has opened my eyes to this is important to have a safe environment and affordable child care,” she said.

Child care is a top concern in her circle, where she said her friends are up against, “the waitlists, definitely the high costs.”

Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub, said the cost of child care is outpacing inflation.

Nikoia Darrisale shares how child care is top of concern in her circle.
Nikoia Darrisale shares how child care is top of concern in her circle.

“Right now in Florida, child care is unaffordable,” she said.

Gonzalez broke those numbers down.

“(It is) considered unaffordable by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services if it cost more than 7% of a household’s total income,” she said. “In Florida, that looks like 25% of a household income.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the cost of child care is up 6% year after year. It’s something the head of the Achievement Centers for Children and Families said won’t go away anytime soon.

Achievement Centers for Children and Families CEO Adamma Ducille explains the economic impact...
Achievement Centers for Children and Families CEO Adamma Ducille explains the economic impact of child care.

“It’s a tough question to face, how can you afford the fundamentals of child care,” CEO Adamma Ducille said. “It’s very dire.”

The facility services 500 kids in the community annually. She said the challenge lies in minting affordable child care and staffing.

“I think we are kind of in peril,” she said. “There were billions of dollars pumped in during the pandemic, particularly, the American Rescue Plan Act, The ARPA funds have sustained us, and helped us to really avoid some hard times, but with that funding going away, yeah it is a critical time. We are very concerned.”

Fuller Center CEO Ellyn Okrent explains how parents need access to affordable child care.
Fuller Center CEO Ellyn Okrent explains how parents need access to affordable child care.

At the Fuller Center in Boca Raton, CEO Ellyn Okrent said we are on the brink of crisis in our communities.

“The cost of child care currently exceeds state college tuition,” she said. “Quite honestly, we are struggling here.”

She said parents need access to care.

“If parents can’t find quality child care at an affordable rate, then their alternative is to not be able to go to work,” she said, “and if they can’t go to work, you tell me what happens.”

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