Access to quality child care is of paramount importance to the 56% of Nebraska families where all adults in the household are in the labor force (American Community Survey, 2011). LB 507 has taken steps toward ensuring the quality of child care and increasing affordability for the Nebraska families with low incomes.
Quality, educational child care is important to giving children the tools necessary to succeed later in life. But child care comes at a high cost. Child Care Aware of America estimates the annual cost of child care in Nebraska at$7,639 for an infant, $6,386 for a 4-year-old, and $5,769 for a school-age child. The cost of child care is actually 10.2% higher than the cost of a year’s tuition at a 4 year public Nebraska college!
These costs can be prohibitive for low and even middle income families, especially if that family has more than one child. Working a full-time (40 hour) minimum wage job results in earnings of only $15,080 per year. For a single parent with 2 children, working full time at minimum wage could mean paying 90% of their annual income to child care. Increased eligibility for child care assistance provides parents the incentive to work and allows them to give their children an educational head start.
The increased eligibility for child care assistance and ensured quality ratings of child care facilities will help even the playing field for all Nebraska kids.