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Affordable day care? One lawyer earns 50 cents after footing the child-care bill

Posted Aug 20, 2013 5:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Poll: Who watches (or watched) your young children during the workday?

This poll ended on Mon, July 28, 2014 - 12:15:45.

Results

  • I do not have children.
    509 votes (31.91%)
  • A day care center.
    431 votes (27.02%)
  • My spouse.
    250 votes (15.67%)
  • A nanny.
    170 votes (10.66%)
  • Other family members.
    123 votes (7.71%)
  • I do, and I cut work hours to do it.
    112 votes (7.02%)
Total Votes: 1595

Affordable day care is a well-known problem for low-wage earners.

But even upper- and middle-class families are encountering problems, according to the New York Times Opinionator blog. The story cites these figures: In 35 states and Washington, D.C., the cost of center-based day care is higher than the cost of a year of a public college. In New York, middle-class parents may pay $25,000 to $30,000 per child.

“The cost of taking care of one’s children outside the home is now so high that many women cannot be assured of both working and making a decent income after taxes and child care costs,” the story says.

To illustrate, the story offers the plight of Jane Dimyan-Ehrenfeld, a 37-year-old lawyer who works for the federal government in Washington, D.C. She pulled her older child from an in-home day care facility after a fired worker alleged the owner was selling herbal supplements and leaving one worker to care for eight children. The worker also alleged exotic pets weren’t being kept away from the children. Dimyan-Ehrenfeld now has a nanny for her younger child and a private preschool for the older child.

As a result, the story says, she has Dimyan-Ehrenfeld only earns 50 cents in each biweekly pay period after she pays for child care.

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