It is quite expensive to have children in the District of Columbia. In addition to the everyday costs of feeding, clothing and housing the kids, the cost for child care makes going back to work challenging for some parents. Despite the numerous options available, the cost of using child care means that parents may have to make difficult decisions.
Day care centers and au pairs are the most expensive options, but others such as home care and nanny sharing are only slightly cheaper. For a parent to return to work after the birth or adoption of a baby, it could cost them between $17,000 and $24,000 per year just in child care expenses. This is more than annual housing expenses for most Washington, D.C., families. Parents may use a combination of child care services, such as family care, in addition to nanny sharing.
Parents often struggle with this difficult decision. Leaving the workforce for years may have a devastating effect on a parent’s career. Those who take time off to care for their young children could expect their salaries to drop up to 20% upon their return to work. For new parents who are upwardly mobile, it might make sense to continue incur the expense of using a child care service rather than sacrificing years of progress and future income.
There are resources that may be available for low-income and single parents to help them afford child care. An attorney might help a single parent get child support from their child’s other parent to help them pay for child care so that they can pursue their career goals. In addition, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. offer resources to help struggling parents pay for child care. Some counties offer programs to supplement the costs.