Child care is one of the highest monthly expenses for many families and infant and toddler care is the most expensive kind of child care and often the most difficult to find. In California, there were almost 9% fewer licensed child care spaces in 2021 than there were a decade before.
When Christina’s second child was born in the late 1990s, she made just under $9 an hour teaching at a faith-based child care program in Irvine. It wasn’t until she quit her job, moved home, and enrolled in college that she learned that she could get financial help from the state to pay for child care.
I thought I won an award or the lotto, I was just in tears and elated. But if not for that [child care] program, I don’t know how I would’ve gone to school.
— Christina Nigrelli
Over two decades later, it hasn’t gotten easier, or more affordable, for many families to find care in the early years of their child’s life. According to the LAist, the average annual cost of infant care in California is $1,412 a month. Over a year that’s more than in-state tuition at a 4-year college. Read more about the plight of parents in California.