How Much Will I Pay for Child Care

The cost of child care depends on many things: geography, local cost of living, demand for care, type of care sought, schedule of care needed, and other factors. Providers may charge an hourly, daily, or weekly rate depending on your schedule and their fee structure. 4-C conducts an annual survey to determine average costs of regulated child care. The 4-C data and publications link below reflects the most recent average rates to expect.

Prices vary among child care providers. When comparing rates, be sure you fully understand what the basic fee includes and what extra costs may come up for additional services such as meals, field trips, and transportation. Child care providers may have established policies and fees concerning registration, holding a vacant spot, late pick-up, and returned checks. Additionally, providers may have fees or time set aside for sick, vacation, and holiday time.

It is also important to understand where your child care dollars are spent. Expenses such as personnel, facility, food, supplies, water/heat, toys/equipment, and art supplies are all part of your child care costs. Often times, providers put in many hours after children have left for cleaning toys and equipment, shopping for items, and preparing for daily activities. This is all included in your child care costs.

Of course, just because a program is the least expensive, doesn't mean it is the right program for your child. A quality child care program is a necessity for your child. Remember, quality child care is not expensive, it's priceless!

Average Child Care Rates by County