Child Care State Reports . II. Affordability [6]

12/01/1999

  • Prices for child care vary considerably, by such factors as geographic area, type of provider and age of child. Figure 3 shows the average monthly prices for child care in Texas. Given that these are average prices, it is clear that many families pay more or less than this amount.
  • Centers in Texas charge an average of $316 per month for preschool care and $360 per month for infant care, as shown in Figure 3. This means that a family with $15,000 in income and one preschool child in an average-priced center would spend about one-quarter (25 percent) of its total monthly income on child care expenses. Average-priced infant care would represent an even higher share (29 percent) of monthly income for a family earning $15,000.
  • Family child care homes in Texas charge an average of $303 per month for preschool children and $325 per month for infants. This means that a family with $15,000 in income and one child in an average-priced family child care home would spend 24 percent of its monthly income on care for a preschool child or 26 percent of income for an infant.
  • Families who receive child care subsidies usually pay much smaller monthly co-payments rather than the full market rate. Such co-payments are established under a sliding fee schedule, and are based on family size, income and the number of children in care.
    • For example, a family with $15,000 in income and one preschooler or infant in an average-priced center in Texas would be charged a monthly co-payment of $117, or 9.4 percent of monthly income, as shown in Figure 3.
    • In Texas, parents receiving cash assistance through TANF or SSI are exempt from paying a co-payment.7
    • State policy in Texas prohibits child care providers from charging subsidized families more than the co-payment amount.
Figure 3. Child Care Prices and Co-Payments for a Hypothetical Texas Family of Three Earning $15,000 with One Child in Care
  WITHOUT SUBSIDY WITH SUBSIDY
  Average Monthly Prices
(Full Time Care)
% of Income
(Family Income of $15,000 Annually)
Monthly Co-Payments*
(If receive subsidy)
% of Income*
(Family Income of $15,000 Annually)
INFANT (1 year)
Center-based $360 28.8% $117 9.4%
Family child care home $325 26.0% $117 9.4%
PRESCHOOLER (4 years)
Center-based $316 25.3% $117 9.4%
Family child care home $303 24.3% $117 9.4%

* The average prices and co-payment rates shown in the table were effective in July 1999. The co-payment scale changed on September 1, 1999 when Local Workforce Development Boards were given authority to set the co-payment policies for their respective geographic areas.

Source: Price data collected by the Urban Institute from the Texas Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, summer 1999. Co-payment data collected by the Urban Institute from the Texas Workforce Commission, summer 1999.