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Wis. ranks 13th for highest child care costs

Posted: 7:49 PM, Apr 12, 2016
Updated: 2016-04-12 21:24:00-04

Wisconsin child care costs are the 13th highest in the nation, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

The coordinator for Milwaukee Area Technical College's Downtown Campus Child Care Center said that makes sense to her.

"Wisconsin has a very good reputation in terms of the regulations that they require their child care services to follow. So, if you're going to demand higher quality out of your centers, the centers are also going to have to demand more cost to parents in order to meet those standards," said Melissa Frankiewicz.

Frankiewicz said child care centers want to have the best people available to care for children, so 65 to 75 percent of their budgets go to staff. The rest, she said, goes to toys, art supplies, snacks and other needs to run the center.

The EPI study showed it costs more than $3,000 extra a year to pay for daycare than it does to send your child to an in-state four-year university.

Franiewicz said she thinks people should view early childhood education as an investment in the future. She said most of a child's brain is formed before they move on from early-childhood education, so what they learn shapes their future. She cites studies finding long-term savings on addiction treatment and prisons for better early education.

For students at MATC, they appreciate the financial break they get at the center and the quality of care.

Maira Avila said it's about "What's going to work for your kid and what makes you feel comfortable and not just look at the pricing."

Still, she looked at cost when finding a daycare.

"I'm not working a lot, so I needed something affordable for me," said Avila.

Avila would like to see centers use an income-based model for pricing.

The Wisconsin State Assembly did see a bill in the 2015 session for a tax credit on child care. It never made it out of committee.

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