How The High Cost Of Child Care Strains St. Louis Area Families | St. Louis Public Radio

How The High Cost Of Child Care Strains St. Louis Area Families

Aug 1, 2019

Christopher Robinson (left) is an educational specialist at Florissant Valley Early Child Development Center, and Steve Zwolak (right) is the executive director of University City Children's Center.
Credit EVIE HEMPHILL | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Paying for day care is one of the largest expenses per month for families. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average cost of infant child care in Missouri is about $800 a month.

“As a parent of a 2-year-old, I was flabbergasted at the reported average monthly rate for infant care in Missouri as ‘$800’ a month,” said Patricia Reid, who emailed into Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “I understand this is an average, but I have never seen a rate this low anywhere in the city or county of St. Louis for a child under the age of 2. More often I have seen a rate of $350-$400 a week, equaling $1,400 or more a month.”

At the same time, day care providers are tasked with more work for little pay.

“We are building early childhood on the backs of families and teachers,” said Steve Zwolak, CEO of LUME Institute and executive director of University City Children’s Center. “We need help.”

On Thursday’s program, host Sarah Fenske talked with Zwolak about the rising cost of child care, the challenges facing day care center teachers, and which public policies would be successful in alleviating the strain on education centers and families. Christopher Robinson, an educational specialist at Florissant Valley Early Child Development Center, also joined the conversation.

Listen to the discussion:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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