ASHLAND, Ore. — For many parents, paying for child care is a major expense. According to Child Care Aware for America, Oregon parents are paying the third highest cost in the country from their annual income for child care.
Shey Yearsley is putting herself through graduate school at Southern Oregon University. She is a single mother and taking out loans to pay for her son’s child care.
“It took a lot of planning and looking at my budget and saying how am I going to afford this and weighing the decision to go back to school. With the fact that it meant taking out loans was a really hard decision,” says Yearsley.
Yearsley is among many working parents who are finding child care costs a burden. In Oregon, the cost of care for a two-parent family averages 15.4 percent of their annual income. The second highest in the country is Minnesota at 15.6 percent. New York is at number one at 15.9 percent.
Some child care centers try to accommodate the needs of working parents but say that can bring unintended consequences for business.
“We just had a center close in Medford and I’ve had like 12 phone calls from parents that are trying to find care. The reason they closed was because the economy and they could not stay open because she wasn’t charging enough,” says Wee Watch’em owner Judy Primasing.