In California, childcare for infants costs as much as tuition in the University of California (UC) system, according to new data from the Lucile Packard Foundation of Children’s Health.
In 2014, parents of infants in California spent an average of more than $13,300 on childcare. That year, UC tuition and fees were just over $13,200.
Achievement gaps start early. According to a report this year from the Economic Policy Institute, children from more affluent backgrounds tend to perform better than lower-income children in reading and math as early as kindergarten. And that gap then continues throughout the rest of the kids’ schooling.
“For most families, if you’re talking about full-time care for an infant or toddler, those costs certainly rival, if not exceed in many cases, higher education costs,” says Ted Lempert, the president of Children Now and a former California State Assemblyman. “Some kids have access to really caring, well-trained adults in very strong early childhood programs, and a lot of kids have nothing. And that’s putting those children at a huge disadvantage very early on.”
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