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NH Called "Family Unfriendly" When It Comes to Child Care

A new report finds families in New Hampshire are spending about $12,000 a year for child care, and the lack of state-funded pre-kindergarten put it out of reach for many working families. (H Brady)
A new report finds families in New Hampshire are spending about $12,000 a year for child care, and the lack of state-funded pre-kindergarten put it out of reach for many working families. (H Brady)
May 11, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. - Wading through the paperwork involved in getting government help to pay for child care can be overwhelming to already overworked parents. A new report by the Center for American Progress looks at how difficult it can be for low-income families to navigate an underfunded child-care support system.

Judith Warner, a senior fellow for the center who authored the study, "Jumping Through Hoops and Set Up to Fail," said New Hampshire is one of only five states in the nation that do not provide state-funded pre-kindergarten, and that puts it out of reach for many working families.

"There are even towns in New Hampshire that still don't provide all-day kindergarten," she said. "So, in terms of the care of young children, New Hampshire is particularly family unfriendly. It's also an expensive state to live in."

The report took a state-by-state look at child-care costs. In New Hampshire, the figure is nearly $12,000 a year for parents with an infant and about $9,500 a year for a 4-year-old. Warner said that often means having to look at cost over quality when it comes to child care.

Warner said parents who qualify for assistance with child-care expenses often aren't given a lot of help to navigate the system.

"You're dependent on people who may or may not lose your paperwork, and may or may not want to help you," she said, "and if things go wrong, your child loses a stable, good place in child care that brings them so many advantages."

The Center for American Progress report made some recommendations - including less paperwork for parents and more child-care funding. Last fall, the group also proposed a "High-Quality Child Care Tax Credit," worth up to $14,000 per child, based on family income. The money would be paid directly to a child-care provider chosen by the parents.

The report is online at americanprogress.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH