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Reports Track Child Care Costs and Availability, County-by-County

March 20, 2012

BALTIMORE - Maryland families putting together child-care budgets can get a good idea how much it will cost, thanks to new research from the Maryland Family Network.

The prices vary widely around the state. Care for two children, an infant and a preschooler, would cost a family about $9600 a year in Garrett County - and $25,000 a year in Montgomery County.

Steve Rohde, deputy director for resource and referral services at MFN, says they've broken down estimated expenses by county and for Baltimore City, so parents can zero in close to home.

"What it does, is it gives them a sense of what are the costs out there if they're looking for child care. And I think that's probably the most helpful thing to the person on the street."

Maryland is known as one of the best states for child care, consistently receiving high ratings for quality and safety.

Rohde says most parents experience sticker shock when researching child care costs. He puts those expenses into perspective.

"The federal government came out with a report, and they said there should be no family that pays more than ten percent of their income towards child care. People routinely pay much more than that."

MFN's research shows that families routinely spend between 20 and 25 percent of their incomes on child care, with Baltimore City parents spending about 35 percent.

There are two publications on trends and demographics. "Child Care Demographics 2012: The Maryland Report," with state median details, is at bit.ly/FPUAfS. "Demographics 2012: Jurisdictional Reports," with links to reports on each county and Baltimore City, is at bit.ly/FQTcIk.

NACCRRA ranked Maryland sixth among the states in a recent child care study: bit.ly/GzEkUr.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MD