Child care cost in Boone County comparable to college tuition

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COLUMBIA – It is no secret that Missouri child care cost is expensive, especially for those parents in Boone County, according to a recent Child Care Aware study

Holly Linneman is a working mother who said she needs a place that is safe and educational for her daughter while she’s at work, but the cost of child care is a bit of a challenge.

“Right now I pay between $6,000 to $8,000 for child care… it’s more than my mortgage, but I make it work,” Linneman said.

She said she wishes the state did more to help parents and child care centers.

“I believe that there should be some kind of solution for helping out the centers and helping out the teachers through the government, and that way it would help the parents as well. So if the government maybe helped the centers, then the parents wouldn't have to pay as much.”

Missouri ranks near the bottom for child care assistance, according to Boone County Family Resources. The eligibility for a state subsidy depends on parent income.

The director of A Galaxy of Stars Child Care Center, La'Shunda Glasgow, said she notices that more parents can’t afford the cost of child care, so she stresses the importance of communication among her parents. 

“On my end we do run into some parents who cannot pay, and I try to work with them as much as I can. But at the end of the day I still have a business to run,” Glasgow said.

The fact is child care centers are a business. There are a lot of expenses that go into sustaining a child care center beyond the cost of tuition. Many child care centers in Boone County provide meals and educational lessons in and outside of the classroom.

Boone County is one of the most expensive places in Missouri for child care, according to the study. In Boone County, once a child turns four-years-old the average cost of care is about $6,396 a year. For an infant up to two years of age, the average the cost of child care is $9,100 a year. 

This number is not much less than the cost of in-state tuition for one year at the University of Missouri, which is $10,716. The difference between the two totals $1,616.

Paul Prevo, owner of Tiger Tots Child Development Center, said the high cost of child care in Boone County is a result of its strong economy.

“When you get into rural areas, of course cost is going to be much lower, but you’re also going to find that you are not going to have as many options.”

There are resources to help parents find the right child care center in their area. For example, Child Care Aware, is a nationwide center of information for parents and childcare providers providing resources for programs like how much each one costs.

Linneman said she believes that a quality education for her daughter now will pay off in the future.

“I believe 100 percent that early childhood education is important and is worth it…for me it’s spending money now so that she is ready to go to college,” Linneman said.