More Laid Off Parents Foregoing Day Care

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

May 1, 2009

Increasing numbers of laid-off workers are opting to remove their children from day care centers and arrange for less expensive child care arrangements.

Omaha, Nebraska's KETV reports that at Love and Learn Child Care, several children were taken out after parents lost their jobs.

"From a financial perspective, I've got to say it's about the only option that someone who's lost their job and has kids can do," said Jaime Stutheit, who removed her children from the child care center after she was laid off.

Despite the trend, enrollment numbers have remained steady, said Jennifer Shatel, director of Love and Learn Child Care, in part because many people are being forced to return to work to make ends meet.

KPAX in Missoula, Montana, reports that some families are turning to relatives for child care in an effort to keep costs down. When Scott Harrison, a single father raising a 3-year-old son, saw his job as a fire suppression system installer become more sporadic, he searched for ways to trim his budget. He has since resorted to driving 200 miles to his parents' house in Idaho for free babysitting.

"It's a lot cheaper, $20, $25 to drop him off versus $125 a week of daycare," he explained. "That's saving $100 in my pocket right there. . . . I'm sorry for the daycare people out there who are hearing this right now, but times are pretty tight on everybody."

In Missoula, daycare can run $700 a month for a child under two years old. "It's more expensive than tuition at the University of Montana at a time when people are less likely to make a good income," noted Kelly Rosenleaf, executive director of Child Care Resources.

Kansas' The Wichita Eagle [from an article originally located at http://www.kansas.com/living/family/story/793182.html] reports that layoffs are often likely to result in creating full-time dads. Scott Coltrane, a University of Oregon sociologist who studies the role of fathers, explained that since men have experienced layoffs more than women, it follows that fathers are taking on greater parenting roles as a result.

Chuck Hammond, who lost his project management job in the technology industry, became a stay-at-home dad for his now 1-year-old daughter. "We were going to get nannies. We had an au pair lined up," he said, but after doing the math they realized it made more sense for him to take care of the baby.

In a related story, The Oregonian reports on another child care cost-cutting measure to which some families are resorting: tag-team parenting, when two parents work different shifts of the day so that children are always being cared for by at least one parent. As a result, day care expenses are kept to a minimum.

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