State offers resources for parents struggling to pay for child care

Families can apply for funding on the state’s website.
Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 10:59 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - The Department of Human Services helps provide approved families with extra money for child care. According to economists, infant care for a child over a year is nearly the same price as the average rent in Tennessee.

An Oak Ridge mother, Rachael Landry, has had some tough decisions about how to care for her two children and pay the bills.

“Which bill am I going to pay or have to take my kid out of daycare and lose my job,” Landry said.

For two children to receive daycare, economists said it’s nearly 40% more than the average cost of rent in Tennessee.

“In the blink of an eye, you really could have it all and then lose it,” Landry said.

Tennessee has a program to help people struggling to pay for child care. The less money a parent makes, the more funding that is available.

Landry received help for her oldest daughter and is applying to get state funding for her youngest daughter’s child care costs.

Other groups are working on solutions to child care costs including The United Way in Greater Knoxville.

Director of child care and early development at United Way, Ellie Kittrell, said, “One of the areas we are really taking a strong look at is how to better support child care centers themselves and with some of the more administrative side of care to bring the cost down.”

They’re part of a new initiative, Bright Start Tennessee, to help childcare providers afford to serve more children.

“Child care centers have been through the wringer,” Kittrell said.

Families can also cut out child care costs by having grandparents watch their kids. AARP said before the pandemic, nearly 40% of grandparents offer regular care to their grandkids.

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