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Parent and provider talk high price tags, lack of space for child care

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COLORADO SPRINGS -

Child care can be a daunting cost for parents all across the country. 

Many don't have the resources to stay home with their young kids all day, so infants and toddlers head to an in-home provider or a daycare center while parents head to work.

Jenny Bishop said, "It's not cheap. My husband and I both work full-time and it's certainly an expense that we have each month to make sure that our daughter is cared for."

The average yearly cost for child care in El Paso County is about $9,000 for one child, according to Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum. "For two children it's about $13,000 to $14,000." 

Lisa Newman, owner of Little Sprouts Learning Center in Colorado Springs, says the average cost for full-time care at her facility is between $260 and $290 a week.

"We absolutely have families here that I'm sure pay as much as what their mortgages are."

Newman says when it comes to the high price tag, ratios have to be considered. 

"In the infant room, for example, it's five children to one teacher so you've got your lead teacher and then you have your aid."

The cost isn't the only challenge. Bishop started looking for a provider two months before her daughter was born. 

"We looked at the Colorado State licensing website for daycares and pulled up about 8 to 10 that were in the general area that we could travel to and only one of them actually had an opening for an infant."

Newman says long waits are due to a lack of child care facilities and a shortage of workers. 

"It's not the highest paying job...we're trying to change that a little bit. We're trying to up our pay."

Bailey explains that across the United States "it's about $25,000 a year for a child care worker. The state of Colorado is a little higher at $26,000, but still that's not really a livable wage."

Colorado's growing population is another challenge. However, for parents struggling, some relief is on the way. This month the Child Care Income Tax Credit bill was passed allowing low-income families to write-off a portion of their child care costs.

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