First 5 Contra Costa has been a longtime supporter of child care providers who enroll in college to earn their Associate’s degrees in Early Childhood Education. Over the years, providers have received tutoring, academic advising, loans for books, and financial incentives when they meet educational and professional goals.
One strategy that has been particularly effective is the cohort program at Diablo Valley College for child care providers who speak English as a second language. A small, committed group of providers – who primarily speak either Farsi or Spanish – have taken several classes together. Along the way, the providers received tutoring and group support, including taking workshops together to prepare for upcoming classes.
According to the report produced by Child Care Aware, child care for an infant now costs more than public university tuition. In California, the average cost of full-time infant care in a center is nearly $12,000. Average college tuition is $9,022. California ranks seventh in the country for having the least affordable infant care.
Considering that many parents have two children under age five, annual child care costs can easily reach $16,000. That’s a huge chunk for a two-parent family (state median income is $80,766) and likely out of reach for a single mother (state median is $27,534).