Child care subsidies are crucial to becoming and remaining employed, yet the minimum cost of child care is not very much less for low-income families than for all families. The Census Bureau reports 1993 data on the cost of the care of preschool children for families with employed mothers: those with incomes under $1,200 per month paid an average of $47 a week, whereas the average cost of preschool child care for all families with employed mothers was $60/week. Bear in mind that these are averages, including a large proportion of women who work part time. Costs will be higher for W-2 participants employed full time.
How do families manage when child care costs are 25– 33 percent of income? They rely heavily on relative care; only 40 percent of low-income families make cash payments for child care. The pattern is similar for single mothers: 60 percent pay for child care, and 40 percent use unpaid care by relatives. (author introduction)