With more than half a million children in Pennsylvania under the age of 6 who may need child care, parents are more worried than ever about how to afford quality child care. Child care rates in Pennsylvania vary based on the age of the child, area of the state and the kind of child care used. All calculations are based on a standard 40 hours a week, five-day work week with eight hours of care needed per day, and 251 working days per year. Prices are generally for one child, as rates for siblings vary widely.
Day Care Center
The average annual cost of a day care center for an infant is $10,504, breaking down to a daily average rate of approximately $42 a day. A preschooler will cost closer to an average of $34 a day, while a school age child will cost an average of $23 a day. You will probably receive a discount for siblings within the day care, but discount rates will vary according to the policy of each day care center.
Family care may mean that you hire a family member to watch your child while you work or simply that your children are enrolled in a day care located at someone else's home. Either way, the average daily rate for an infant is $32, a preschooler averages $29 a day, and a school age child will cost an average of $22. An in-home day care may or may not provide food, diapers and other supplies, so inquire about any extra costs associated before enrolling your child.
Hiring a nanny to watch your child in your home can be very convenient and keep the kids in a comfortable environment while you work. However, nannies generally are more expensive. They may charge by the hour or the day. Average daily rates in Pennsylvania vary widely depending on the area, responsibilities and number of children. A nanny for one child for a full work week near Philadelphia may charge approximately $84 a day, while in Harrisburg the rate may be closer to $72 and near Pittsburgh $76. If you choose to hire a nanny, set up a contract outlining fees and responsibilities to protect both parties should there be a disagreement later.
Pennsylvania offers a child care subsidy program for low income families to offset the high cost of child care. The family is required to contribute a set amount, called the co-pay, while the subsidy covers the rest of the tuition and is paid directly to the child care provider. Parents must meet income guidelines to qualify, and must also be working at least 20 hours a week or work 10 hours a week and attend school for 10 hours a week, along with meeting other qualifying factors.