Child care costs in Nebraska continue rising amid inflation

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) –The cost of raising and providing for kids has spiked dramatically in recent years.

On Tuesday, early childhood advocates, city officials, child care providers, teachers and community members gathered to address affordability, accessibility and workforce challenges.

Lincoln Vital Signs reports the Nebraska average annual cost of child care for infants was just under $10,000 in 2019.  It almost doubled in 2021, leaving many families with difficult decisions to make.

“We know that inflation and with other high costs, parents are just not able to afford high-quality care education, most parents are not,” said Anne Brandt, executive director at Lincoln Littles.

It’s also important to keep in mind the annual median income of child care workers in Lincoln.

They’re making less than $23,000 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Pretty much you can make more money doing almost anything other than taking care of our children,” Brandt said.

A South Lincoln childcare center owner, Betsy Tonniges, says the increase in prices is linked to the state’s workforce.

“We’ve had to increase teacher wages up to 25 to 30 percent to remain competitive with our unemployment market,” she said.

Childcare advocates say the entire community needs to work together and look into collaborations between the public and private sectors in order to find a solution.

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