'It's like paying rent': Childcare in Washington ranked 8th most expensive in nation

Part of President Biden's proposal announced Wednesday would provide federal financial resources for childcare, which many parents and childcare workers alike say is much needed. That's especially true in Washington, which is ranked the 8th most expensive state in the country for childcare.

"A word I hear a lot is wow. It’s like paying rent," says Felicia Wray, the center director for Kindercare in South Seattle.

"You have to start saving. I mean that's our biggest expense, childcare - over our mortgage, over food -anything," says Mike Moe, a father with two children in Kindercare childcare.

Moe speaks for many parents when he says childcare costs are jarring.

"When you go into something like having a child that’s not what you’re thinking about necessarily and just to have that expense, it's huge."

Some parents say they simply they can’t afford to work, because they can’t pay for the childcare.

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"Some families have to make that choice, and it’s really tough especially on women," says Moe.

 "It’s a lot of really difficult emotional math that you have to do to decide how you’re going to make it work," says mother Kerry Beckman.

Beckman says she’s one of the lucky ones who gets financial assistance for her son’s childcare through her PhD program at the University of Washington. But she’s about to graduate, which means she’ll have to pay $900 more each month.

"It's a looming cost at all times, and you think, OK I’ve been training to have this career for many many years now, all through several layers of graduate programs, and at what point do I say, 'OK can we afford childcare or can we not,'" says Beckman.

Many families find their salary is just enough to cover childcare and nothing more. Statistically, many women give up their careers for this reason.

"I have seen many families, many moms that have broken down here in our lobby crying because there’s no other choice," says Wray.

Wray says Kindercare does everything they can to help families find financial resources, but says they’re limited. She says the lowest price for childcare in Washington state is about $1,000, ranging all the way to $2,300 a month for one child.

"You have the financial stress and then you have the emotional part of it as well," says Wray.

Kindercare, which is considered reasonably priced, costs roughly $1,600 a month for care for an infant. The national average is $1,200, showing how much pricier Washington is.

"We need our moms out there contributing to the economy," says Wray.

Parents we spoke with say the president’s proposal is crucial and will ultimately benefit everyone.

"It’s key because we need a labor workforce and we need for people to want to go out and get jobs and if they can’t afford to, then it makes it really tough," says Moe.

While state resources are limited, if you need assistance getting childcare, resources are listed here.

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