This is not a list that we want to be on. If you have children, and you need daycare for them, then you know that daycare costs are very high here in our great state. We are ranked 4th in the Nation for most expensive childcare, behind California, Massachusetts, and Washington DC.

According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, childcare costs for an infant, in a licensed center, average $1,431 per month, for a staggering $16,087 per year. Now, that's for infant care, which is more expensive, understandably, as infants require more care than a 4-year-old, although the average cost for a 4-year-old is still quite high at $1,021/month, or $12,252/year.

Childcare is one of the biggest expenses a family faces. Childcare costs can be more than in-state college tuition at a state school, by more than 40%. Childcare, for an infant, is also, on average, 30.8% more than the average rent in Minnesota.

So what is a parent to do? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services standards, childcare is affordable if it costs no more than 7% of a family's income. By this standard, only 5.8% of Minnesota families can afford infant care. If you have more than one child that needs childcare, the costs are even higher, up to $28,338, which is more than 60% of the average rent in Minnesota.

Yes, childcare is expensive, especially when looking at a licensed shelter. There are other options to consider when looking for childcare; a licensed in-home provider, parents working opposite shifts, relying on grandparents who may be retired to provide care, one parent staying home with the children until they are school-aged, and once the children are in school, there is always School Aged Care (SAC) through the school district. Not all districts provide this option.

Child Care Aware of MN runs a website that has a listing of all licensed providers in the state as well as information on financial assistance programs and other resources available for families.

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