EUGENE, Ore. -- If you’re struggling to find affordable child care in Oregon, you’re not alone.
Oregon ranks third on the national list of states with the highest cost for infant and four-year-old care, according to a national study from Child Care Aware of America. The first and second most expensive were New York and Minnesota.
Full-time child care costs have risen across the country. On average, families spend more on child care than rent. The study takes into account the average cost of child care and the annual wages for a household to determine a state's ranking.
Officials with the Child and Family Education Department at Lane Community College said that many parents are faced with choices between their lives and child care.
"Some folks say that you should take out a loan to pay for your childcare just as much as you would take out a loan to pay for your college expenses." said Sue Norton, Management Coordinator for the CFED.
For full time child care, Oregonians pay an average of $11,000 each year per infant and $8,500 per four year old. These annual rates are on par with many of the more expensive states nationally. However with high unemployment and residents taking home less each year, some Oregon parents are finding the costs to be overwhelming.
“When you compare the really high costs of child care with wages, it shows really disproportionately, that cost of care. So that’s why Oregon ranked so high.” Norton said.
With some centers charging over $700 a month, LCC student Cheryl Nash said she can't afford to put her son, Nathan, back in child care this year.
"It was very expensive." Nash said. "It's not something I can afford this year as a single mom going to school on a limited income."
Many families rely on full-time care to allow parents to work and go to school. In order to make ends meet some families like Nash's have taken to providing care outside of the expensive centers.