Families need child care and education services for their children for a variety of reasons. Working families, including single parents, need child care for children as young as 6 weeks old to return to work after the birth of a child. Parents may need full- or part-time child care to attend high school or higher education. Other families choose preschool experiences to help children learn social and academic skills before attending public or private elementary schools. Regardless of the purpose of child care and early childhood education, most settings require families to use a significant portion of their income to pay for it. This entry describes the costs and affordability associated with various types of early care and education options.

Cost of Care and Education

Many families ...

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