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D.C. Child Care Costs Rival College Tuition

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D.C. resident Tiffany Lewis says her salary as a special
education teacher would just barely cover the cost of child care.
Jessica Gould
D.C. resident Tiffany Lewis says her salary as a special education teacher would just barely cover the cost of child care.

By Jessica Gould

Faced with rising fees, some D.C. parents are opting to stay home rather than pay the crushing costs of child care.

After about a year at home with her baby son, Tiffany Lewis began to think about returning to her job as a special education teacher. But for Lewis, who lives in Northwest, D.C., the idea of going back to work simply didn’t add up.

"Even on my salary, it doesn’t make any sense to get back to teaching because it would balance out what I would pay for day care," says Lewis.

According to a report released this week by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, the annual cost of infant care in the District is about $11,500, more than twice the average cost of tuition at a public college. HyeSook Chung, executive director of D.C. Action for Children, explains.

"We're no longer at a place where we see child care as babysitting, and we're moving away from the kith and kin care. We’re really professionalizing the child care industry and that means it costs money," she Chung.

Chung says the city can help by offering things like more tax credits for families.

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