Back in 1972 when Alice Cooper declared that “school’s out for summer!” he sang an anthem for every school-age child in the world. However, if he ever wanted to sing the song from the parents’ point of view, it would be something along the lines of “no more pencils, no more books, lots of child care-related debt.”
A new survey from bankrate.com shows that working parents are accumulating lots and lots of debt to keep their kids safe and, if they’re lucky, entertained while school’s out for summer.
According to the survey, summer childcare on average costs $998 per child. One in five parents plans to spend more than $2,000 per child and, of those, 12% expect to pay $3,000 or more. For parents looking for something other than just childcare, day camps cost between $100 and $500 per week per child, and since kids are out of school for approximately 12 million weeks (at least that’s what it feels like), the cost quickly adds up.
According to Bankrate’s survey of 3,857 adults, the majority of American parents (59%) will end up paying for summer childcare with a credit card, and 33% of parents will accumulate debt from doing so. While some of those costs can be written off their taxes through the Child and Dependent Care Credit, adding summer childcare to a debt load can be a hard financial pill to swallow for many working families. It’s also a great argument for universal childcare.
If you’re looking for a way to cut childcare costs and avoid taking on debt over the summer, call your members of Congress and ask them to cosponsor or vote to pass the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act, introduced yesterday by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico’s 1st District. Alternatively, introduce your child to the wonders of year-round school.