With Summer Child Care Costs Rising, New Survey Reveals the Sacrifices Parents Are Having to Make 

June 6, 2024 – According to a new survey from ParentsTogether Action, a nonprofit parent and family advocacy group that represents more than 3 million families, the cost and availability of summer child care is a major obstacle for parents as summer vacation begins across the country. When asked about challenges faced when trying to find summer child care, the vast majority of parents mentioned affordability, followed by availability (no spots available), location, and quality. 

ParentsTogether Action conducted a survey of 450 parents who have children under the age of 18 and may require summer child care. 54% of parents have struggled to find or afford summer child care or camps for their kids. 

“Because there are few spots available, you have to make plans much earlier than you otherwise would, and if your finances or plans change, there is little recourse to make adjustments. Even with scholarships, it’s hard.” – Jessica, GA 

“I have a kiddo with special needs and can’t find literally anything for him.” – Jo, VT

38% of respondents said they have had to make financial trade offs to pay for summer child care (for example: not paying a utility or rent bill in full in order to balance child care costs). Other trade offs include cutting back on food, leisure activities, tutoring, and college savings. 

“I’ve had to take a family leave of absence to care for my kids. I’ve also sold all of my accumulated vacation to pay my utilities during my off time.” – Teresa, AL

38% of respondents said that they or a member of their household had to cut back on hours or leave a job because they couldn’t find reliable summer care for their children within their budget.

“I have stopped working because I was losing money working and paying for childcare.” – Dae, UT 

According to the survey, paying for summer child care has meant cutting back on the following household expenses, including food (46%), rent/mortgage (23%), utilities (30%), leisure activities (63%), medical care (13%), general savings (48%), and college savings (21%).

Additional quotes from parents: 

“I wasn’t able to put her in childcare this summer, I could not afford it, so she’s being passed around from friend to friend.” –  Debi, NC

“I’ve had to pay 3 different people to basically car/ride hop my kid home after summer day camp ended. That also gave me time to get home in time to be there when she got home.”  – Clarissa, AZ 

“Granddaughter gets stuck in the house with elderly aunt, grandmother and great grandmother.” -Penny, CO