The Cost of Child Care in Oregon


6a00d8341c629753ef017c38734558970bFor many Portland families with children, finding affordable child care can be challenging. According to a study funded by Child Care Aware America, Oregon has the least affordable child care system than any other state in the nation. The average cost was greater than 18 percent of a married couple family’s median income and some families are paying more for childcare than they would be for a college education.

Due to changes in the economy many households now require both parents to work leaving child care in the hands of family members, friends, neighbors or day care centers. Often times two parent households will work opposite shifts in order for someone to always be home with the children. Parents may also combine childcare options such as using a Head Start program for childcare during the day and leaving children with a relative after school hours in order to save money.

Currently 60% funding for this early childcare is paid out of pocket by parents. Less than 1% of funding comes from philanthropy and businesses. The federal government provides about $8 billion dollars annually to fund Head Start and Early Head Start programs but the problem here is that they only serve about 4% of the children eligible. Many states have begun funding prekindergarten programs for ages 3-4 but there are states like Oregon are still falling behind keeping the cost of child care low for working families. Should sates provide more support for parents, should childcare options be provided by big businesses? What are your thoughts? If you have children, how do you manage to keep the cost of childcare low?

Along with this post I’ve attached a list of resources for parents with children to find free and affordable childcare here in the Portland Metro area. This list was provided by Portland State’s  Resource Center for Parents with Children.








2 thoughts on “The Cost of Child Care in Oregon

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for writing about this important issue. When my son was born I was working 38 hours a week, taking 12-15 credits a term, and involved in student leadership in various forms in the school. My wife was working 15-20 hours a week and taking 10-12 credits a term. The way we did childcare for 2.5 years was…working opposite shifts, in the extreme. I worked the graveyard shift Fri-Sun and a swing shift on Mon. My wife worked Tue-Thurs.and we some how managed to coordinate our complex school schedules.
    The point is that life sucked for a while. I never got to spend quality time with my son, I was always tired or trying to study. I don’t know how we stayed married, we NEVER saw each other. The thing is that we got scared off with a bad experience with childcare. Early on, 6 months old, our son was left with some guy we didn’t know and had never met which scared the crap out of us. We decided that we would not pay for “independent” childcare again. We started with this person because they were all we could afford. So, do I think more money would help, would state funding help us? Oh yeah, my marriage would be even better than it is now, perhaps I would have an even better relationship with my son now. Instead, my wife and I made incredible sacrifices to keep our son safe.
    Fast forward to when Milo was 2(ish), we found a wonderful Montessori school/child care. It was expensive $695 a month for 4 days but it has changed our life. We found that Milo has grown in ways that we could not have provided for him.

    Here is the hope I offer. Last year, when I started Grad school and became very poor and very busy, my genius wife asked the school if they needed a cleaning service and if they wanted to trade for tuition. They said yes…so now we clean the school 5 evenings a week for 45 minutes (when we do it together), and in exchange we get 4 full days of an amazing Montessori education. This is fantastic because we are saving $740 a month, we get to see each other nearly every evening and Milo gets to play in his own school (when nobody else is there :)).

    So, for those struggling to find childcare. There are deals that can be worked out!

    Stay strong out there parents!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I’m glad to hear you and your wife figured out a way to reduce the cost of child care. Volunteering at daycare centers in exchange for tuition seems like it would be a great option for parents who had a little extra time. It would be nice to see that option expanded at more daycare centers. Being a student comes with its own set of challenges and it definitely becomes more difficult to juggle time spent with family and ones studies. Most colleges do try to provide support for students with children by providing daycare on campus while students attend class. They also help link students with other outside resources. Unfortunately, there usually is a waiting list to participate in the childcare programs since there is a very high demand but limited spaces. It would be nice if colleges expanded these programs especially since there are more adults returning as students.

      Again, thank you for sharing your story. Congratulations for managing that time with no assistance. =)


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