Substantial Drop in Home-based Child Care Spaces
Research on school readiness and children’s brain development confirms the importance of high quality early education and care programs for children’s future success in school and life. In addition, affordable child care is essential for working families to maintain economic self-sufficiency. Early care and education has been shown to be an efficient and effective investment for economic and workforce development, with an estimated return of $7 for every
$1 invested.1 This indicator measures child care availability and costs by tracking the supply and demand of licensed child care spaces, the availability of subsidies for low-income families, and average annual costs.
How is San Bernardino County Doing?
Between 2012 and 2014, there was a decrease in the number of spaces available at licensed child care facilities in San Bernardino County:
- There was a 5% decrease in the number of spaces at licensed child care centers (center-based) and a 26% decrease in the number of spaces at licensed family child care homes (home-based).
- The long-term trend is mixed. Between 2006 and 2014, there was a 9% increase in the number of licensed center- based spaces, but a 38% decrease in the number of licensed home-based spaces.
- The need far outpaces supply. There are enough licensed child care slots for only 19% of children ages 12 and younger with parents in the labor force.
- This is the lowest rate among neighboring counties, except Riverside County (13%), and lower than the California average of 25%.
- In 2016, there were 14,009 children ages 12 and younger who received subsidized child care through the county’s Resource and Referral agency, with an additional 11,392 children on the waitlist for subsidized care. The costs for child care are on the rise:
- Between 2005 and 2014, the average annual cost for full-time child care increased 22% for center-based care and 19% for home-based care.
- During this time period, median household incomes dropped 12%.2
- Despite this increase, full-time child care is more affordable in San Bernardino County than all neighboring counties compared.