Charlottesville Leaders Aim to Improve Affordable Child Care Acc - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Leaders Aim to Improve Affordable Child Care Access

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They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it can also break the bank. Rising child care costs are hitting families and businesses hard across the state and Charlottesville leaders say that needs to change.

Two decades ago, Margaret Leckrone started Foundations Child Development Center in Albemarle County to make a difference.

“There was such a gap between the abilities and the knowledge and some of the kids versus other kids,” Leckrone said.

The problem is the costs of child care are rising, putting businesses and families in a tough spot.

“There's a big gap between what state pays and what the actual costs of child care are,” Leckrone said.

Gail Esterman of Charlottesville's Children, Youth & Family Services says low-income families face the steepest costs, spending as much as half of their income on child care alone.

“A year for infant child care in Charlottesville costs nearly the same as a year at UVA,” Esterman said.

That leaves many with a choice: child care or food on the table?

“Where is the gas, you know, the food, the utilities? Where is that going to come from?” Esterman said.

The problem has the attention of the League of Women Voters, and some local leaders. They want to find new ways to make child care more accessible. Esterman says that will help give kids the start they need, and working parents more peace of mind.

“They want to be good parents and they want to be good workers, and that's what we need as a community. We need opportunities for people to do both, do it well,” Esterman said.

This is one part of the larger issue Charlottesville leaders are looking at of trying to address poverty in the city.

For resources and more information about child care in the Charlottesville area, see below:

Child Care Aware of Virginia

Smart Beginnings

Children, Youth, & Family Services

Virginia Department of Social Services – Child Care Assistance

Ounce of Prevention

The Annie E. Casey Foundation – Kids Count

Center for Law and Social Policy

National Women’s Law Center

Too Small to Fail

Zero to Three

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