NEW JERSEY 101.5

The cost of child care is putting a lot of pressure on already-struggling families, and the price continues to rise, according to a new report from Child Care Aware of America (CCAA).

In 2012, the average annual cost of full-time, center-based care for an infant ranged from $4,863 in Mississippi to $16,430 in Massachusetts. New Jersey ranked 38th among the 50 states with a cost of $10,949. The same care for a four-year-old in New Jersey averaged $9,170.

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"Families need child care in order to work, and what we have found is that we need to come together to find a national solution," said Lynette Fraga, CCAA Executive Director.

In every state, according to the report, child care fees for two children in a center exceeded annual median rent payments. The price of full-time infant care calculated to 10 percent of a married couple's income in New Jersey, or 36 percent among single mothers.

In 31 states, plus the District of Columbia, center-based infant care was more expensive than a year's worth of college tuition and fees at a four-year public institution.

The report didn't specifically examine the reason for constantly-rising costs, but Fraga noted operating a small business is getting more expensive.

"Child care programs operate at such a small profit margin that providers would have needed to pass these costs along to parents," Fraga said.

Among the recommendations within the report, CCAA asked Congress to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant to ensure all children in low-income working families have access to affordable, quality child care.