It is recommended that parents should spend no more than 10 percent of their annual income on child care. A new special report released by Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) reveals the typical Garden State family is shelling out more than double that amount.

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According to Meeting the Child Care Challenge: A Kids Count Special Report, the typical New Jersey family spends almost a quarter of its annual salary on child care.

The economic hardship is even worse for low-income and single-parent families. Low-income parents with two young kids spend 44 percent of their income on child care. A single parent with two young children spends a staggering 73 percent.

“When it comes to child care, there is a lot at stake,” said Cecilia Zalkind, ACNJ executive director. “Kids need nurturing care, especially during those first years, so they grow and develop.”

In the Garden State, roughly 412,000 children five and under live in families where all parents work meaning child care is necessary.

“Parents need care so they can provide for their families. Employers need employees who can come to work knowing their children are safe and well cared for,” explained Zalkind. “Child care is more than a family issue. It is also an economic issue.”

One of the report’s recommendations is for the state to explore the possibility of enacting a child care tax credit.