Letter to the editor: Charge more for infant daycare

I have a very unpopular suggestion to alleviate the daycare crisis in Addison County, charge more! (Of course, provide subsidies to those who can’t afford it).
In the recent articles about the shortage of child care in Addison County, center directors cited cost as one of the primary reasons that more infant spots are not available. As someone with an infant, I would like to say that some of us would gladly pay more than daycares are charging for infant care to secure reliable safe care for our babies, and alleviate the “wait list stress.”
With no spots in a daycare (home or center) available to us the only viable alternative is for one partner to stay home or to hire a nanny. Full-time nannies in this area appear to charge $15-20 an hour, although rarely are there any that are available five days a week. But, assuming one can clear the hurdle of finding a responsible caregiver to come to your home 40 hours a week, it will cost $600-800 a week. I have not found a daycare in the area that charges more than $300 a week. If it costs more than that to run an infant room, then it seems to me (although I am not an economist) that the market would bear a higher cost because there is so much demand and the alternative costs a lot more.
Perhaps daycares could have a sliding scale of tuition based on income, with those of us who can afford it gladly paying more to get all the benefits of a daycare (socialization, structured learning, reliability, etc.) and hopefully creating more spots for everyone!
Liv Herdman

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