Utah has provided state subsidies for parents who need child care services, but there are requirements set by the state Department of Workforce Services (DWS) to determine the actual amount of financial assistance.
Location affects the price especially in places with a high cost of living. For instance, the cost of child care in Taylorsville can be cheaper than in Salt Lake City despite the two cities being in the same county. In fact, it may cost around $1,065 per month to afford a public day care service in Salt Lake City for children between three and four years old.
Why It’s Expensive
In some areas like Cedar City, child care expenses are mostly unaffordable because of fewer facilities. DWS data showed that there are only 20 in-home and commercial service providers in the city. Single parents struggle the most to find quality yet affordable care for their kids. Most of them rely on the state’s child care assistance payment particularly when they need to work.
Some schools plan to help with the shortage by building more facilities. In the meantime, a good way to reduce your expenses requires you to apply for state grants and subsidies. Take note that DWS will only subsidize child care assistance payment up to 85% of the state’s average income for a four-member household. According to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Clearinghouse, the median income for fiscal 2018 amounted to around $74,437.
Are You Eligible for Subsidies?
Child care support for parents who are looking for work is the most common subsidy program in Utah. Single parents often avail this option when they meet certain requirements, such as working for at least 15 hours on average every week. It can be challenging for single parents to divide their time between work and taking care of their children.
But the real obstacle happens when the state takes away the subsidy when their income exceeds the threshold amount. For instance, a single mother who receives $825 per month for child care support reportedly became ineligible after getting a salary increase. This scenario isn’t likely uncommon among single mothers, as recent data showed that single mothers served as the heads of 37,690 households in the state in 2018.
If your income doesn’t fall within the required amount by the DWS, the next best thing to do involves a negotiated deal with a child care provider. While it can be more difficult for a day care center to agree with hourly payment, try to ask if they can accommodate your request.
In case that’s not possible, asking help from family and friends can be an alternative. Child care as an employment benefit serves as another option. Some companies offer this perk to attract and retain qualified talents.
Utah provides parents with different subsidy programs for child care services so consider applying for one as a cost-saving measure. Look for a preschool or day care center in smaller cities where prices can be more affordable than major metro areas.