BLOOMINGTON, Ill., — Childcare costs in Illinois are as high as college tuition.
Research from the Economic Policy Institute states that the average annual cost of infant care in Illinois is $13,802, which is $1,150 per month.
It’s one of the biggest expenses families face and is just $160 less than in-state tuition for a four-year public college.
Lisa Phrather, a local baby sitter, had a miscarriage years ago. After finding out she was unable to have children she found a job that would fill that void and her pockets. Since then she found work as an in-home baby sitter and has been providing her services for over nine years.
“I been with them for a very long time, I love this family they are family to me,” Phrather said.
She said although the pricing is expensive, it’s reasonable for the services they provide and that the Koshy family understands.
“Prices are getting high definitely no doubt, but you need to think from either side because if the cost of living is increasing for me it’s increasing for them too,” father of the children, Alex Koshy said.
Although she loves her job, Phrather admits it doesn’t get all the bills paid. She nannies for two families while working a job on the side to make ends meet.
“I have to think about paying for my own housing, my own car, my insurance, I have to think about food, I have to think about my health insurance,” Phrather said.
Koshy said a baby sitters job isn’t easy.
“I would say it’s one of the toughest jobs because this is summertime and fortunately I’m home now so I get to see what it takes to keep the kids engaged the whole day,” he said.
Daycare can be equivalent to a full day of school.
“I think it’s fair just because…they feed the kids during the day and they have structured activities that they do with the children every day it’s almost like sending them off to school,” Phrather said.
“It’s not easy for an adult to spend seven or eight hours like a kid with them and keep them entertained,” Koshy said.
Phrather says government financial assistance is available for some families who need childcare services but are struggling to afford it.