Squeezed Parents Dump Daycare

Kids often home alone, but cost 'ludicrous' if 'you can't afford rent'
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2008 2:43 PM CST
Children from a daycare are escorted in Harlem, New York on Wednesday, Aug. 1,2007. Many daycare centers, especially those catering to lower- and middle-income families, are seeing declining demand.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – As the tanking economy squeezes parents with skyrocketing unemployment and foreclosures, experts are noticing that it's the little children who suffer—in the form of fast-emptying daycare centers. As the Washington Post reports, strapped families desperate to cut costs are pulling their kids out of programs that can cost hundreds a month, sometimes leaving them home alone, or with barely older siblings. "We talk about day care, but that's ludicrous when you can't even afford to pay your rent," says one Maryland pastor.

The president of a daycare providers' association says she's never seen such an exodus, noting significant vacancies in centers that always had a waiting list. "They're taking them out of day care and putting them into homes with grandmothers and neighbors and whoever else," she said.