Daycare dilemma

Parents must balance costs, benefits

By Blair Foy

For the past year, Kim Horn has been watching the economy affect how families and daycare providers do business.

In her 17th year as an in-home daycare provider in Eyota, Horn said that while there will always be a need for daycare, there is a clear change in what families are looking for.


"I’ve seen a few of my families have their work hours cut back and have went to part-time daycare," she said. "I recently had a family quit because her part-time hours weren’t enough to pay for her newborn and other kids in daycare."

With the average weekly costs of full-time daycare in Olmsted County ranging from $148 to $245 (in-home daycare versus a childcare center for an infant), Horn said she has noticed families and providers taking a hit with the current economy.

"It has definitely been a difficult year, the prices of everything have gone up," she said. "I did raise my rates at the end of last year because so many of my expenses were going up. I have definitely noticed some parents having a difficult time."

Locally, there’s been fewer people needing full-time daycare, said Patrick Gannon, executive director of Child Care Resource and Referral.

Despite the decline in full-time daycare, Barb Miller, the program director of Child Care Resource and Referral, said that many parents still need to balance the cost of daycare with the quality of the environment they choose for their child.

"Even in these difficult times, it is still important for parents who are looking for daycare to call us and find out what questions to ask," she said. "We can guide them in their decision and still find the best for what they can afford for their childcare."

According to Miller, parents need to keep the areas of learning, health and safety, management and communication in mind when considering a daycare for their child, whether it be at an in-home daycare or a childcare center. "Parents need to be as informed as possible as what questions to ask for," she said.

For Meg Deden, it took three attempts to find the perfect daycare for her 1-year-old son, Landon.


"It didn’t take me very long to find a daycare in all three situations," said Deden, of Rochester. "This daycare that we are at — he just loves."

While Deden’s experience is one that Gannon and Miller like to see, they said that any parent with questions about finding daycare in Olmsted County should feel free to contact Child Care Resource and Referral.

"Childcare is one of the most important choices parents make," Miller said. "Helping families better understand their choices is the mission of Child Care Resource and Referral."

Although the past year has been difficult for Horn, she says daycare is a profession she finds very rewarding.

"I enjoy the kids and watching them grow. They become a part of my family in a way, and their parents become my friends," she said. "It’s always a good feeling to know that parents trust me with the most important things in their lives."

Blair Foy is a St. Charles freelance writer.

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Child Care Resource and Referral

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