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Study: Hoosiers spend nearly 16% of income on child care

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new study by LendingTree shows Hoosiers are spending 15.8% of their income on child care alone.

That’s 2% lower than the national average as many single parents trying to balance work with taking care of their kids.

“To get good quality care, you’re going to have to pay that top dollar,” said Kelly Ruse, a single mom of two. “You’re right back at square one, at the bottom, paying up to $1,400 a month in child care.” 

I-Team 8 first met Ruse last summer when she was struggling to pay for child care after being losing her job during the pandemic. Since then, she says, things haven’t gotten any easier.

Ruse says she’s leaned on her parents to help her and her kids out, but understands that not everyone has that kind of help. “Give yourself grace. Rise with grace, love yourself (and know) that we’re all in it together. You feel like you’re all alone, but you’re really not.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 104,000 people in October missed work nationwide because of child care problems, marking a record high.

I-Team 8 found recent data shows those numbers are starting to climb again in the last month alone.

Dionne Brown, founder of Single Parent Connection, said, “A lot of us now have to determine whether or not we keep working, where most of our check is going toward child care, or if we quit our job, and then we now become dependent on federal resources to try to help us make it through. So, it’s really a system that’s set up to make single parents fail.”

Single Parent Connection is a nonprofit that works to provide resources, such as classes on budgeting and credit management, for families. Ultimately, Brown says the organization is a community source. “Single parents can get to know other single parents and maybe work together and coordinate schedules where, you know, maybe one will babysit for the other and that type of thing.”