St. Petersburg Area Parents Are Struggling With Child Care Costs, Like Everywhere Else in the Nation

Local news for the St. Petersburg area reported on the high costs of child care and ways that working parents deal with this issue. When a parent has to pay for these costs as part of an order for child support, it can seriously affect their income and lifestyle.

Discussion regarding the problem of paying for child care

The story cited a poll in which 8 out of every 10 parents believe that affordable child care is a serious issue. About 77% of all parents also said that child care expenses have had a serious negative impact on their career and quality of life.

In the United States, there are about 15 million kids under the age of six who also have parents that are full-time workers. These problems have created a severe form of tension where it seems that people cannot realistically both fulfill their aspirations as workers and productive members of society while having young children. This coincides with the idea that many working-age women in America have sometimes had to put their careers on hold for years if they have children.

Employers also expressed concern that they may not have access to the best workers or those with a particular skill set if their ability to work is affected by child care costs. Most parents believe that the business world should be the primary entity to help their workers find some kind of affordable option to have their children watched as they work. As of this time, subsidies to employees have proven to be the best and most widely used option. Around 50% of all employers in the U.S. offer some kind of subsidy through a dependent care assistance plan. These kinds of plans may let parents claim $5,000 pre-tax.

Onsite child care has also become another popular option for businesses that have space and means to watch children at the workplace. When an employer does have onsite care programs available, the federal government gives them a tax credit that can be worth as much as $150,000 each year. Even if the child care center is not located on the actual job site, but contracted with a provider, businesses may receive the same credit from the government. Many critics in the business world claim that small and mid-sized employers are priced out of the market to help their employees with child care, as it is simply too expensive.

Some business leaders are tackling this problem head-on and trying to change the way it negatively impacts working parents. One partnership in North Carolina is in the process of creating early childhood learning programs, where children who are still too young to enter public schools will have access to a program that is a combination of schooling and daycare. This would be paid for by funding initiatives and subsidies from the private sector.

State laws are also being changed in some parts of the country to ease the burden on working parents. Business leaders were heavily involved in a movement in Alabama to make a public pre-kindergarten program available statewide. As of the time of the report, about 16,000 four-year-olds in the state are actively involved in the program. At the federal level, there are a number of proposed changes to tax credits that should also help parents.

Many who have advocated for reforms in child care costs argue that the country will experience a much better economic future if parents are no longer burdened with years of expensive daycare costs.

Legal obligations to pay for child care

If a parent is ordered to pay child support, daycare, or some other comparable form of childcare, it is one of the largest expenses that may be factored into this situation. An obligation to pay child support is a serious matter, and payments need to be made on time every month until the child turns 18 or finishes high school in Florida.

How is child support determined in Florida?

Child support payments are based on the parent’s respective incomes, percentage of overnights with the child, child care costs, and health insurance costs. The child support amounts are supposed to be sufficient to pay for all other necessary expenses. While dealing with all issues regarding custody and support, family courts use a standard called the best interests of the child to determine what will be most functional on a case by case basis.

When there are specific concerns related to child support and how daycare will be paid out of these amounts, it is best to contact a local lawyer to review your case.

Learn more from local lawyers

To speak with a family law attorney who serves St. Petersburg and nearby parts of Florida’s gulf coast, contact The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet. They can provide guidance related to child support, custody, alimony, and many other related family issues.