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Good Question: Who Is Caring For Our Kids?

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Returning to work after having a child can be a stressful time for many parents – from worrying to about childcare to simply worrying about their child.

“I cried when I dropped him off, because he was sad and I cried when I picked him up and he didn’t want to come home,” said Stephanie Dosser of Minneapolis.

According to Child Care Aware, almost 11 million children under the age of 5 are in some type of child care. On average, time spent there is about 36 hours a week and those costs can add up. Minnesota has the second highest daycare costs in the country, almost $14,000 a year for an infant in formal day care.

The majority of parents work outside the home, a number that’s been increasing over the past three decades. Just under a third of parents stay at home, and it’s still mostly mothers who provide a bulk of the child care.

But data from the U.S. Census finds that when parents with children under age 5 are employed, many (26 percent) turn to relatives. Grandparents make up the majority (21 percent) of those caregivers followed by siblings (5 percent).

“From what I hear from our friends, there seems to be a lot more grandparents getting involved,” said Dan Vassar of Shorewood. His wife stays home with their three daughters after deciding daycare was too expensive.

After relatives, formal daycare, like a center or preschool, comes in second at 25 percent. Parents (22 percent) also juggle their schedules to provide care. Home daycares account for 10 percent of childcare and 3 percent of families have a non-relative come to their home.

“It’s hard,” said Bridget Pavlish of Champlain. Her family uses an in-home daycare close to her home.

“You’re leaving your loved one with someone you don’t really know and you have to trust that they’re going to take good care of your kid.”

Many parents report patching together different types of childcare as the costs have increased 70 percent since the mid-1980s.

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