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Inflation affecting day care costs as parents worry about future

Reporter: Samantha Johns
Published: Updated:

A mother is outraged after day care prices were raised at a Cape Coral day care.

Brighton Academy, in Cape Coral, now costs $205 a week, up from $165 last year.

Nicole Roberts has another child on the way and said she is scared she will have to switch day care because her daughter’s bill is big.

Day care centers across Cape Coral said prices are increasing because of inflation. A local economist believes the rising costs are a result of the pandemic.

“I mean, I’ll be honest as we struggled to pay it because it’s so expensive,” Roberts said.

Her little one is enrolled at Brighton Academy in Cape Coral. In the last year, the weekly rate has gone up $25.

And now, Roberts said she think the day care will ask for another $15 a week.

“I mean, it’s not OK because it was effective July 1st. And that’s not OK. That was six weeks ago. So now I have to backtrack that,” Roberts said.

The going rate for day care in Cape Coral is about $200 a week.

Victor Claar, an economics professor at FGCU, said that number is going to keep rising.

“It sounds like a strange comparison,” Claar said. “The increases in the cost of childcare aren’t totally different from the increases in things like meals in a restaurant, because customers went away for a really long time. And rather than wait for the customers to come back, people who used to work in those industries went on to other things. ”

That’s what happened during the pandemic.

Some parents are shopping around, looking to bring someone into their homes to care for their kids.

But Roberts said she loves that her daughter is thriving at Brighton Academy. However, making ends meet is becoming harder.

“I mean, God, bacon’s $10 a pound now. We always used to have bacon in the house and now we don’t,” Roberts said. “It’s just another thing and then electricity around here. I mean, I feel like I’m suffocating.”

Claar said parents should spend 7% of their household income on childcare.

“And so it’s more important than ever for families to sit down, take a look at the money and consider what the alternatives might be,” Claar said.

He suggests applying for the childcare tax credit.

“If you have a couple of kids, you might qualify for $1,200. That’s not universal across the board. But it is something that families take into consideration when they’re deciding how much childcare they can afford,” Claar said.

WINK News reached out to Brighton Academy about their price increase but no one returned our call.