Childcare in Chicago

I used to think that it might be difficult to find good childcare for my daughter downtown. Difficult. What an amazingly weak word for such a huge understatement. I had this entire week off to take care of the misc. stuff that piles up on you when you’re a full time worker bee with a kid at home. The only thing I got done in the past 4 days was to research daycare centers.

This is probably the most difficult task I’ve had to perform the entire time I’ve lived here. I found an OBGYN right away when I was pregnant. She was my doctor’s doctor. And I found a divorce attorney in a day. She worked with one of my friend’s brothers. Quick word of mouth and good impressions. I suppose I was lucky. But when it comes to finding a place to leave the most precious person in your life, I’m amazed at what is out there.

The first thing I did, not knowing where else to start, was to literally drive up and down the streets of my area of town. I found a couple of places this way, both way out of my price range. -Which brings me to another point, how do you put a price on this?

Most private centers require up front fees of around $450-$600 for registration fees and deposit. Then the full month is due as well, making the total due for the first day of care around $1600 right off the bat. Difficult for a single mom to swallow.

One place gave me a copy of a local publication put out by Action for Children. AFC is a local non-profit dedicated to providing referrals for daycare centers, and also financial aid if you qualify. I’m a middle-class gal, making too much to qualify for help, but not enough to pay those high fees on my own, so I started looking to friends for direction. Thankfully I wandered into our neighborhood cafe where I lit up when I remembered that the owners’ son was about the same age as my daughter. They referred me to a truly lovely older woman who has a daycare in her home. No deposit, she’s fully licensed (important if you want to take that tax deduction), and what’s most important, she seems very loving and sweet. My girl starts on Monday.

Here’s the broad strokes of what I learned in my search:

– Anyplace you go will require an up-to-date physical and shots record from your child’s doctor.
– You may also need a copy of their birth certificate and their social security card.
– If you earn less than $30k a year, there are TONS of resources out there. Action for Children and Head Start are just a couple. Even if you don’t qualify for financial help, Action for Children will provide you with a long list of referrals in your zip code for no cost as well as a check list of things to look for when you’re reviewing locations.
– If you fall in that middle-income bracket as I do, you might consider private in-home care. Most times they don’t require the hefty fees, the child-to-adult ratio will be much less (My gal has 8 kids and 3 adults caring for them.) and they’ll be in a more home-like atmosphere.

Good luck!

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.