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Child care costs exceed rent for some El Paso parents

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EL PASO, Texas - Child care costs are skyrocketing across the country and in El Paso. The average household monthly income in the borderland is a little more than $57,000. The Economic Policy Institute said the average El Paso family--two parents, two kids--needs about $4,600 a month for an adequate standard of living.

The average monthly cost of child care for a household with just one kid is more than $700, or almost 15 percent of the average monthly income. You could pay 90 percent of tuition at most 4-year colleges in Texas with that kind of money.

According to the study, infant care is even more expensive. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, infant care costs exceed the average cost of in-state college tuition at public 4-year institutions.

Local mom Heather Wyatt has two boys in day care. She said it's one of her biggest expenses.

"Because it's almost as much as rent," Heather Wyatt laughed. "If they both went full time it would be around $1,000 a month."

"Is there anything other than rent you can compare it to that's about the same cost?" CBS4 Daybreak reporter Ashley Claster asked.

"My car payment! It's less taking them half time but it would be more if it was full time," Wyatt said.
For families with two kids, the report shows child care costs exceed rent in 500 out of 618 areas they studied. But Wyatt said the care her boys get is well worth the cost.

"They have a really good school program that my older child goes to. When we first moved to El Paso, I was actually taking him to a personal lady. When he switched to the school, he just excelled in his learning," Wyatt said. "Even the potty training. You know, he was potty trained at home but not there. But when I took him to school-- completely potty trained. Every day he's learning something new."

To see the full report from the Economic Policy Institute, click here.

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