SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- The Santa Barbara City Council heard a United Way presentation on regional child care issues on Tuesday.
Councilmember Oscar Guttierrez, who doesn't have children, called it eye-opening. Guttierrez said the high cost of child care is a challenge for parents of young children. He hopes the council can find ways to help.
United Way shared information from a study that they received funding for from Santa Barbara and Goleta.
The study found the need for affordable, quality childcare for children ages five and under remains a challenge.
The average local monthly cost for full-time care for an infant is $1,481 and for a preschooler is $1,194.
It would cost 37% of the median household monthly income for Santa Barbara County parents with a preschooler and an infant in full-time care.
The high cost makes it difficult for both parents or a single parent to work outside the home.
Demand for space is also an issue.
More than 9,000 children are in need of care and more than 2,000 parents have signed up to be on child care waitlists.
There is a shortage of child care providers. Those surveyed said inadequate pay hinders recruitment.
United Way recommended appointing a coalition of stakeholder groups and community leaders to adopt a child care action plan.
A childcare coordinator would also be part of the plan to address the needs parents and children.