Getting Childcare Under a Tight Budget

Dec. 8, 2012 / By

The first five years of a child’s life is when they grow and develop the most. So it’s very important to find the best childcare possible during these times. There are places to get affordable childcare in Central Long Beach, but there isn’t enough licensed care for as many children as there are, and many private nurseries don’t care for infants.

While most parents don’t want to compromise with the care of their children, many working parents can’t afford full-time care to enrich the lives of their little ones without state-subsidization.

“Even though there are places that quoted me as little as $25 per child per day, I don’t trust anyone to watch my children but myself,” said Tiffany Perez, a Central Long Beach resident with three children, two of whom are under 5-years-old.

Perez stays home to watch her three children, and often looks after her friend’s infant son. For all four children that Perez watches to attend a licensed childcare facility would cost $466 at most full-price childcare facilities.

“Long Beach is not the best city to raise a kid,” said Perez, who lives off of Pacific Coast Highway near Long Beach City College. For that reason, even if Perez could afford licensed care for her children, she’d still rather watch them herself.

But for people who work and or go to school, paying for childcare is the only option. For those parents seeking childcare, VoiceWaves has compiled a short list of affordable options. Click on the image below to enlarge the list.

There are several subsidized child care facilities in Long Beach that provide licensed care for little-to-no cost for families that qualify. State subsidized childcare facilities use a sliding scale of fees determined by the State of California Department of Education.

Individuals or families that make between $2167 and $3908 dollars per month are eligible for childcare as low as $2 per day.

Families earning less than $2167 per month are eligible for free care at places like the Garfield Child Development Center on Baltic Avenue in West Long Beach and the Long Beach Day Nursery on Chestnut Avenue in Central Long Beach. Individuals who do not qualify for reduced-rate care may still be allowed to enroll their children in a full-cost program.

For help discovering and understanding all of your options for childcare, the city of Long Beach has established a hotline. The Child Care Referral hotline can be reached at (562) 256-7490 Monday-Friday, 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.


Why is finding childcare so challenging and important?

In the areas of Central and West Long Beach, the median household income is approximately $30,000 per year. The average cost of full-time childcare in California for 2012 was $7.4k annually. For the average resident of Central Long Beach, full-time childcare for 2012 could cost an average more than 24 percent of their income.

This is significantly more than the average Californian, who will spend only 14 percent of their income this year on childcare, according to CNN financial reports.

If you live in Central or West Long Beach and have just one child,  rent and childcare for one month of full-time work will cost you about $2,000. This means a single parent would need to make $11 per hr and work 180 hours a month just to break even.

Pam Shaw, the Nursing Services Officer for the City of Long Beach Heath and Human services Department knows the pressure of parenting in a situation like the one above can be difficult.

“The people who watch your children during this time will affect important things like how they look at their diet,” Shaw said. “If you work 40 hours a week, they may even see your kids more than you do.”

For these reasons, Shaw said that even though licensed care facilities have superior access to ‘under-5-resources’ like federal grant money, what is most important is that your children grow in a warm and nurturing environment, where a nutritious diet is encouraged and available.

“Establishing good dietary habits can’t be emphasized enough with diabetes rates being the way they are,” Shaw said.

Both subsidized facilities and a handful of others are highlighted in the chart. The accompanying map demonstrates the need for childcare access in the neighborhoods discussed and was created using free tools from

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Patrick Moreno

Patrick Moreno is a graduate of the CSULB department of journalism. He wrote for the Daily 49er and spent more than a year with VoiceWaves reporting on the diverse communities of Long Beach. Originally from Ventura California, Moreno studied photography for 5 years before transferring to CSULB to work on his writing. At the heart of his work is Moreno's love for culture and the arts, but it is through factual and fair reporting that he hopes to transform his community into a place where people can express themselves and continue to thrive. Patrick is also a musician, artist and photographer, beach bum, and capoerista!