KTVQ: Lack of affordable child care in Montana pushing workers out of labor force

“The cost of child care is not only high in Montana, it’s high across the nation,” said Rhonda Schwenke, the program director for Montana Child Care Business Connect. “We know on average households pay just a little over $16,000 in child care annually. If you have multiple children in childcare, it adds up.”

Montana Child Care Business Connect, which contracts with the state health department, works with childcare providers offering resources to help businesses thrive.

“When there aren’t strong business practices or financial planning in place, people kind of just come and go because it’s very expensive,” Schwenke said. “The whole business model of child care is so expensive, which is why it costs families so much.”

But until that business model gets a complete makeover, the cost of child care will remain a hurdle for many parents.

“It’s a tough business, but it’s necessary to the economy,” Schwenke said. “Just thinking about alternate revenue sources, how can they bring in more revenue without raising rates for families.”

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