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Parents confront challenge of child care costs in Kansas City

Rising price tag affects families in KC
Nickole Skelton.png
Posted at 12:20 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 12:36:00-05

Nickole Skelton is now a stay-at-home mom — she can’t afford child care for her 3-year-old son.

“Two-hundred-fifty to almost $300 a week. It makes one of our incomes kind of obsolete when we need both incomes to pay all of our bills," she said.

She found an opportunity to be a nanny, not only to make up lost income, but to take care of her son.

“I’m nannying in the evenings just for a friend trying to help contribute the little bit I can," she said. "Plus is I get to take my son with me.”

Tracy Kilgore is in a similar situation. She made a career change to work in child care, in order to afford it.

“For like, a normal two-year-old it's $240 a week for childcare and I pay half of that, so I paid $240 every two weeks, but it still takes a good chunk of my paycheck," she said.

Juggling the job and being a mom takes a toll.

“[It's] hard to handle sometimes because… we all do get burnt out on it. I’m just tired and stressed and hearing kids cry at work all day versus hearing my own kids cry at home," Kilgore said. "It makes me sad because I’m not fully there for my child."

The cost of child care, and looking for solutions, is affecting the holiday season, too.

Skelton said it’s an anxious time for her and her family as she navigates a tight budget.

“I don't know what I'm going to be doing right now. We haven't Christmas shopped," she said. "That one's a struggle because I want to give my kids the best Christmas I can give them."

Many moms like Kilgore are stuck in their current situation for their child’s formative years, but remain hopeful for the future.

"I’ve kind of come to terms with the fact I'm probably going to be stuck in it for at least the next three years until he goes to kindergarten, but I'm hoping to make a career change and hopefully start going back to school," she said. "Once he goes to school, I can like leave child care for good."

Skelton said she’s hoping to take a night shift job to balance out child care duties at home with her partner.

Skelton and Kilgore are two of dozens of moms KSHB 41 heard from who are figuring out what to do on the fly.