So I'm in grad school for public policy and taking a class that involves family and social policy. According to the official "cost of raising a child" charts that are used to calculate all sorts of social services, including child support, a single parent household earning less than $56,000 per year pays about $1,290 per year in child care costs for a 0 - 2 year old and $1,700 per year for child care costs for a 3 - 5 year old. The figures are about the same for a married household in the same income bracket.
My official, academic policy response to those numbers is somewhere between "Oh, that's BS" and "WTF?!?". I recognize that some people get government assistance towards child care (in my city the line to get childcare assistance is about as long as the line for subsidized housing), I know some people get family members to take care of the child for free, some people manage to avoid the need for childcare by working from home, etc. But in general, if you're not lucky enough to have a grandma who just wants to watch the child full-time for free, and you're either on the list or don't qualify for child care assistance, there's basically no way to pay less than at least $500 per month, which is $6,000 per year. I wound up getting about $600 back on my taxes for childcare expenses, but it barely made a dent in the cost.
So I'm curious. What do you guys pay for childcare, per child, for kids who are not yet in kindergarten?