It’s cheaper to send your child to college than to day care in Georgia. What state lawmakers plan to do this summer to help 

Jun 05, 2024
Key Points
  • Child care in Georgia costs more than college tuition.
  • State lawmakers will look at ways to curb child care costs.

Working parents in Georgia spend, on average, $20,732 a year for an infant and 4-year-old in a child care center, according to Child Care Aware of America, an organization that works for more affordable child care. 

That’s about $1,000 more than they spend on housing. In fact, child care in Georgia is more expensive than one year of college tuition, which averages about $8,306 in Georgia. 

Access to affordable child care in Georgia worsened after the COVID-19 pandemic, leading day care centers to close. 

The end of the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package to help businesses and families through the pandemic, also affected child care in the Peach State. Georgia got nearly $1 billion in stimulus money for child care needs. 

The fiscal year 2025 budget, which goes into effect July 1, includes $4.6 million to increase reimbursement rates for the Childcare and Parent Services Program, which helps low-income families with child care costs. 

Lawmakers hope that with a combination of state and federal funds, reimbursement rates for child care providers will improve Georgia’s standing nationwide. 

In addition to those measures, state lawmakers will spend the summer listening to experts and looking for ways to help working parents deal with child care needs. 

The Senate Study Committee on Access to Affordable Child Care will “examine current policies and practices to identify barriers to affordable child care and explore innovative solutions to make sure Georgia families have access to quality, affordable child care service,” according to a Senate Office statement issued Monday. 

“Access to quality child care is fundamental for the well-being of our working families and the development of our children,” said Sen. Brian Strickland, R-McDonough, who will chair the seven-member committee. “This committee will work diligently over the coming months to find solutions that make child care more accessible and affordable for all Georgians.” 

 Strickland was unavailable for further comment.

Other committee members are Sen. Matt Brass, R-Newnan; Sen. Clint Dixon, R-Gwinnett; Sen. Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia; Sen. Derek Mallow, D-Savannah; Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta; and Sen. Michael “Doc” Rhett, D-Marietta.

The committee is expected to present its findings and recommendations to the general assembly later this year.

Impact on child care IN GEORGIA due to end of the American Rescue Plan Act: By the Numbers

With no more federal pandemic relief money coming in, here’s the likely impact on child care in Georgia:

  • Child care jobs lost: 10,575 
  • Child care programs closed: 944
  • Children without child care: 80,000+ 
  • Lost wages for parents without child care options: $218 million 

Source: Senate Resolution 471

The COST of Care: child care vs. other household COSTS in Georgia

Here’s what it costs, on average, for a year of child care, housing and college.

Child care: $20,732*

College: $8,306 (per semester)

Housing: $19,680

*For an infant and a 4-year-old in a child care center.

Source: Child Care Aware of America, 2023


Title: Georgia state senator representing District 17, which includes parts of Clayton and Henry counties

Residence: McDonough

Age: 40

Education: Bachelor of Business Administration degree in economics from Valdosta State University; Juris Doctor from the Florida Coastal School of Law

Occupation: Attorney

Family: He and his wife, Lindsay Perdue Strickland, have two sons.

Want to know more about child care concerns and potential solutions? Find out below:

From Barriers to Bridges: Expanding Access to Child Care and Improving Upward Mobility for Georgia’s Child Care Workers

Child Care at a Standstill: Price and Landscape Analysis

Have questions? Contact Tammy Joyner on X @lvjoyner or at [email protected].