If you have small kids in child care you already know that it doesn't come cheap.
On average, parents in Minnesota pay nearly $12,000 a year for infant child care.
Factor in household income and Minnesota rates as the least affordable state for infant care, beating out Massachusetts and California.
But you can't put a price on the joy Belen Dominguez is bringing her mother Antonia.
But that joy doesn't transfer over to Antonia's search for quality daycare.
"I have seen the prices, they are extremely expensive, especially for newborns."
And especially in Minnesota where it averages nearly $12,000 a year compared to $8,300 a year in Wisconsin, and $5,200 a year in North Dakota.
Alabama ranked as the most affordable state for day care with residents paying $3,800 a year for infant daycare.
Colleen Cook, Director of the Community Child Care Center in Minneapolis - says Minnesota's day care regulations are more stringent and costly than most other states. In Minnesota one adult can supervise no more than four infants, her center's ratio is even better.
"Ninety-two percent of our budget goes to staff salaries, benefits and wages and many of our staff work at below poverty level wages," said Cook.
Yet Cook acknowledges rising costs and fewer state and federal subsidies are driving some parents out of the market.
Minnesota's licensed daycare providers — which currently number about 12,000 — have declined by nearly one thousand in the past 14 months.
"We're certainly not seeing those childcare centers make a lot of money, they operate on average at less than a one percent profit margin," said Cook.
The new report - sponsored by a children's advocacy group - calls for more government help to keep daycare affordable.
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By Boyd Huppert, KARE 11 News
(Copyright 2006 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)