Costs—Daycare, Preschool, All-Day Kindergarten (broken links)

Measure all costs
2001. Lynn A. Karoly et. al. Rand Corporation – article: “Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Early
Childhood Interventions”
(follow links to download full report)

Full Costs Never Openly Discussed or Grossly Underestimated

I don’t have a dollar figure
Dr. Hillel Goelman, Director
Human Early Leaning Partnership, UBC
The Province, Sep 27, 2000

$10 billion annually which is still less than 1% of GDP
Canadian Union of Public Employees (broken link)

$8,500 per year per child
“The Benefits & Costs of Good Child Care”
What are the dollar costs of a Unidaycare Centre System? Cleveland & Krashinsky, Univ. of Toronto

The OECD recommended that Canada boost its child care spending to the OECD average of about 0.4 per cent of GDP
“Daycare: the debate over space” Feb 11/09 CBC (broken link)

We encourage efforts to bring overall Canadian access and expenditure up to the OECD levels“:

Some Dollar Figures

Sweden 2007

$26,972 per year per child age 1-5
Assoc. of Swedish Regional and Municipal Governments
See below:

Quebec 2005

$15,700/yr/space paid to non-profit centres per child 0-18 months $11,500/yr/space 18-59 months but…. operating costs only “Low Fee Regulated Childcare Policy CIRPEE” (broken link) p22 footnote


$50,000,000 – one-time government contribution for staff pensions

Quebec 1999

$1,000,000 6 months of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in daycare kids18-36 months Can. Paediatric Society. “Health implications of children in child care centres Part B: Injuries and infections” (broken link)


Fees charged – up to $70/day $18,000+/yr – cover only 50% of centre operating costs. (broken link)

BC 1999

$1,217/month ($14,604/yr) for infant/toddler care
$8,592/yr 3 to 5 year olds
$3,816/yr school-age children but…
operating costs only
BC Government, Building a Better Future for BC’s Kids, p.4, 1999

US military daycare 1998

2002. Gail L. Zellman. Rand Corporation – report: Examining the Cost of Military Child Care (follow links to download full report)

US$ 15,217/yr infants
$11,827 2 year olds
$7,679 6-12. Excluded: capital, rent, large repairs, regulation

Full Costs Include…

Costs measured should include not only budgetary costs but off-budget social resources (such as the value of donated time or space) that could have been used for other purposes.
2001. Lynn A. Karoly et. al. Rand Corporation – article: “Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Early
Childhood Interventions”
(follow links to download full report)

All Subsidies

$ from all 3 levels of govt.
$ for free/below market rent, utilities, etc
$ in-kind and cash donations
$ volunteer and student practicum time
$ from religious institutions & other charities
$ from universities
For example, UBC pays rent, administration, janitorial and repair services for its daycare worth “$1,800 per space per year NOT including rent.”
“Child Care Directors’ Report to Daycare Council Annual General Meeting” 2006

Daycare/Preschool Centre Operation

$ for insurance, administration, rent, repairs, cleaning
$ for staff: wages, benefits, pensions, volunteers’ time
$ for furnishings, supplies, heat, light, utilities, food


$ for building(s), land, renovations, major repairs


$ for diplomas, degrees, in-service, upgrading


$ for related ministries, monitoring, licensing, inspection, research


$ for child & parent illness, absenteeism, “super-bugs”

Loss of Unpaid Workers

$ as policy discourages parental child care: value for lost unpaid care-work for elderly & disabled, as well as lost volunteer-time for schools, Scouts, arts, sports, religious, political and cultural organizations

No Economies of Scale

Full costs mean there are no “economies of scale” in centre-based child care/learning.

Institutional child care/learning has many special costs caused by the type of care itself due to:

  • hygiene concerns
  • safety concerns
  • the need for training when dealing with groups of unrelated children
  • the fact children are cared for by people their parents don’t know

There is also a massive duplication of resources available in homes, parks, community centres, libraries, eg:

  • space
  • furnishings, toys, supplies

Daycare/Preschool Utopia Not Found

High Quality Universal Care & Learning?

Even Sweden admits “a problem of quality”, “too few staff”, etc. “Pre-school in Transition”
See KF data collation: Articles and Research by Kids First—Volume 1

Improved Child Outcomes Lower Social Costs?

Not after 40+ yrs of Head Start in the US inner cities or after 30+ yrs in Sweden or £3 billion of Sure Start in the UK or 10 yrs in Quebec

Social Cohesion?

Not in race-riot-prone France after years of near universal preschool

More Bang for the Buck



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