DaycareDebt | Sara Kean: $47K a year for daycare

Life is hectic and fun in Sara Kean's household, but the fun stops when it comes to the subject of daycare.

DaycareDebt: Sara Kean $47,000 a year for childcare

8 years ago
Duration 2:12
Sara Kean has a son who's almost five and one-year-old twins. She has to pay $47,000 a year in daycare

Life is hectic and fun in Sara Kean's household, but the fun stops when it comes to the subject of daycare.

Sara and her husband Rod have a son, Max, who is almost 5, and one-year-old twins, Nathan and Beth.

They already had experience trying a number of different daycare arrangements for Max, but when the twins came along, things became even more complex, and incredibly expensive. 

"When we called in the beginning and put the kids on the waitlist and stuff, you're not even thinking financially at that point either — 'Well, we need to put them somewhere.' So we get them on the waitlist … and then you start looking into the cost, and you realize what the cost for what you're waiting for is, and 'Oh my gosh,'" Kean said.

The 'oh my gosh' amounts to $47,000 a year for all three children, if they all get into the same facility. The thought of having to spend that amount caused an emotional reaction when Kean found out what the bill would be.

"Oh my goodness. Tears. Looking at alternative types of care. We looked at possibly having a nanny come in, but when you look at all the logistics to that, it just didn't work for us," she said.

"Essentially, [the $47,000 is] more than half our income. So without family help, which we have been offered to help subsidize that, we would not be able to afford that care," she said.

Kean is a records administrator at the Public Utilities Board, while her husband is a GPS technician with a high-tech company in St. John's.

It will cost $47,000 in daycare fees for Nathan Kean, his brother Max and sister Beth. (CBC)

"We wouldn't be able to eat the way we're used to eating, and although we're still going to have to take a cut in that area, I can't imagine not being able to feed my children the types of healthy food that I have been feeding them and that Max was able to grow up on, that breaks my heart," she said.

"We have bills … we've already cut back over the years, like cable and things like that. You need to have a phone, you need to have heat, electricity, we need to have our house to live in. So there's not a lot of places where we can cut back."

Kean acknowledges that this will be the worst year for costs, because the fees will be at their highest level for the two infants and an older child who still needs full time care. But she says it's a matter of balancing future needs with current needs.

"We just can't leave our jobs, it's just not an option. We have to find some way to pay for care for our children. And that's when family stepped up and offered to help us out, which again brought tears," she said.

"We make good money; we have great jobs. It blows my mind actually — the whole situation blows my mind."

Kean's father-in-law has offered to give the family money each month, and her mother will come in and help with the kids.

The extra help means they won't have to sacrifice quite so much, but even with "that amazing amount of help," she said it's still quite a lot of money that they're going to have to do without.