Nonprofit View: The cost of quality child care

The cost of child care for a typical family in Carroll County is a staggering 19.3 percent of their annual income, according to Maryland Child Care Demographics Report. Young families struggle with work-life balance, stagnant wages and the cost of quality child care.

As a nonprofit, Carroll Child Care and Learning Center serves families of all income levels to discover, learn and grow. CCCLC blends private and public funding streams of tuition, donations, grants and state-subsidized tuition as a participant in MSDE EXCELS, a tiered quality rating system. CCCLC is proud to achieve the highest EXCELS rating which allows for the greatest reimbursement level. Our families are enrolled in a high-quality early child care and education program.


CCCLC, along with Access Carroll, The Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County, Mission of Mercy and Human Services Program receive United Way of Central Maryland funding. United Way specifically funds workforce development through the Sliding Scale Tuition Relief Program. This program benefits families earning up to 300 percent of the poverty level — $73,800 for a family of four — with reduced tuition. The Sliding Scale funds pay the difference of the full cost of tuition.

How does this make a difference for a family with young children?

The Sliding Scale benefit allows a family member to attend a training course at the Business and Economic Resource Center for better employment opportunities. One parent shared proudly, "I can improve my family's future and take care of them with a new job."

Sliding Scale offers a single parent the financial resources to better afford food which is typically more than 10 percent of a family's annual income. Food insecurity is a sincere challenge as evidenced by more than 20 food pantries in the county and 19 more in Carroll County Public Schools. All children enrolled at CCCLC enjoy two USDA approved meals and a snack daily. The chef cooks on-site and serves seasonal fresh foods at no additional cost to families. Children receive two-thirds of their daily food intake each day.

Typical annual housing costs require 25 percent of a family's income. Reducing the cost of child care with the Sliding Scale benefit increases the available financial resources for a safe home and adequate housing.

The workforce development funds received through United Way of Central Maryland benefit multiple families throughout the year so that their children have a high quality care and education setting. Families who earn up to 300 percent of the poverty guideline qualify for the Sliding Scale Tuition Relief benefit. Reducing their child care costs increases the family's health and well-being with greater financial resources for food, housing and living expenses. Private and public funding woven together create high quality care within the financial reach of families of all income levels.

CCCLC is currently accepting Sliding Scale Applications.

Do you have a passion for supporting young families in the community? Donate to CCCLC and the United Way of Central Maryland, volunteer at the Center, refer a family or job seeker, inquire about an internship or join the Board of Directors. Contact Kara McFalls, Executive Director at Visit us at and like us on Facebook.

Each Monday, the Carroll County Times will publish a column from a local nonprofit, allowing them to share information about their organization and the issues facing it. To be considered, email with the subject line "Nonprofit View."