Originally Posted by cincinnati chili
Having a 2-year old, who has been in some form of day care since 12-weeks-old, I've looked at this issue closely. Around here (metro Denver) you can put your child in someone else's reputable, licensed home day care (6 kids or fewer) for $45/day - 10 hour days (e.g. 715-515) per kid. If you want someone with decent references who will submit to criminal background check (recommended) who will come to your house and watch 2 kids, you're talking $9-10/hour with minimum 8 hour days.
The way I look at it, all decent childcare people are grossly underpaid. My daughter is worth zillions (priceless). It's just that at some point it doesn't make sense for both my wife and I to work. A quarter of my wife's salary BEFORE taxes goes to our care provider.
I know a couple, good friends of mine, who actually pay just about her entire salary for child care. She has a wonderful job that she loves and it's important to her to work, and they also feel their children benefit from the socialization they get from their day care. But they are in an expensive Boston suburb, their children are both very young, and she works in non-profit. They're lucky that he has a very well-paid position, but her job is basically a financial wash for them. They understand that it's their choice, though, and I think they're happy to pay for the good child care they get, since they're the ones with their kids eight hours a day.