Childcare comes in the form of another parent, your own extended family, or fee for service, often at an hourly rate. The right answer for you and your child(ren) depends on several factors: local resources available to you, your family situation including the occupation of the other parent should you be so lucky to have one involved (for both scheduling and income reasons), and the number of children involved. Ask your friends and colleagues for references and suggestions. It is critical to have good childcare, whether it is family, a nanny, daycare, or some combination of all of those. You will need not only a plan for childcare, but also some depth to that plan in case of illnesses or virtually daily minor emergencies of one sort or another.

No matter which option you choose, your childcare is likely to cost money so be sure to take advantage of dependent care accounts (DCA) if your employer offers this benefit. DCA is a program for employees who are parents which allows a certain amount of childcare or dependent care expenses to be paid for with pre-tax dollars. Many schools and employers have information regarding this service on their human services websites. DCA is not an automatic employee benefit. You must first know about its existence and then actively seek out and enroll in the program. Once you have enrolled, it makes financial sense to choose the maximum annual deduction. A human resources employee should contact you annually for you to re-enroll.


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