Every step you need to afford child care in Seattle

Paying for child care isn't easy, but not impossible.

In Seattle, the high cost of child care often comes as no surprise. It is, after all, one of the top 10 most expensive cities in the country, and also ranks eighth nationwide for highest child care costs. But for working families, figuring out how to afford child care every month for one or multiple children is a major source of ongoing stress.

The good news is that you can expect to pay the most at the beginning if you plan to enroll in infant care. Child care for infants is, by far, the most expensive age group. After that, the cost decreases as your child gets older.

If you need help finding quality programs in your area that fit your family's needs and fit your budget, let us help! LegUp matches you to care and notifies you when seats open up at your favorite programs.

Here are 5 steps you can take to help you figure out your budget and afford child care:

  1. Find out if you qualify for a subsidy. Every state offers financial assistance to families in need of child care who qualify due to income or participation in a school or training program. Our financial assistance calculator will help you understand if you may be eligible for child care assistance from your city or state.

  2. Know your program options. You might have your heart set on a program that's at the top of your budget, but before you make a potentially stressful financial commitment, be sure to explore all of your options and read about the different types of child care programs.

  3. Tour programs to find the right fit for your family. Both virtual and in-person tours are valuable opportunities to meet with the program's staff. It's a chance to ask questions, find out what makes that program unique, and will help you narrow down your search and ensure that when you do enroll, it's at a program that is best suited for your family's needs. With The Child Care Concierge, it's easy to schedule and manage tours online—without even having to pick up the phone.

  4. Build your child care support system. Child care isn't one-size-fits-all, and it's important to have a care plan in place that works for your family.

  5. Contact your local CCR&R or state agency. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of child care in your local community. Give your local CCR&R or state agency a call. These free resources exist to help connect families in need of care and child care providers. They'll also help you figure out if you qualify for financial assistance. Find yours here.


We know it can be discouraging to tour a fantastic program and sit patiently on a waitlist—only to find out that you can't afford the tuition when a seat finally opens up. But by taking these steps ahead of time and making use of the resources available to you like your local CCR&R and The Child Care Concierge, you'll be able to find a program that fits your needs and your budget.