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A High-Low Look at the Cost of Child Care

The going rates for nannies, sitters and daycare

Child care can be expensive, but North Texas parents have an array of options. Whether you’re searching for occasional babysitting, a nanny who will chauffeur your kids and prep meals, or a center that will keep your littles occupied till the end of the workday, this sampling of services will give you a better idea of what child care costs where you live. 


$ Local Teen
Hire a teenager in your neighborhood for a single job or regular care.
Wage: $15 per hour is the average for up to three kids, according to local moms we surveyed. Some sitters accept less when kids are in bed and the sitter doesn’t have active responsibilities.
Other costs: None
Contact: Ask neighbors and friends, or check a neighborhood Facebook group.  

$$ Care.com
Sitters are listed online with hourly wage range, a short bio, photo, background check designations and sometimes reviews. Caregivers are not employed by Care.com, but to be eligible for listing, they must pass an annual screening.
Areas served: Varies by sitter
Member fee: Free basic family membership (see all sitters, post a job and take advantage of site tools, among other benefits); $39 for a month, $78 for 3 months and $156 for a year for premium membership (contact caregivers directly, access background checks and use other services) 
Wage: Varies. The average for babysitters hired through Care.com in Dallas: $15 per hour; Frisco: $14.25 per hour; Fort Worth: $13.50 per hour 
Other costs: None
Contact: care.com  

$$$ Mom’s Best Friend
Mom’s Best Friend provides fully vetted sitters who watch kids for date nights, school holidays, hotel care and other needs. Sitters are certified in first aid and CPR.
Areas served: Dallas-Fort Worth 
Member fee: $150 annual fee
Wage: $20 per hour
Other costs: Service fee of $35–$40 per job, depending on the job’s duration; drug testing available
Contact: 972/446-0500; momsbestfriend.com 

RELATED: Solutions for Work-From-Home Moms

Nanny Services 

$ eNannySource.com
This online job board lists available nannies, their rates and experience. Parents can also post listings when looking to hire a nanny.
Areas served: Varies by nanny
Member fee: To contact nannies and access background checks: $49 for one month; $39 per month for three months; $25 per month for six months
Wage: Varies; Most nannies in Texas expect a gross wage of $17–$24 per hour, cites  enannysource.com.
Other costs: Purchase background checks ($24–$94) and personality assessments ($39) for any nanny candidate, not only those found through the service.
Contact: 888/963-7561; enannysource.com 

$$ Mom’s Best Friend
This nanny agency creates custom job descriptions for member families and recruits candidates; those who pass a 10-step screening, including criminal background check, are shared for parents to interview. Nannies are certified in first aid and CPR.
Areas served: Dallas-Fort Worth
Member fee: $300 annual membership and placement fee of 15% of the nanny’s gross annual income
Wage: $23–$25 per hour; may be higher depending on number of children and nanny’s duties
Other costs: Drug testing available
Contact: 972/446-0500; momsbestfriend.com  

$$$ Trusting Connections 
Trusting Connections gives member families access to a pool of nannies (for parents needing flexibility in care hours) or a single nanny (for those who have a set schedule). Nannies are vetted by a private detective and drug tested, and they have training in first aid and CPR.
Areas served: Dallas-Fort Worth area, up to Denton to the west and McKinney to the east. See trustingconnections.com/dallas-fort-worth for a service map.
Member fee: $120 for 3 months using the nanny team up to $499 for a year with a consistent nanny
Wage: $31–$35 per hour, depending on number of children and ages
Other costs: $65 registration and consultation fee; that amount will be applied to a membership if you join.
Contact: 817/993-6288; trustingconnections.com  

Center-Based Care 

$ Lena Pope Early Learning Centers
These centers provide full-time Monday–Friday care, with a primary focus on serving working families. Lena Pope uses research-tested curriculum for early academics and emotional-behavioral skills. Campuses feature an outdoor Nature Explore classroom.
Locations: Main campus, 3200 Sanguinet Street, Fort Worth; UNT Health Science Center, 3620 Modlin Ave., Fort Worth
Ages served: 6 weeks–3 years for child care; pre-K also available 
Tuition: $300 per week for infants (up to 18 months); $275 per week for toddlers (18 months–3 years). Lena Pope accepts families with Tarrant County Child Care Management Services grant funding. Sliding-scale tuition is offered based on household income.
Other costs: None
Contact: Main campus, 817/255-2562; UNT Health Science Center, 817/569-6255; lenapope.org/early-learning-centers  

$$ KinderCare
The 27 KinderCare centers in Dallas-Fort Worth provide full-time daycare, part-time daycare, infant care, pre-K and more programs (offerings may vary by location). The center’s curriculum centers on early academics, physical activity and social-emotional learning, with plenty of play mixed in too.
Ages served: 6 weeks–12 years
Tuition: Average tuition in Dallas-Fort Worth ranges from $800–$1400 per month.
Other costs: None
Contact: 855/525-2780; kindercare.com  

$$$ Primrose Schools 
Full-time daycare, part-time care, infant care, pre-K and other programs are available at Dallas-Fort Worth’s 65 Primrose Schools (offerings may vary by location). Primrose Schools touts its dedication to “active minds, healthy bodies and happy hearts.”
Ages served: 6 weeks–6 years; afterschool care for kids through age 12 and summer programs for kids through fifth grade
Tuition: Varies by location, age and number of days enrolled. The upper end at the jointly owned Preston Hollow and new White Rock locations in Dallas is $400 a week, or $1,730 a month, for infants.
Additional costs: None for infants and toddlers 
Contact: primroseschools.com   

RELATED: Fitness Fixes with Childcare in DFW

More Child Care Options—and Where to Search

Churches often offer parent’s day out programs, which typically provide care for up to several hours a day, a couple of days a week. Home daycares—officially known as “child care homes”—provide group child care in the home of the primary caregiver. These programs are often among more affordable care options; the 2021 mean daily rate for full-day toddler care at a licensed child care home in Texas was $31, according to a University of Texas report. 

Texas Health & Human Services regulates center-based care as well as child care homes. Parent’s day out programs may be subject to regulation depending on the days and duration of care and the number of children in the program.  

To search for regulated child care providers, check out the state database at txchildcaresearch.org. You can search by city or other factors, and the database includes inspection and safety information. For advice on making an informed choice, search “Exploring Day Care” at hhs.texas.gov.

Bigger Tax Refund for Child Care 

If you paid for child care in 2021, you could get an sizable increase in your tax refund. Through a one-time (at least for now) expansion of the child and dependent care credit—part of the American Rescue Plan Act—parents are eligible to get up to 50% of child-care expenses back as a tax break or refund. The maximum expense you may use to calculate the credit is $8,000 for one child or $16,000 for two or more kids. Visit irs.gov for details. 

This article was originally published in February 2022.

Illustration: iStock