We spent over $55,000 on just childcare in the first five years of our daughter’s life, and we were lucky enough to get childcare at any cost.  Having affordable and available childcare can be the difference between middle class and being in poverty.  In rural areas, the lack of childcare availability forces a lot of parents to leave the workforce or continue to stay home to care for their children, making it impossible for them to bring in the incomes that families need to thrive in our high cost of living.