RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new report from the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) found that child care is unaffordable for most Virginia families. 

The report found that child care is unaffordable for 85% of Virginia families with an infant, 82% of families with a toddler, and 74% of families with a preschool-age child.

JLARC says the federal government defines child care as being affordable if it costs less than 7% of families’ household income. According to JLARC, in every region in Virginia, child care costs more than 10% of a family’s average income. 

Northern Virginia came in as the most expensive region for child care, followed by the Urban Crescent, which includes Norfolk and Richmond. 

It’s not just affordability that’s a problem. The report says there are lack of available child care slots in Virginia, with 140,000 additional slots needed. 

As for solutions, the report says the state should further invest in programs to help alleviate child care staffing shortages and help low-income families, but acknowledges with pandemic-era federal funding designed to make child care more affordable running out, the crisis may get worse. 

The report adds that, in order for the average Virginian to obtain affordable child care for only one child, their income would need to be 13%-38% higher, depending on where they live.