"Terrifying," Heger said. "It's stressful. Very stressful. Extremely stressful."
Dozens of Denver parents can relate. The day care center Creative Beginnings, LLC announced on Monday it plans to close on Friday due to financial problems, giving parents just one weeks notice to find a new center.
Lisa Benson, of the Children's Corner Day Care Center in Denver, says parents need to trust their gut when choosing child care.
"You're having your child go somewhere 40 to 50 hours a week," Benson said. "You want them in good hands."
Children's Corner had a nine-month wait list Tuesday. Other child care centers are so expensive, parents buckle under the huge financial burden.
"It's almost half my check," Heger said. "You pay more in child care than you would in groceries a month, it seems like."
A study by the National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) shows that in 40 states including Colorado, child care is more expensive than public university tuition.
In Colorado, the average yearly child care for an infant is about $12,000 a year and college tuition averages to about $6,300.
According to the same NACCRRA study, Colorado ranks fourth in the United States for having the most expensive child care. Massachusetts ranks first, followed by New York and Minnesota. California ranks fifth.
The study, citing statistics from 2010, says child care costs are up because the recession has forced many parents to work extra jobs and odd hours, and child care for odd hours costs more.
Working parents in Denver do have an option to help. The Denver Preschool Program provides tuition assistance. For more information, visit www.dpp.org or call 303-595-4DPP (4377).
Low income parents may also qualify for assistance. Visit www.denverccap.org for complete information about the Denver County Child Care Assistance Program, also known as CCAP.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)