Government provision of childcare needs to be more specifically targeted to help ethnic-minority families, a Daycare Trust report to MPs has said.
Ethnic minority families need extra childcare help, the charity said
The charity said the present national childcare strategy had benefited all parents, including ethnic minorities.
However, it added ethnic-minority families "felt the strain" of high costs and lack of flexible childcare.
Black families had to spend a higher proportion of their income than white families on childcare, it said.
The problem of funding childcare was most acute in London and amongst lone parents, the report's authors found.
Overall, the proportion of ethnic-minority families using childcare was lower than for white families.
Ethnic-minority families can find it hard to obtain childcare cover for non-standard working hours such as weekends and evening, the report said.
Lack of sufficient childcare was a key reason cited by such families for unemployment.
"The childcare and early years policies need to be more focused on the specific needs and circumstances of minority ethnic families," the report said.
"There is a need for initiatives aimed directly at helping minority ethnic families."
But the report did point out that since 1997 there had been a 90% growth in number of registered childcare places in England.
The government's national child care strategy has been in place since 1998.
The strategy aims at increasing the number of childcare places for working parents.
Last year the government pledged to boost the number of Sure Start children's centres, which offer educational and health care support, from 600 to 3,500 by 2010.