AZ FAMILIES GET HELP WITH CHILD CARE
Just as Arizona’s children are getting ready to return to school and a new batch of 3 and 4 year olds are beginning preschool, good news comes for some working parents. Thanks to legislative funding for child care, notice went out to 4,000 children and their families that they can now use vouchers to help pay child care costs. These families had already qualified for the vouchers but were victims of a five-year freeze on funding that put them on a waiting list indefinitely. This great news is a result of the hard work of many of you together with Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona Child Care Association who fought during the most recent special legislative session to lift the freeze on child care assistance.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, access to child care is a protective factor that helps prevent child abuse and neglect. The number of Arizona children in low-income working families participating in child care assistance dropped from more than 29,000 in 2009, when funding to the program was cut, to fewer than 7,500 in 2014. At the same time, the number of reports of child abuse and neglect in Arizona rose 36%, overwhelming the state’s Child Protective Services system. The loss of access to affordable, quality child care for parents who are working, in school, or searching or training for a job contributed to the CPS crisis.
- Child care subsidies are vouchers that help qualified, working parents earning low incomes to afford child care of their choice in the community.
- All families help pay for child care, with co-payments based on their income.
- State law puts time limits on subsidies and requires participating parents to cooperate with child support enforcement.
During this campaign season remember that although we have made progress there is a long way to go before every Arizona family can afford child care. Those we elect this fall will determine if any more progress is made in this area. Visit our website’s 2014 Candidate Questionnaire site to see where the candidates in your district stand on this and other issues important to the children of Arizona.