Two babies playing

Early Childhood

The evidence is clear: when young children have healthy and enriching experiences, they are more likely to be ready for kindergarten and beyond. This means one-on-one attention from teachers, parents, and caregivers.

These early experiences shape a child’s lifelong learning because human brain development occurs most rapidly and dramatically in the first three years of life. For every $1 spent on early childhood up to $16 are saved through decreased special education, social welfare, and crime-related costs. Investments early in life also increase high school and college graduations and spur economic development.

$88

Million

CARES Act Funding directed to keep early childhood care and education intact throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

22%

of 3-and 4-year olds are enrolled in high-quality early childhood settings in Arizona (Arizona Progress Meter data).

46%

of Arizona third graders are reading at grade level (Arizona Progress Meter data).

22%

of Arizona children under age 5 are growing up in poverty.

2024 Legislative Priorities

A strong start in life leads to a successful future. As the cost of living continues to rise, providing all families with resources and services to thrive is of the utmost importance.

A child’s early experiences shape lifelong learning as human brain development occurs most rapidly and dramatically in the first three years of life. For every $1 spent on early childhood, up to $16 are saved through decreased special education, social welfare, and crime-related costs. Investments early in life also increase high school and college graduations and spur economic development. Investing in early childhood development supports successful children, families, and economic growth.

  1. Expand access to quality and affordable child care for Arizona’s children and families by investing state funding through the Arizona Department of Economic Security Division of Child Care. State funds will help eliminate an impending waitlist and allow child care providers to keep their doors open.
  2. Reduce the burden of child care expenses on more families by expanding income eligibility of child care assistance and allowing full time students seeking a college degree to participate in the program.
  3. Ensure child care licensing fees are affordable to support access to high quality child care in Arizona.
  4. Provide paid family medical leave for all child care workers to address their medical needs and caregiving responsibilities, including caring for a new child after birth or adoption; serious personal health conditions—which includes pregnancy and post-partum care; caring for a child, parent, spouse, or partner; for specific military caregiving and leave; and for absences related to sexual assault, domestic violence, or stalking.

Read the latest

Our Priority: Child Care Funding Gets a Hearing

This morning, a House Appropriations Subcommittee listened to early childhood advocates discuss the urgent need for state investment in child care. Arizona faces a child care crisis due to a prolonged lack of investment, compounded by the expiration of federal funds that stabilized the system during…

Events

Early Childhood Day at the Capitol Advocates for Gov. Hobbs’ $100 Million Proposal

News

$100M in Gov. Hobbs budget proposal for child care.

News

The Child Care Cliff: What Arizona Needs to Know

News

Arizona Ranks 39th In Child Well-Being But Inaccessible, Unaffordable, Child Care Pushes Parents To The Breaking Point.