Great News for Arizona’s Youngest Children
This past December when the new federal budget was signed, Congress once again recognized the importance of giving all children access to high quality early childhood experiences. The new budget includes an increase of $13.4M in child care assistance funding for Arizona’s children and families.
This is the second time in recent years that the child care assistance program has gotten additional resources. The previous increase of $56M annually was used to serve more children and to begin reducing the large parent co-payments that made it impossible for some families to use the assistance even if they qualified for it. Though these investments are a good start, Arizona is still a long way from affordable child care for low income families. The parent co-pay remains too high and no where close to the federal benchmark for assuring equal access to quality child care. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between quitting their job or putting their children in potentially unsafe care.
This legislative session, in addition to continuing to serve more families, we encourage lawmakers and the Governor to prioritize using the new federal dollars to further reduce the parent co-pay so that we can get closer to the goal of making safe and affordable care available to all of Arizona’s children.