Healthy Families Arizona needs new investments!
The Arizona legislative session is well underway, and we are looking forward to moving the needle on important early childhood issues this year. We are especially excited for the new opportunities surrounding the Healthy Families Arizona Home Visiting program (HFAz). This program serves as a critical resource for expectant and new parents to help get their children off to a healthy start. HFAz is designed to strengthen and support families during the first years of a child’s life. These first years are notably significant as they establish the foundation for success throughout a child’s life and into adulthood.
Back in 2009, monies supporting HFAz were cut from the state general fund and have not been replaced since. This year the Governor’s budget proposal includes long-awaited supports for this program. The budget proposal provides $10 million, of which $7.5 million in new funding and $2.5 million replaces funds that will no longer be available in 2022. The Legislature intended for the program to serve up to 6,000 families but due to the previous funding cuts, it currently only serves 4,000 families. The Governor’s budget would allow an additional 1,500 families to be served finally approaching the pre-recession plans for the program.
The Arizona legislature has echoed similar support for the program. Representative Blackman sponsored HB2111 which appropriates $10 million for Healthy Families. The bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee (HHS) and is currently waiting to be taken up by Appropriations. Representative Powers Hannley also signaled support for the program by sponsoring HB2441, appropriating $10.75 million.
Children’s Action Alliance along with the Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) remains actively engaged in advocating for legislative initiatives that support all Arizona children and their families, in every corner of the state. As these Healthy Families bills progress through the legislative and budget process, we ask early childhood advocates to keep an eye out for action alerts letting you know when to reach out to policymakers in support of these vital issues. We are also eagerly looking forward to our virtual Early Childhood Day at the Capitol 2022, happening on February 24th, 2022. Please join us during our panel discussions where we will be examining how quality childcare supports a strong workforce, community, and economy. Click HERE to register now!