Help for Arizona's Essential Service Workers & Childcare Providers
The Arizona early childhood community is coming together to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Most of us are sheltering at home but that isn’t possible for many of the state’s essential services workers. This has created challenges both for childcare providers AND parents who need to continue to work outside of the home.
A few weeks ago, the Governor’s office released the opening of Arizona Enrichment Centers. These centers are a partnership between childcare, non-profit, education and faith-based organizations. Families who qualify may apply to receive child care from approved childcare providers. Parents who meet certain income requirements may qualify for scholarships to cover the cost of care. More information can be found at https://arizonaenrichmentcenters.az.gov/faq.
As the crisis began to unfold, schools and businesses were closed, and most families began sheltering in place. This drastically reduced the number of families using child care. Approximately 50% of Arizona’s licensed and regulated programs are at least temporarily closed. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) provider survey found that as many as half of childcare providers said they could not withstand a closure of two weeks without support.
In order to help maintain the states network of providers, state agencies and other stakeholders have come together to try and mitigate the damage. Some key components of the plan to help providers include: continuation of DES childcare assistance, Quality First scholarship payments regardless of attendance, and waiver of certain renewal requirements until the crisis is over. For more information on help and guidance for childcare providers, please visit this FAQ document: https://www.azccrr.com/uploads/8/9/0/8/89086430/faq_desanswers.pdf.