The Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) hosted its 8th annual Day at the Capitol for parents, advocates, and legislators to raise awareness of the importance of a child’s earliest years. Children’s Action Alliance is a member of the alliance. This year’s event focus was centered around the Governor’s budget proposal of $100 million in child care assistance to stave off a looming funding cliff facing child care providers and parents in Arizona. Attendees toured the House of Representatives Floor with Rep. Consuelo Hernandez, met with legislators privately on the issue and were encouraged by the bipartisan panel discussion with Rep. Pawlik, Rep. Ortiz and Sen. Bennett with a special welcome from Rep. Alma Hernandez. The lawmakers agreed child care assistance is a top priority for this legislative session as it intersects with the topic of housing availability and housing costs. Rep. Ortiz sponsored bill HB2266 (Appropriation; childcare assistance) will put the Governor’s plan into fruition by providing funds to the Department of Economic Security to provide child care assistance to eligible families. Also, Sen. Sundareshan is sponsoring the senate bill in support of the Governor’s proposal.
CAA stands with lawmakers and communities who are working on this issue to stabilize Arizona’s early care and education system. Without child care funding assistance and the federal child care relief sunsetting in September, as many as one-third of Arizona’s child care programs could close and nearly 100,000 children and their families could lose the child care they depend on.