Funding highlights break down costs of major projects
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, State Representative Joanne Osborne (R-13) celebrates Governor Doug Ducey's signing of a $1.2 billion investment in childcare assistance to help Arizona’s working families.
Republicans within the Legislature passed the bill, which was made available through the state budget. Rep. Osborne shared, "Getting Arizonans back to work following the pandemic continues to be a critical priority for the state."
Rep. Osborne met with the Governor's Office, Arizona Department of Economic Security and early childhood advocates like the Arizona Early Child Care Alliance to develop a plan for budgeting. Their ultimate goals, collectively, are to make sure Arizonans looking to reenter the workforce have the available resources to do so, and that their children will be cared for in a safe setting.
- $548.9 million to continue the Provider Grant Program for hiring and retaining quality staff.
- $47 million to accelerate early childhood literacy by increasing the knowledge of early childhood educators in the science of reading and improving literacy practices, as well as expanding high quality early childhood programing in high needs areas.
- $39 million to continue to suspend the childcare waitlist, securing access to childcare assistance for eligible families.
- $35 million in technological investments, including: $25 million in targeted grant funding for childcare providers to apply for technological or capital improvements; and $10 million to modernize the state’s licensing systems and connect childcare provider data to state systems.
- $30.2 million for the Return to Work Child Care program, establishing a separate, temporary eligibility category for individuals getting off unemployment insurance.
- $30 million in childcare subsidies for students enrolled in higher education or vocational programs with the goal of achieving financial self-sufficiency.
- $2 million for expanding a book gifting program which mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, regardless of their families’ income.
"But as more and more people seek to return to the workforce fulltime, childcare is an overwhelming obstacle for many. This historic investment in childcare will help the working families who desperately need assistance, and it will ensure that more Arizonans are able to return to the workplace," Rep. Osborne continued.
The previously mentioned highlights are meant to support foster and kinship families by increasing reimbursement rates. They should also provide a full day's reimbursement for any children served through the Arizona Department of Child Safety.