2021 Policy Priorities and Legislative Action

COVID-19 Relief for Providers • Secure $88M Appropriation Authority for DES to use CARES Act funding • HB2406, Udall • Secure $254M Appropriation Authority for DES to use Consolidated Appropriations Act funding State Investment in High Quality Preschool • Preschool Development Grant Replacement Funding • HB2015, Sierra • Arizona Department of Education Budget Request to reinstate the Early Childhood Block Grant Raise Reimbursement Rates • Tiered Reimbursement • HB2416, Pawlick $13M for Infants/Toddlers and DCS • Overall Rate Increase • HB2571, Powers-Hannley $13M for Overall Rate Increase Expand Access to Child Care Assistance • Removing the 20 Hour Work Requirement • HB2016, Udall Improve Quality in Early Childhood Programs • Expand Mental Health Consultation • HB2155, Espinoza • Open the Quality First Waitlist • HB2278, Lieberman Expand Access to Health Care • AHCCCS Coverage of Oral Health Care for Pregnant Women • HB2102, Jermaine • HB2275, Butler • HB2291, Osborn • AHCCCS Coverage of Postpartum Care • HB2101, Jermaine • Maternal Mental Health Study Committee • SB1011, Mesnard Support Families • Appropriation for Healthy Families • HB2574, Powers-Hannley

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Arizona Voters Support State Investment in High-Quality Early Childhood Education

Survey Shows 76% of Arizona Voters Support State Investment in High-Quality Early Childhood Education 66% think state should be doing more. Contact: Max Fose, CEO Fose + McKay 202-285-8885 Email (PHOENIX, AZ) In contrast to many other issues on which voters are divided, support remains overwhelming for state investment in high-quality early childhood education. Seventy-six percent of likely voters said they support the state investing in high-quality early childhood education opportunities for children from birth to five years old, according to a newly released survey completed by Moore Information Group. Additionally, 66% of likely voters think the state should be doing more when it comes to ensuring children in Arizona begin kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Other findings highlighted voters’ concern with quality, availability and the cost of early childhood education. “When it comes to the impact of high-quality learning, the data is clear, and voters support the investment. We urge our elected leaders, the business community and other stakeholders to support high-quality early childhood education policies that are proven wins for children and Arizona,” said Melanie Mitros, PhD, chair of the Arizona Early Childhood Funders Collaborative. “Children who attend high-quality early childhood education programs are more likely to graduate from high school, continue with higher education, have higher earning ability and lasting health benefits.”…

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Author Elliot Haspel on “America’s Childcare Crisis”

Author Elliot Haspel talks to Megan Pauly about his new book, Crawling Behind, which details a crisis in childcare. (Photos courtesy the author)This article is a transcription of a conversation between VPM reporter Megan Pauly and author Elliot Haspel. Megan: Thanks for joining us.Elliot: Thanks so much for having me.Megan: So tell me, what is the crisis that you write about?Elliot: Yeah so, the crisis is that it's incredibly hard to find affordable, available, high quality childcare pretty much no matter who you are. And so in Virginia, the average cost of childcare for a toddler or preschooler of $10,000 a year, for an infant it's $14,000 a year and at the same time, half of the census tracts in Richmond are considered a childcare desert, which means there are severe shortage of available slots. And this is having huge impacts on families, not just the who the lowest income families, but even up into the middle and upper middle class as well.Megan: And are those prices public and private?Elliot: Yes, exactly. So, there are few public programs that are heavily subsidized or free, your headstart or the Virginia preschool initiative, but those serve are really just a fraction of the children in the region.Megan: So what, what are families doing to pay for this?Elliot: They're pinching pennies. I mean, and…

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