Blog | Event | February 5, 2021

Business Leaders and Child Care Experts Discuss the Importance of Home-Based Child Care to Arizona’s Workforce

Home-based child care experts and business leaders joined a panel discussion to release a new ReadyNation report

Yesterday, home-based child care experts and business leaders joined a panel discussion to release a new ReadyNation report entitled, “Home-Based Child Care: A Surprising Key to Keeping the Arizona Workforce Strong.” The report underscores the fact that access to high-quality, affordable child care is one of the most pressing issues facing working parents, a crisis further exacerbated by the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The event featured ReadyNation members and home-based child care experts who shared their experiences and expertise to support the report’s findings and urge lawmakers to maintain and strengthen meaningful investments in home-based child care.

“The reality is that home-based child care serves more than half (51 percent) of children ages birth to 5 who are in care in Arizona,” Sandra Bishop, Chief Research Officer at Council for a Strong America, explained to the panel. “With so many parents relying on home-based care, and the child care sector as a whole being so critical to our economy overall, we know that any effort to combat America’s existing child care crisis needs to address home-based care as well.”

Adam Saks, President & CEO of Level Up Entertainment Management / UltraStar Multi-tainment, spoke next and discussed why business leaders should care about the child care sector. “As business leaders, we know that greater access to high-quality child care means that current working parents will be more focused today, and their children will have a better shot to grow up with strong academic and social-emotional skills that will help them be part of a better workforce tomorrow,” he said.

Amber Smith, President & CEO of Tucson Metro Chamber, expounded on some of these points. She explained that home-based child care is important to revitalizing Arizona’s economy in the wake of the pandemic. “Quality early childhood education is a critical part of our economy for both the short-term and long term,” she explained. “Home-based child care is an essential part of being able to provide this access to every child in the child care sector overall, and preserving and strengthening HBCC will help our economy recover in the wake of COVID-19.”

After Amber, Sarah Ocampo-Schlesinger, Division Director of Family Support & Education, Association for Supportive Child Care provided perspective as a child care expert. “We believe available public funding, like CCDF dollars, can be used to support the full spectrum of home-based providers, from family child care homes to caregivers like relatives and neighbors,” she said. “States across the country are seizing this opportunity and are working to expand the Kith and Kin Project started in Arizona to get caregivers the resources and education they need to ensure quality care.”

To wrap up the speaker portion of the event, Sharissa Ben, Family Support and Education Specialist, Association for Supportive Child Care discussed how home-based child care programs are particularly relevant among Native American communities in Arizona. “Many families on the Navajo Nation don’t have access to licensed child care and most often rely on home-based child care,” she said. “Supporting children at home is rooted in the teaching of the Navajo people that says: In our homes, our foundational principles are instilled, our characters are developed and the planning for our lives begins.”

Home-based child care has proven to be an essential support for the American workforce. In Arizona, it serves the majority of children ages birth to 5 who are in care. It also plays a key role in making sure that working parents have peace of mind while they work, secure in the knowledge that their children are in nurturing, supportive environments. To ensure the strength of Arizona’s economy, especially as it recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that policymakers develop and enhance programmatic supports for this vital type of child care.

Read the report here and watch a full video of the event below.

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