Report | February 21, 2024

Child Care Educators Set Arizona’s Young Kids on the Path to Success

A qualified, well-compensated teaching staff is key to quality child care and future public safety

The law enforcement members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids in Arizona recognize that high-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs are a powerful way to give kids the right start in life and help them avoid becoming involved in crime later. Research shows that to have a real impact, programs must be high quality, in order to help children develop the critical academic and social skills needed for success in school and life. Among the most fundamental ECE quality features are highly-qualified teachers who are well-trained before and during their service and who need to be fairly compensated.

Unfortunately, Arizona’s child care system does not adequately meet the needs of parents, children, or early educators. Child care, particularly for infants and toddlers, is often not available and is unaffordable for many families, particularly those with low incomes. Inadequate compensation and subpar working conditions for child care educators result in high levels of turnover, impacting the availability and quality of programs. The pandemic exacerbated these longstanding challenges and resulted in a loss of 40,800 child care educators nationwide since February 2020. Arizona also suffers from a child care workforce shortage.

High-quality early care begins a positive ripple effect in kids’ lives, preparing them for school and keeping them away from crime later on. Child care educators facilitate early learning.

David Rhodes, Sheriff, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office

State and federal policymakers must support investments in evidence-based policies that enhance the availability and affordability of high-quality child care, including addressing the needs of the child care workforce. Providing young children with high-quality early learning opportunities can improve the experiences of Arizona children and families today and help reduce the human and fiscal costs of crime in the future.


  1. Arizona