Release | Event | February 21, 2024

Local Law Enforcement Leaders and Legislator Raise the Alarm on Crisis Facing the Early Care and Education Workforce

Police Chiefs Released a Report on Early Education Teachers in Arizona

PHOENIX, AZ- Today, law enforcement leaders spoke at the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA to release the report “Child Care Educators Set Arizona’s Young Kids on the Path to Success.” The report details the shocking realities many child care providers and parents face when seeking care for their young children.

Quality child care, particularly for infants and toddlers, is unavailable or unaffordable for many families, especially those with low incomes. One of the main drivers of this crisis is inadequate compensation and subpar working conditions for early educators, which result in high levels of turnover, impacting the availability and quality of programs. This has dire consequences- a report by Council for a Strong America in partnership with Helios Education Foundation found that Arizona loses $4.7 billion per year due to the lack of availability of child care for children ages birth to 5.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids member Bryan Chapman, Phoenix Assistant Chief of Police, Michael Sullivan, Phoenix Chief of Police and Kirsten Gray, Vice President of Childcare Valley of the Sun YMCA spoke at the event.

“I’ve been a police officer for almost thirty years now, and I’ve been committed to child welfare. It’s incredibly important that kids have access to education and opportunities. If we provide these investments in our kids as they are growing up, then they are less likely to get involved in the system. We can interact with them in positive ways, to build relationships and build communities that are safe and crime-free,” said Michael Sullivan, Phoenix Chief of Police.

“As a member of the Valley of the Sun YMCA’s Metro Board, I have the opportunity to speak with employees in the branches and see child care first hand. I hear a common theme from child care workers- there is a lack of well trained, well compensated employees at that level, and we know that we need to invest in that. It’s heartwarming to see the approach they take towards their jobs. They are very compassionate, very knowledgeable, and very patient. I am happy to be here today to support this initiative, and continue to put energy behind this program,” said Bryan Chapman, Phoenix Assistant Chief of Police.

“I’m here to tell you that current providers are barely hanging on, and 48 percent of Arizona families live in a child care desert. Availability is especially limited for families who work non-traditional hours, like law enforcement professionals. The YMCA is proud to provide quality early learning programs in our community, and we are eagerly seeking solutions to create a sustainable business model for providers, parents and our entire economy,” said Kirsten Gray, Vice President of Childcare Valley of the Sun YMCA.

Arizona State Senator John Kavanagh also provided this statement on the report;

“The early years in a child’s life are the fundamental building blocks for their future. By providing children with high-quality early learning opportunities, we can set them on the path to success with higher K-12 achievement, fewer behavior issues, and decreased engagement in crime. To do that, we need qualified early educators who are compensated properly for their vital role,” said John Kavanagh.

Following the report release, the law enforcement leaders toured the facility and read to children.

Read More About

  1. Child Care
  2. ECE Workforce


  1. Arizona