Infant-Toddler Child Care Increases Arizona’s Success
High-quality child care can help grow the economy, increase public safety, and enhance national security
High-quality child care can strengthen the current and future workforce, contribute to a strong economy and public safety, and enhance national security. However, there is not enough child care in Arizona that’s accessible, affordable, and truly beneficial to their development for the number of children who need it, which negatively impacts both parents and employers. Our new national study found that the infant-toddler child care crisis costs the nation $57 billion annually in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue, which impact working parents, employers, and taxpayers.
Arizona’s families benefit first and foremost from child care, as it supports parents’ employment and provides children with a nurturing, stimulating environment for healthy brain development during the first years of their life.
Child care impacts other areas as well. The country’s security relies on qualified young adults who are ready, willing, and able to serve in the U.S. military. However, educational deficits, health issues, and behavior problems (such as substance abuse and crime) currently prevent 72 percent of Arizona youth from qualifying for service.
Moreover, early brain development sets the stage for children’s future academic success. Without improvements to the child care system, our state risks having an even smaller recruiting pool in the future. Further, Arizona has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country.
This could be reduced by providing at-risk children with high-quality early learning opportunities that can help reduce the costs of crime in the future, both to the state and to the individuals involved.
Arizona lawmakers must continue to support programs that increase the availability of quality child care, especially for infants and toddlers, and raise the state’s reimbursement rates to ensure more Arizona families are able to afford the service. Action and innovation now can improve the lives of Arizona’s children today and strengthen the state in the years to come.