4,000 children to be removed from child care July 2013
Governor Brewer has requested $9.6 million in 2014 to fund the increase in CPS child care and to prevent the removal of 4,000 currently served children beginning in July. Without child care assistance, families are forced to quit work, reduce hours, go on welfare, or leave their children in unsafe care.
When the state faced revenue losses of 30% – $3 billion less, children currently in child care were never removed. As revenue improves, the state may for the first time remove 4,000 currently served children impacting 2,100 low income working families.
Without $9.6 million, child care for low income working families will be reduced from 29,600 children in February 2009 to only 4,500 children – an 85% reduction!
The Governor’s request does not restore prior cuts or take any children off the waiting list.
Background – For decades, Arizona has assisted eligible families with a portion of the cost of child care through a voucher program that the legislature established under welfare reform. Assistance is provided to three categories of families: 1) CPS and foster care related, 2) Welfare to Work, and 3) Low income working families struggling to support their children and stay off welfare. CPS and welfare-related child care are considered mandatory and not subject to the waiting list.
In February 2009 the State began turning away all eligible low income working families by placing them on a “waiting list”. To date:
- All state funds have been eliminated from the subsidy.
- Subsidy was cut $81 million, a 40% reduction overall.
- 22,300 fewer children are being served.
- Over 33,000 children have been denied.
- Children from low income working families have been reduced 70%.
- 7,200 children are on the “waiting” list. (This does not reflect the total need)
- 2,800 jobs already lost – teachers no longer employed due to budget cuts.
If the $9.6 million is not appropriated, child care for low income working families will be reduced from 29,600 before the cuts to only 4,500 children in 2014 – a 85% reduction!
Note: The Governor’s request does not reduce the waiting list.
The Need for Child Care Assistance
33% of all children in Arizona live with a single parent. 55% of all Arizona children under age 6
live in households in which all available adults are in the workforce. These families must have
stable child care arrangements to work.
The cost of safe and reliable child care is beyond the reach of many families. The median cost
for full time care in a licensed center ranges from $7,000 – $10,000 annually – as much or more
than state college tuition.
Families must have gross incomes below 165% of the federal poverty level or $31,512 for a
family of three. Most states have higher income qualifying levels.
The vast majority of eligible families never need or request state assistance.
Click this link for a printable version. Subsidy 2-5-13
The Impact – All State Funds Eliminated From the Subsidy
$81 million cut – 40% reduction funds ($202 million total prior to the budget cuts).
48,300 total children – served prior to the cuts in February 2009; before the “waiting” list.
26,000 children overall will be served in 2013 – 22,300 or 45% fewer children than 2009.
70% reduction in the number of low income working families served.
7,210 children– current number on the “waiting” (denial) list as of December 21, 2012.
Many families are removed after being on the list for one year
32,800 children – total eligible children denied since February 2009 (thru September 2012)
2,800 jobs lost – number of teachers who lost jobs as a result of budget cuts.
$127 million – child care funding in 2013, all federal. $4 million less available in 2014.
We urge the Governor and Legislature to stop further reductions in the number of children served and renew the State’s commitment to low income working parents by funding a multi-year plan to increase the child care subsidy funds.
Click here to read the Status of the State Subsidy written by Bruce Liggett on January, 19 2012.
Please read the attached information regarding the IMPACT that the state budget cuts have had on the Child Care Subsidy.
Click here to read the Impact Summary.
Read the attached summary that includes the budget background, impact, and options regarding the status of DES Child Care Subsidy.
Click here to read the brief summary.
Attached is a short description of the DES subsidy funding and caseload issues for ACCA members. Much of what is contained in the description was discussed on the ACCA conference call on April 14th, with some minor updates. We will update this as new information is received.
This letter was sent to Governor Brewer on December 16, 2010.
December 15, 2010
The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 W. Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Dear Governor Brewer,
Congratulations on your election victory. Your leadership is critical as the State faces unprecedented declines in revenue and many competing and compelling needs for State support. As you address these challenges, and prioritize funding, we urge you to consider both the immediate and future benefits to Arizona. We urge you to continue to invest State funds in the Department of Economic Security (DES) child care subsidy, a program that allows Arizonans with children to work, creates jobs in child care, supports small businesses and community agencies, and is essential to the infrastructure that workers and employers rely on. Child care is critical to the Arizona’s economy.
Editorial from AZ Republic on July 27, 2010
Bill Berk – Tucson
Thank you for the attention you are bringing to the travesty involving child-care subsidies for the working poor (“State must not let subsidies die for those in need,” Editorial, Monday). The number of children currently on the waiting list can be counted. What can’t be counted is the number of children being left home alone or with unsuitable caregivers while their parents attempt to earn a living and support their families. The safety of all our children is at stake, yet the governor and Legislature seemingly turn a blind eye to the struggles of working parents as they try to better their lives.
Parents without access to safe, affordable and reliable child care are unable to work. Instead, they stop working and access more state-funded programs. While funding child care may seem expensive, the cost pales compared to supporting a family on welfare.
by Sonu Munshi – Jul. 17, 2010
The Arizona Republic
Imagine researching a company to a T, ironing your best duds for an interview and then taking your snotty-nosed toddler who is likely to cry or scream along to face a potential employer in an interview.
Peoria resident George Gormsen doesn’t have to imagine. The 31-year-old Web designer had the pleasure twice after he found himself in the unemployment market between November and June.
With his wife, Renee, working during the day, his daughter, Lorelai, now 14 months old, tagged along on interviews.
“That just didn’t look professional at all,” Gormsen said.
Shockingly, he didn’t land either position. He’s sure Lorelai’s presence was at least part of the reason.
But Gormsen is now back to work at a Peoria car dealership, and he can’t thank a Peoria day-care provider enough.
The Peoria dad was able to interview without Lorelai in tow, thanks to a free trial day at Sunrise Preschools.
The nearly 30-year-old Valley preschool, along with Tots Unlimited, another preschool and child-care center owned by the same company, is offering Interview Care, a free, no-strings-attached service to Valley parents of children ages 6 weeks to 12 years.
Dana Vela, president of Sunrise Preschools, hopes the offer of free licensed child care for unemployed parents to use when they go for an interview helps the community.
“There is a definite need out there,” she said.
The creative offer could have a longer-range benefit, helping to boost enrollment at a time when preschools are struggling as parents lose jobs.
The offer is open at all Valley locations on a space-available basis for an undetermined period.
Parents must make reservations in advance for up to four hours of care. Immunizations and other information are required.
Jul. 19, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Child-care subsidies for the working poor are a rational response to a real need. This fact collided with a state budget deficit that required tough cuts. The crash left Arizona’s child-care subsidy program on life support.
It should not be allowed to fade away.
As the number of children being served shrinks and the waiting list of eligible children grows, Arizona needs to take a look at what can be done to preserve this program, which shows a commitment to things that are highly valued in our society: hard work and family.
For people with good-paying jobs, child care takes a big, but unavoidable bite out of the family budget.
For low-income earners, the cost of safe child care – as much as $5,000 to $8,000 a year per child – can be out of reach. Without a subsidy from the state, these working families can be forced to give up work or put children in unsafe settings.
Since February 2009, when Arizona imposed a waiting list for working families seeking child-care subsidies, the number of children in the state program went from about 48,000 children to 31,900 this April, according to the Department of Economic Security. If the waiting list is maintained, the number served will drop to 27,600 by December, says Steve Meissner, director of communications for the DES.
By that time, the number of children who are eligible but are not allowed in the program will exceed 19,000. Currently, about 10,300 are on the waiting list, with an additional 4,000 eligible but not included on the list.
Bruce Liggett, executive director of the Arizona Child Care Association, says calling it a “waiting list” is a benign description that creates the impression of a “one child out, one child in” process.
In fact, for the working poor, the waiting list is really a turn-away list, he says.
Liggett says that if the number of children served continues to shrink, the program could lose federal matching money.
The state continues to face a deficit, and more tough decisions will have to be made. But preserving a program that includes a big federal match makes sense.
Moving children off the waiting list and into the program to maintain the current level of funding would be a good temporary solution. When economic times improve in the state, the goal should be to increase investment in a program that helps keep children safe while parents work.