Since March 2020, DES and its state, local and community partners have invested over $120 million in federal Child Care and Development relief funds, ensuring that quality child care was available for essential workers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and parents were able to return to work knowing their children were well cared for in a quality setting as Arizona rebounded. On May 6, we were pleased to announce new financial support for the Arizona child care network and its workforce.
The more we invest in child care, the more we invest in our economy. The funding our state has received from the federal government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us ample opportunity to increase access to affordable, quality child care, and help our state rebound from the pandemic.
The Impact of Child Care on the Arizona Economy
The Assistant Director of the DES Division of Child Care, Lela Wendell, and I recently had the privilege of joining the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry to speak on the findings of “Untapped Potential: How Childcare Impacts Arizona’s Workforce Productivity and the State Economy” report, released in 2021 by the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation (USCCF) in partnership with the Arizona Chamber. In summary, the lack of access to child care has a serious impact on employee attendance, productivity, turnover and career advancement. According to the report, Arizona’s estimated annual loss related to child care is $1.77 billion. That includes $1.42 billion for the cost of employee absences and turnover costs, and $348 million in estimated losses in tax revenue.
Therefore, the more we invest in child care, the more we invest in our economy. The funding our state has received from the federal government throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has provided us ample opportunity to increase access to affordable, quality child care. As a result, we’ve been able to maintain the number of Arizona child care centers, while other states have lost many over the past several years.
It will take significant collaboration and creative thinking in order for us to further strengthen the Arizona Child Care Network, but the partnership we already have with our child care providers, community organizations and the business community assures me that we will be able to maximize the availability of child care for Arizona families.