News   |   Sign Up   |   A LEVER FOR SCALE  

Arizona

Our lead ally in Arizona, Children’s Action Alliance (CAA), seeks to influence policies and decisions affecting the lives of Arizona children and their families. Their research, publications, media campaigns, and advocacy are aimed at a future where: all children have health insurance, a place to call home, enter school ready to learn and succeed, and no child is raised in poverty, hungry, or abused or neglected.

statekids001001
2022 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Policy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Declining 

The enacted 2022 Arizona state budget calls for general fund spending totaling $12.8 billion, including $12.2 billion in ongoing spending and $577 million in one-time expenditures. This represents a net decline in general fund spending of 5.8 percent compared to fiscal 2021, with ongoing spending increasing 7.7 percent and one-time spending decreasing 74.2 percent. The fiscal 2022 enacted budget is based on available general fund revenues (including beginning balance) of $13.0 billion, a 7.3 percent decrease compared to fiscal 2021.1

Political Alignment: Aligned Republican

During the 2022 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Republican controlled. The state’s Governor was also Republican.2

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 46% (358,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL. This number represents a decrease from 52% (406,000) in 2015.3

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Non-White children 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% FPL.3

Advocacy Landscape:

2022 Policy  Progress:

The early childhood community is celebrating a big win in the 2023 Arizona state budget. The final version of the budget invests $10 million dollars to fill the funding gap and expand the Healthy Families Arizona (HFAz) home visiting program. In 2009, monies supporting HFAz were cut from the state general fund and have not been replaced since. This new investment will replace the funds that were cut and expand the program to serve an additional 1,500 families.

 

Advocacy progress includes:

HB2084 gives DCS the ability to waive the Fingerprint Clearance Card requirement for kin who have already been deemed safe for placement. Kinship foster care is a best practice, mitigating the trauma of parental separation and leading to better outcomes for children, yet becoming licensed is filled with many barriers, including obtaining Fingerprint Clearance Cards.  

HB2111 restores crucial Healthy Families Arizona funding. Healthy Families is a nationally accredited, evidence based voluntary home visitation program for new parents that sets the foundation for a healthy start to their child’s life. Back in 2009, monies supporting HFAz were cut from the state general fund and have not been replaced since. HB2111 designates monies to fill the funding gap and expand the program to serve an additional 1,500 families. 

HB 2274 and SB 1530 increase the kinship care stipend to $300 a month. All children in foster care require financial support so their temporary families can provide them with safety and stability. Grandparents and other relatives step up to care for these children but because they are often not licensed, the children in their care receive just a fraction of the financial support ($75 a month).   

HB2551 provides year-round, continuous coverage to children who participate in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Children and families are once again at risk of losing health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP (AHCCCS and KidsCare). Continuous coverage ensures families can access the care they need, which in turn yields better health outcomes, reduces health disparities, and lowers health system costs.

HB2622 aligns state law with federal law and reduces the chance that young adults will lose health coverage. The Affordable Care Act allows former foster youth to stay enrolled in Medicaid until age 26, regardless of income.

HB2451 was defeated. This bill called for volunteers at childcare facilities to be counted as staff in child to staff ratios. Advocates did not feel this bill served the best interests of the children due to the fact that volunteers are not required to have the same level of training as staff and should not be counted as staff. This bill was successfully blocked. 

 

Arizona Advocacy Snapshot:

Arizona Allies Continue Fight Against Funding for Developmentally Inappropriate Online Early Learning Programs

Early childhood advocates in Arizona successfully blocked state funding for an online preschool program in 2020, and they are continuing to fight against additional attempts to fund these programs this year. While there is a huge need for expanded access to preschool in the state, advocates argue that online learning programs are developmentally inappropriate for young learners and a poor use of scarce resources.

Read More »

NOTES:

National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2022 Proposed & Enacted Budgets, April 2021

National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 2, 2022.

Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, December, 2020; NCCP Analysis of ACS 5-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2016-2020.

Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-September, 2022.  

More State Policy Data:

Arizona
Arizona
Arizona

More State Demographic Data:

Arizona
Arizona