By Melissa Larson Busby | June 10, 2019
I’m happy to report that we’ve seen some significant wins for early childhood in Arizona since our Public Policy Forum took place last February. So it’s the perfect time to say: Thank you for Helping Us Grow, Arizona Legislature!
Please help us say thank you by joining us in our Thank you for Helping us Grow campaign! Here’s what to do:
+Download and print copies of our Thank you for Helping me Grow template for young children. There is also a second version available – for teachers and families!
+Get out the crayons, watercolors, chalk, pencils, pens — whatever you wish.
+Create a work of art. Or, write a short letter in your own words about how important high quality and accessible child care is to all of us in Arizona!
+Put your name and hometown at the bottom, adding the age if the artist is a young child.
+Before you mail it to the Arizona State house, PLEASE share it with us! Snap a photo with your masterpieces and email it to us at email@example.com.
Download templates here:Thank You for Children Thank You for Adults
It might be hot and dusty outside — but we hope you’ll participate in our Thank you for Helping us Grow efforts! Please, don’t let your advocacy efforts dry out over the summer!
+After you email a photo to AzAEYC of your masterpiece with the artist, send your completed AzAEYC Thank you for Helping Us Grow masterpiece to your local state senator and representative. Find your local legislator here.
+Invite your local legislator to visit your program and participate! Ideas: read a story to children, eat lunch or a snack with the children and/or teachers, attend a family event. We need our representatives to understand what we do and why our work is so important. Inviting them for a first-hand look at quality early ed programs can make a difference!
+Stay informed about what’s going on with NAEYC’s America for Early Ed Initiative and take a look at the new Arizona Fact Sheet.
+Do some summer reading to build your public policy knowledge.Find Your AZ Legislator
Here are a few fast facts:
$56 Million in federal CCDBG child care funds are included in the final state budget!!
+The Arizona Legislature granted the DES Child Care Administration the ability to spend $56M in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Funding.
+This funding will be used to provide more families access to child care subsidies, and will also increase subsidy rates to DES providers.
+DES will begin to implement the increased rates and access in this fiscal year (June), and there will be an additional $56 million in next year’s budget, too!
House Bill HB-2124 shows great bipartisan progress!
HB-2124 was created to designate how the child care money would be spent- to both increase overall DES rates, and to widen access to quality care for infants, toddlers and children in the DCS system.
The bill did not make it into the final budget, but made it through both the House and the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. That’s a win!
Kids Care will continue!
+Funding to maintain Kids Care– a program that provides access to health care for children under age 19 who are not eligible for other health insurance- was included in the final budget and the program will continue.
+The Legislature removed statutory language that would have frozen Kids Care enrollment this fall.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to EVERYONE who helped with our advocacy efforts by attending the Arizona Public Policy Forum, attending Early Childhood Day at the Legislature, emailing or calling legislators, signing up to comment on legislation, or joining us for the No Small Matter screening in April.
Even if you shared a social media post, or talked to a colleague about our advocacy efforts, YOU played a role in advancing investments in hiqh-quality early childhood education and early childhood educators. Stay tuned for more ways you can join our advocacy events in your local communities this summer. Warm summer wishes to all!
Melissa Larson Busby directs the NAEYC Accredited Early Childhood Education program at Central Arizona College and serves as Past President on the Governing Board of AzAEYC.