Gov. Hobbs expands child care options for Arizona families

May 8, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: 12:08 pm

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs broadened state services and issued a one-time $500 summer child care payment for eligible students last week in an effort to provide more kids with child care and school-age programming

As part of the initiative, the Department of Health Services and the Department of Economic Security will broaden the types of afterschool, summer and enrichment programs eligible for licensure by creating a separate child care license for “out-of-school time” programs.

DHS and DES will convene a broad group of stakeholders in the next few months including providers, schools, youth development organizations, families and others to provide their leadership and input to this process, according to a press release.

“Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, the Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence and a diverse set of other stakeholders from across the state will collaborate on this effort together to provide more child care opportunities for families,” Hobbs said in the release.

The one-time summer child care payment of $500 per child, eligible for youth between 5 and 12, will cover mandatory registration fees for children involved with the Department of Child Safety who participate in the Subsidized Child Care Program through DES. This includes children in foster care, kinship care, as well as children in families receiving in-home services who have recently participated in the child care assistance program.

“By improving access to basic needs like child care, we can strengthen the well-being of families facing the greatest barriers and prevent continued involvement with the child welfare system,” Hobbs said.

This will also provide relief to foster and kinship caregivers who provide support to children who are temporarily placed out of home.

The payments are from federal COVID relief funds for child care and will start this summer. DCS caseworkers and staff will guide eligible families through the next steps in receiving payment.

“Too many families and caregivers around Arizona struggle with the costs of out-of-school time and summer care for their young students. Parents need more choices for out-of-school time care, especially in rural communities,” Marcia L. Mintz, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley, said in the release.

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Gov. Hobbs expands child care options for Arizona families