Sinema’s bipartisan bill addresses Arizona’s shortage of affordable, quality child care, especially in rural communities
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema helped introduce the Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act, bipartisan legislation to address Arizona’s child care shortage by directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide competitive grants to develop more child care workers and build or renovate child care facilities in areas with child care shortages.
“Now more than ever, Arizona’s everyday families need safe, accessible, and affordable child care so Arizonans can work, provide for their families, and know their children are receiving the highest-quality care. Our bipartisan bill expands child care opportunities and support to Arizona families,” said Sinema.
Sinema’s Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act addresses the lack of access to affordable, quality child care, which became more evident during the coronavirus pandemic as child care facilities shut down and workers struggled to get back on-the-job without child care options.
This bipartisan legislation assists states like Arizona and tribes with implementing projects that expand the child care workforce and repair child care facilities through competitive grants. These grants are awarded for up to 5-year periods, and child care providers that qualify under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 are eligible to apply. Sinema’s bill additionally directs the Department of Health and Human Services to study the impact of these grants and submit its findings to Congress within two years of enactment.
Arizona has 304,183 children under the age of six with both parents in the workforce. Outside of the pandemic, there were only 234,270 child care spots and fewer than 10,000 child care workers. One-third of Arizona’s licensed child care providers were closed—permanently or temporarily—due to the pandemic, and those that have remained or re-opened are running at limited capacity.
An early investment in child care—or lack of it—could potentially affect everything from high school graduation rates, grade performance, to life productivity. Sinema’s bill improves the quality of child care and creates new spots to serve more families in need.
In her first year as U.S. Senator, Sinema introduced the first-of-its-kind bipartisan paid leave proposal that allows families to receive support after the birth or adoption of a new child to finance time off of work, offset the cost of infant care, or both.