Advocates: Child care less affordable in Arizona than many states

Source: Anne M. Shearer | Cronkite News
November 18, 2013

PHOENIX – Arizona is the seventh-least-affordable state for before-school/after-school child care, according to a study by a national advocacy group.

On average, such care cost an Arizona family $6,198 in 2012, according to Arlington, Va.-based Child Care Aware of America. The group measured the average cost against median income for a married couple – $70,149 in Arizona – to develop its rankings.

Only New York, Hawaii, Wyoming, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Arkansas were less affordable than Arizona, which tied with Kansas in the group’s study.

The study also reported that infant care in Arizona, an area in which the state ranked as 16th least affordable, is only 10 percent cheaper than tuition at a public university here: $8,671 for infant care versus $9,729 in average annual tuition.

Arizona ranked as 13th least affordable in child care for a 4-year-old, with care costing $7,398 on average.

Liz Barker Alvarez, senior director of communications for the state-funded education organization First Things First, said that without affordable access to quality early learning and child care children may suffer socially and academically.

Quality child care at a young age helps children build skills that are crucial for their success in school and life, she said.

“It really helps them build their soft skills, like self-esteem, self-regulation and decision-making,” she said.

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