Hobbs orders state agencies to conduct a 'child care needs study'

By Jill Ryan
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, November 16, 2023 - 11:12am
Updated: Thursday, November 16, 2023 - 11:13am
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Gov. Katie Hobbs has ordered state agencies to conduct a "childcare needs study" to assess gaps across the state, with a focus on the semiconductor industry. 

Arizona has had child care issues for a while. But with the growing semiconductor industry, which is being heavily federally funded, the state must meet a stipulation to provide affordable and high-quality child care.

Melinda Morrison Gulick is with First Things First, a state agency that funds early childhood development.

"The intent behind the requirement to submit a child care plan if you're applying for more than $150 million is that the new employees moving to an area don't gobble up all of the capacity in child care," Gulick said.

Gulick also says that in general, child care state subsidies are too little, the fund for First Things First is shrinking, and state lawmakers never paid back funds they took from it years ago.