The state House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday discussed increasing child care assistance payments for the first time in a decade.
The Governor’s budget proposal suggested a 6 percent raise, which would bring the average subsidy from $360 to $380 a month.
Child welfare advocates say every bit helps, but the subsidy is still far short of what most daycare centers charge. Plus, nearly 4,000 families remain on the subsidy waiting list.
“Some moms, single moms who don't have any place to put their kids, they leave their children with boyfriends or people they hardly know, and there are consequences to that,” said Beth Rosenberg from Children’s Action Alliance.
Including the child care funding, the governor is proposing a $47-million budget increase for the Department of Economic Security.
“It is not just a lot of money; it's a significant statement from his team as to how important DES is,” DES Director Tim Jeffries said.
None of the extra money is slated for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and 1,600 families who receive cash assistance from the program are expected to lose their benefits in July. The families use the money for necessities like rent and utilities.
“We feel this is unacceptable,” Samuel Richard, executive director of Protecting Arizona’s Family, said. “There is no plan to offload these individuals so they don't fall right off into homelessness.”