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State expands child care access to workers on the front lines of COVID-19

Posted at 4:51 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-18 22:00:55-04

PHOENIX — When people were told to stay home, Arizona's front line workers stayed on the job playing a critical role in the response to COVID-19. Often it is those who earn the least amount of money who are among the most essential workers.

"We were very concerned about how first responders and other folks who have been required to continue working during this time were going to be able to find child care," said Kelley Murphy, Director of Early Childhood Policy with Arizona Children's Action Alliance.

Murphy was pleased when the Governor's Office created Enrichment Centers. Day care that placed the children of front line COVID response workers at the front of the line for child care. The $88 million program, funded by the Cares Act, allowed first responders, state workers and medical professionals access to child care. Many of those families receive scholarships. Now the program is expanded to include the children of grocery store and food bank employees.

"Our grocery store workers are at or just above minimum wage. That same thing is true for child care providers, and other kinds of professionals," Murphy said. "So to have child care covered for them to continue working during this time is a huge, huge benefit."

Currently 3,600 families are enrolled in the enrichment centers program state wide. 2,500 of them receive scholarships. If you want information on enrollment qualifications, click here. The program is scheduled to expire July 1.