By The Happy Wanderer
The story of Shanesha Taylor is heartbreaking. You may remember her mugshot which was broadcast on news outlets across the United States. Several years ago, the Phoenix resident had a job interview in Scottsdale. Instead of leaving her two sons, ages 2 years and 6 months at the time, with a babysitter or a daycare facility, she locked the two in her SUV while she went to her interview. Taylor was arrested and charged with two counts of felony child abuse. She defended herself by claiming that she had a difficult time finding someone affordable to care for her children. She was sentenced to 18 years’ probation.
We haven’t found a story as tragic as Shanehsa Taylor’s, but difficulties with finding affordable daycare in Arizona are prevalent. Governor Doug Ducey is taking a stand and doing something about this. In his 2020 budget proposal, he’s included $56 million in additional subsidies for daycare. Fifty percent of these new funds would be allocated towards an increase in the average childcare subsidy rate. As the state pays more in subsidies to daycare centers so that these centers can cover more of a child’s tuition, the amount a family would be paying will decrease and daycare would be more affordable for Arizona families. The other 50 percent of the funding would be used to broaden the number of parents eligible to receive childcare subsidies.
In the announcement for this significant effort, Governor Ducey said, “Helping families stay safe and strong is the right thing to do and will benefit our entire state.” There’s no doubt that his plan for an increase in subsidies will benefit all of Arizona because the current state of affairs is disheartening. In 2014, the Economic Policy Institute published a report finding that Arizona families paid an average daycare cost of nearly $10,000 annually for their children. A Care.com study established that Arizona is one of the five most expensive states in the entire country for a family to hire a nanny or babysitter to take care of young children during the day. Quality daycare is just not affordable for the average Arizonan.
Thanks to Governor Ducey and his efforts, positive change is on the horizon.