The Anne E. Casey Foundation released its annual Child Well Being Findings and ranked the states according to how well children were cared for according to:
- Economic Well Being
- Family and Community
Sadly, Arizona ranks 46th out of the 50 states in safeguarding children’s safety and interests. The Grand Canyon State only fared better than Nevada (47), Mississippi (48), Louisiana (49), and New Mexico (50).
In compiling the data, the Foundation found that Arizona served the children of the state badly in a variety of measurement markers including:
- Living in Poverty
- Not attending Pre K
- Not graduating on time from High School
- Lacking health insurance
- Using drugs and alcohol
- Low Birth Weight Babies
According to the foundation findings, more than one in five children (21 percent) in Arizona lived in poverty in 2018.
That is 21 percent too many.
When comparing the data with 2018, The Children’s Action Alliance shows that Arizona has actually fallen from 45th to 46th among the 50 states.
That too is unacceptable.
Faced with this abysmal situation that has been the norm for some time, did the State Legislature pass a 2019/20 budget that attacked this problem and put children first?
In a word, no.
According to the final state budget figures and subsequent data compiled by the Arizona Center for Economic Progress, the state budget failed to restore to 2010 numbers (remember this is 2019) funding levels for:
- K-12 Education Public Schools
- Community Colleges
- Child Care Subsidies
- Housing Trust Assistance
The state, while restoring parity with Kidscare in this new budget, did not increase access to it.
Instead, the Republicans adopted a largely reactionary budget that memorialized numerous tax cutting and credit mechanisms that will hinder future investments in education, housing, and childcare that will actually help our most vulnerable and move the state forward.
Arizonans should be sick of living in a state that is 46th out of 50 states in caring for children.
Arizonans should be sick that our public servants on the reactionary side of the political spectrum, knowing the plight of the children and most vulnerable in the state, have continually put tax cuts over investing in improving their situation for close to the last 30 years.
Arizonans should want, like most public servants, advocates, and commentators have pointed out; for both sides to actually work together to find common ground solutions that move the people and the state in a positive direction.
Arizonans will no longer blindly accept Governor Ducey paying lip service to bipartisanship and then sign, according to the June 10 Arizona Capital Yellow Sheet Report (YS 6-10-19 (1), into law 1.8 percent of the bills sponsored by Democrats that made it through the process to his Executive Desk.
They will also not accept a Governor that spends time defending APS and its Dark Money Allies from justifiable directions from the Corporation Commission (he appears to have taken a step back on this approach on June, 21) while not spending political capital helping children get out of poverty as well as assisting elderly citizens before they perish in the summer heat because they can not afford to pay the electric bill.
That is what the people in Arizona want and they, in this increasingly purplish-bluish state, will not tolerate legislators who continually shortchange our most vulnerable, especially children languishing in poverty without proper child and health care.
If reactionaries and Governor Ducey continue to prioritize tax cuts over caring for children then they will find more new Democratic legislators in what was once Republican held office space at the State Capital in 2021.
Featured Image from Social Work Helper (SWHELPER)