Arizona has room to grow when it comes to providing resources for its youngest residents, according to the "State of Babies Yearbook: 2019." The report looks at the well-being and development of infants up to three years old in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The report ranked Arizona among the bottom 13 states in areas related to family stability and access to early childhood care. Arizona did show improvement when it came to the overall health of babies.
The Children's Action Alliance, a group that lobbies for childhood development initiatives at the Arizona Legislature, takes the report seriously. Kelley Murphy, director of early childhood policy, discussed its findings with Christopher Conover.
"Unfortunately, it's not a change from years past and isn't that surprising. We have seen some progress in certain areas, but we are certainly still lagging behind in several others," Murphy said. The report positively notes Arizona's home visitation system for infants and toddlers, which Murphy described as "robust."
The report finds the poverty rate for infants, at 28 percent, is slightly higher than the national average.
"There are a number of policies at the state level that we could implement that would help these families. Unfortunately, over the last several years, specifically during the recession, we cut a lot of those programs to families and many of them have not been restored," Murphy said.
You can read the entire "State of Babies Yearbook: 2019" here.