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An Economic Policy Institute report said child care is increasingly out of reach of most Americans, with Arizona one of only a handful of states where the average did not exceed the cost of in-state college tuition. The Department of Health and Human Services’ rule of thumb is that child care costs should not exceed 10 percent of a family’s income, but in Arizona it costs 17.6 percent of a typical family’s income.

Infant child care in Arizona costs an average of $9,437 a year, rivaling in-state college tuition and putting care out of reach for many families, according to a recent report. And Arizona’s costs were on the low end when compared to the rest of the nation, with infant care costs in Washington, D.C., reaching $22,631 annually. Read more»

Electrical cords under a desk in an unlocked office at one of the commercial Arizona child-care centers that federal inspectors audited in 2013.

In two reports this month, the Department of Health and Human Services said that Arizona officials may not have ensured “that each provider complied with one or more State licensing requirements to ensure the health and safety of children.” But advocates who had seen the reports questioned the size of the federal audits. Read more»

In this map, Child Care Aware of America provides tiers of states according to the affordability of infant care as a percentage of a married couple’s median income.

Arizona is the seventh-least-affordable state for before-school/after-school child care, according to a study by a national advocacy group. Read more»