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AZ Women and Children Impacted by the Recession & State Budget

“The Impact of the Recession and State Budget Decisions on Arizona’s Women and Children” Research Report Released

(March 4, 2015 – Tucson, Arizona.) For immediate release – Today, the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona released a new research report entitled, “The Impact of the Recession and State Budget Decisions on Arizona’s Women and Children.” The research, conducted by the Grand Canyon Institute, includes data through 2013, which was utilized to analyze state-funded and administered programs that impact low-income families. Analysis looked at variables in five categories: workforce participation, education, occupation, responsibility for children, and homeownership, and found most critical programs had seen significant cuts in their budgets. Funding for specific programs; programs known to support low-income families on the road to financial self-sufficiency, suffered from substantial cuts.

  • Child care subsidies: 36% decrease & program frozen ( in 2013-6,407 families on waiting list)
  • Community colleges: 58% decrease in state funding
  • Universities: 39% decrease in state funding. Governor’s proposed budget will cut funding further

An exception to this downward trend is a 25% increase in the number of qualifying Arizonans enrolled in AHCCCS between 2007-13. With the expansion of Medicaid, through the Affordable Care Act, more low income individuals will have quality health care. This is expected to generally improve health outcomes, decrease infant and child mortality rates, and reduce health care costs.

The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, which fosters equity and opportunity through grant-making, advocacy and research see these funding cuts as part of a downward trajectory that will impact individual women, their children, and the Southern Arizona community. In fact, critical information released in the report, suggests that re-investing funds in the above programs may have a positive effect on the state economy.

For instance the research found:

  • An $11.40 Return on Investment toward a women’s self-sufficiency for every $1 spent on child care.
  • Arizona women with just some college education, earn $5,692 more per year than those with only a high school diploma (the impact of acquiring post high school education results in a 16.1% return to state and local governments).

“As Arizona policy makers take on the challenge of stretching each budget dollar, they need to consider that an investment in women is an investment in the state. Child care subsidies, funding for community colleges, and continued expansion of Medicaid, and leveraging federal funding from the Affordable Care Act, are all critical to ensure self-sufficiency for low-income women and their children,” said Dawne Bell, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona. “For instance, access to a child care program is the difference between being able to earn an income versus being unemployed for many mothers.”

“This collaborative approach to publishing reliable research is a model to guide our Arizona policy makers,” said Sara Presler, CEO of the Arizona Foundation for Women. “When we work together, we can do so much more. We urge our community to use this research to know more information and create a better life for Arizona’s women and children. When we know better, we do better. And we can absolutely do better for Arizona’s women and children.”

Both the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona and the Arizona Foundation for Women view this current research as a warning sign that cannot be ignored. Low income women and children are the most vulnerable segment in Arizona’s population. Programs that successfully help guide these individuals toward financial self-sufficiency deserve the attention of policy makers, funding and support.

 

The full report is available on our Research page or www.AZFW.org or www.GrandCanyonInstitute.org

 

The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona is a supporting organization of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. Since its inception, WFSA has funded more than $2 million to 170 programs that serve women and girls in Southern Arizona.

The Arizona Foundation for Women creates a better life for Arizona’s women and children. We believe Safety, Health, and Economic Security (SHE) counts!

The Grand Canyon Institute, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is a centrist think-tank led by a bipartisan group of former state lawmakers, economists, community leaders, and academicians.