The Children’s Equity Project unveils groundbreaking report on equity in Arizona‘s early care and learning systems

The Children’s Equity Project unveils groundbreaking report on equity in Arizona‘s early care and learning systems

The Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University, in collaboration with Southwest Human DevelopmentArizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA), and Children’s Action Alliance, is hosting an in-person presentation and launch event for the new, groundbreaking report, “Start with Equity Arizona: Increasing Access, Improving Quality, and Advancing Equity in Arizona’s Early Care and Learning Systems.” 


The event will take place on November 30, 2023, at Educare Arizona1300 N 48th St, Phoenix, AZ 85008, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


The report examines Arizona’s early care and education (ECE) system through a lens of equity and provides an actionable child policy agenda that addresses historical and contemporary shortfalls in the way it serves children, especially those from marginalized communities including Black, Latine(o/a), and Indigenous children; dual language learners; and children with disabilities.


Shantel Meek, Ph.D., Founding Executive Director the ASU Children’s Equity Project, shared her perspective on the importance of this report, saying “This report sheds light on the critical issues within Arizona’s early care and education system and how we stack up against other states.  It provides a roadmap for a more fair, healthy, prosperous future for our state, starting with our youngest.  It is a call to action for all of us to work collaboratively to ensure that every child, including and especially those from communities that have been under-resourced and marginalized, has access to high-quality early learning experiences.”  


The presentation will provide attendees with an overview of the report’s major findings and policy recommendationsoffering valuable insights into the various facets of Arizona’s ECE system and how it can be improved


The panel discussion will offer diverse perspectives on key priorities to address access to, quality of, and equity in early learning programs, as well touch on how investments and policies can be shaped as the state moves into the 2024 legislative session and beyond.


Following the presentation and panel discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to network with state officials, legislative representatives, and early childhood leaders during a lunch reception. 


“We are delighted to be part of this event and to provide families, educators, policymakers, and community leaders the opportunity to come together to discuss tangible steps that will drive positive changes in Arizona’s ECE landscape and improve the well-being of our children,”said Ginger Ward, Chief Executive Officer of Southwest Human Development.


Dr. Meek will be available for interviews and other early childhood experts will be on hand to discuss all aspects of the state of early care and education in Arizona.  Additional visuals will include B-roll of children attending preschool at Educare Arizona.  





The Children’s Equity Project (CEP) is a child policy center housed at Arizona State University dedicated to advancing equity in all the systems that serve young children and their families, including early care and education. Through applied research, policy analysis, and community engagement, the center aims to drive meaningful change in the lives of children and families, including and especially those who have been historically and contemporarily marginalized. Learn more at


Southwest Human Development is Arizona’s largest nonprofit dedicated to early childhood development with more than 40 comprehensive programs focus on young children—ages birth to 5—and their families in the areas of child development, mental health, Easterseals disabilities services, early literacy and Head Start, family support and child welfare, and professional development and training for those who work with young children. Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development serves 135,000 children and families each year. Learn more at


Arizona Early Childhood Alliance (AZECA) is an alliance of 50+ cross-sector early childhood champions who are working together to give all children in Arizona a great start in life. As a shared voice for early childhood in Arizona, AZECA engages with government officials on early childhood issues that impact workforce development and the economy. Learn more at

Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) strives to create an Arizona where all children and families thrive. CAA advocates for the well-being of more than 1.6 million Arizona children and their families at the state capitol and in the community. CAA works with elected officials, community partners, and coalitions to protect Arizona’s ability to meet the education, health care, and human services needs of vulnerable children and families. For more information visit

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