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Researchers: Tucson one of the toughest places in the country to grow up

Local experts say child care helps
Posted at 9:35 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 08:28:48-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Brandeis University researchers say Tucson is one of the toughest places in the country to grow up.

According to the study, Tucson is the ninth-toughest metro area for children.

Tucson ranked ninth from the bottom. Bakersfield, California was at the bottom and Madison Wisconsin was at the top.

The team calculated a Child Opportunity Score among 72,000 neighborhoods. Criteria included education, environmental health and economic opportunities.

So what led to Tucson scoring where it does... and how can we bring that score up?

Diane Fellows is Vice President of Child and Family Resources. She says, “I think the challenges for child care here are the same challenges everywhere. I think, you know, it depends on the, what they have, what their surroundings are, what their exposure is the love and care that they're provided."

Child and Family Resources, in an organization that works to help children have a good environment for growing up.

Fellows says any study may focus on statistics that can't truly measure the lives of individual families.

She says access to good child care when kids are young is a big factor in how those children grow up.

Michelle Saint Hilarie of Child and Family Resources says access to good child care not only gives children a head start on their education. It helps parents have time to boost their education and train for better jobs.

That brings a better chance of higher incomes and healthier living conditions for the whole family.

But parents may say they don't have the money for child care or job training.

Michelle Saint Hilarie says,”There are local organizations and groups of community advocates who recognize exactly what you're saying. And are there to support---Child Family Resources, United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona multiple other community based organizations are working towards improving these issues all the time."

And the doors quality child care opens for children and their parents can lead to a stronger economy that boosts living conditions for everyone.

It can be a challenge to connect families with the resources they need.

You can connect to Child and Family resources through this link. You can read the entire study from Brandeis here.