Child, Family & Kinship

About 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses.
Reference: NCCP | Child Poverty – National Center for Children in Poverty
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Kinship Care

Families living and working on the margins are vulnerable and are often the target of corporate enterprises that seek to extract profits or exploit primary wage earners.

Arizona Grandparent Ambassador Support & Advocacy Network

  • CEI provides technical organizing & outreach assistance to grandparent/kinship caregivers, in collaboration with other nonprofit organizations, in order to advance AZ Grandparent Ambassador public policy priorities in state-wide efforts
  • CEI educates the general public and key decision makers with regards to economic issues affecting children in Kinship care

This presentation on AZGA successes over the last ten years contains a summary of activities from its founding to today.

DAY AT THE CAPITOL: This year’s day at the legislature on February 10th, 2020 had the largest attendance yet – 75 kinship families!  The Day at the Capitol included a press conference, meeting with the Governor’s office, meeting with the Speaker’s office, meetings with individual lawmakers, and advocacy training.  More information at

ANNUAL SUMMIT:The annual Arizona Grandparent and Kinship Caregiver Summit was held in Phoenix on September 14th, 2019. The Summit was a day of networking, education and advocacy training for kinship caregivers of all types from around the state. Together, we heard from educational and motivational speakers. We learned about how to be our own best advocates, and we also heard directly from a bi-partisian panel of state senators and state representatives. Grandparent and Kinship advocates set the state policy agenda for the AZGA each year at the Summit. Over a hundred caregivers and their families attended this year’s event.

ADVOCACY TRAINING: In January 2018 the Southern Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors (SAGA) hosted and attended an advocacy training, “Telling Your Story” and “Asserting Your Rights” in Tucson, AZ. Grandparent’s learned how to effectively tell their family’s story to make a lasting impact on policymakers; using personal stories to amplify kinship caregiver’s issues in front of lawmakers. They also gained confidence and skills from a professional community organizer along with tips to strengthen their advocacy efforts with decision makers. The workshops provided a deeper understanding of the power these grandfamilies hold.

Early Childhood Education

  • Equal access to high-quality early education is essential for the future of children, families, business, schools, law enforcement, and our community’s development. We must invest in ourselves if we wish anyone else to invest in us.
  • The Preschool Promise is a project of the Center for Economic Integrity.

A concerted community outreach effort on this issue is underway. Community leaders from a variety of sectors including public education, business, nonprofit and local government are coming together to work through a proposed solution to this serious problem impacting Arizona’s families. You can find out more about this issue by visiting the The Preschool Promise website.

The local Tucson Ballot Initiative, Strong Start Tucson was soundly defeated by voters in November 2017 amidst surprising Democratic opposition. The initiative, if passed, would have increased local sales tax to pay for high-quality preschool tuition assistance for up to 8,000 3- & 4-year old children in low-income families (including grandparent and kinship families). Latino voter support was high but turnout was disappointingly low.

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