Proposition 203, an initiative measure to establish programs and funding for childhood development and health care needs, was approved by the voters at the general election of November 7, 2006. Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§8-1151 through 8-1195 and at A.R.S. §§42-3371 through 42-3372.
The Early Childhood Development and Health Fund consists of revenues generated by a state tax on tobacco products. The Fund also consists of donations and state appropriations. Ten percent of the Fund revenues may be used for administrative costs and ninety percent is directed to programs to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of early childhood development opportunities and health programs. A portion of the monies in the program account are allocated among regional plans based on population, age of children in the region and family income.
Early childhood development and health programs include services provided to young children and their families, including family support programs, child care, preschool, health screenings and access to preventive health services.
The Early Childhood Development and Health Fund Board consists of nine members appointed by the Governor to six-year terms. In addition to the appointed members, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Director of the Department of Health Services, and the Director of the Department of Economic Security serve as non-voting, ex-officio members. The Board is responsible for conducting a biannual assessment of existing programs in the state; administering and distributing funds for programs and grants; preparing an annual report; and soliciting private funds. The Board is authorized to appoint an executive director to authorize expenditures from the Fund; to manage, administer and supervise Board staff, including regional directors; and to establish a central office and field offices.
Regional partnership councils, consisting of eleven members who reside or work in the region, are established by the Board. Each council is required to identify and prioritize the unmet needs for early childhood development and health programs in the region and submit its annual regional funding plan to the Board by January 1 of each year. The Board is required to act on all regional funding plans by February 1 of each year.
Proposition 203, an initiative measure on the 2006 general election ballot that was approved by the electors on November 7, 2006, established funding for programs related to early childhood development and health. The measure established the Early Childhood Development and Health Board and outlined its membership and responsibilities; created the Early Childhood Development and Health Fund and prescribed its uses; provided a source of funding consisting of a state tax on tobacco products; established regional partnership councils to identify specific assets and needs related to early childhood development and health issues in its region; and provided program and grant proposal requirements and procedures for award of regional grants.
The program is also referred to as “First Things First.”
Laws 2019, Chapter 271 requires the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and the Department of Child Safety to submit a joint, annual report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee that describes collaborative efforts to address child welfare issues of common concern. The report must also describe the level of coordination among DCS, the Board and community health groups to promote the well-being of children and families that are identified in reports of abuse or neglect.
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
Record Group 228 – First Things First