Arizona governor expands “Infants at Work Program” to help new mothers

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Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey has announced that his “Infants at Work Program” will be expanding.

After a 2016 pilot program proved successful at the Arizona Department of Public Health and Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Gov. Doug Ducey said the program will now also include the Arizona Department of Economic Security and Arizona Department of Water Resources. Under the program, new parents can bring their babies to work with them from age four weeks to six months or until the child is mobile.

In his 2017 State of the State address, Gov. Ducey applauded the program saying, “It’s a win-win-win: Increased productivity, quality employees less likely to leave state service, and, most important, happy babies.”

The program was put in place in order to help new parents transition back into the workplace without losing that precious bonding time with their babies. Not only can new parents avoid childcare for a while, but can take their time easing themselves and their babies into a childcare setting. Parents also don’t have to worry about choosing between their jobs and their children in those first few months that are so vital to proper bonding.

The baby-friendly office space includes breastfeeding and lactation rooms, space for the baby in the parent’s work area, and the option for a caregiver to bring the baby in for feedings.

“As you can see, he’s healthy and he’s happy,” Chief Legislative Liaison Shannon Whiteaker told ABC 15 of her son Remington who comes to work with her. She discovered she was pregnant on the same day she accepted her job.

The program has proven to increase productivity and boost employee morale. No one has complained about babies crying during work and everyone has been very respectful of each other, according to Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Bringing her into work has been a great opportunity to bond, just the two of us,” explained Kevin Watanabe, who takes his daughter Katelyn to work with him. He said his wife is breastfeeding and he doesn’t get that much one-on-one time with his daughter at home.

Gov. Ducey, who has worked to defund Planned Parenthood in Arizona, is proving that being pro-life extends beyond the birth of a child. Taking steps to help new mothers and fathers be the parents they want to be without the fear of losing their paychecks will help families to flourish.

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