Joe Russo and his daughter, Natalie (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -
Gov. Doug Ducey announced in his State of the State address that he would expand a program allowing parents working for state agencies to bring their newborns to work. The Department of Health Services and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) have been doing that for years.
"It takes a lot of planning, it takes a lot of structure," said Joe Russo, a health services employee who bring his newborn, Natalie, to work.
"I can try to anticipate she's going to be hungry in about an hour, I can get a bottle ready, she's going to have a diaper change here," Russo said.
Russo knew about the perk when he learned Natalie was on the way. Ducey hopes the move to expand the program to more state agencies will boost employee morale and retention the same way it did for Russo and his growing family.
"It’s a win-win-win," said Ducey during Monday's address. "Increased productivity, quality employees less likely to leave state service, and most important – happy babies."
Not every agency will get to implement the program. For example, corrections officers would not be able to bring a child into their environment. As soon as next week, some state departments will be welcoming infants.
Parents who want to participate must sign some legal documents before they show up with their baby.
"Child care is really expensive not to mention all the added costs of adding another person to the household," Russo said.
The program allows infants until they reach the age of six months. The reason? Six months is when children get more mobile.
"I am glad I won't be chasing her up and down the halls," Russo said. "That's probably a good thing."
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