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'Infant At Work' Program Expanding To More Arizona Government Offices

Published: Monday, February 13, 2017 - 4:33pm
Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 10:50am
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(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Libby Puccio-Smith holds her 15 month-old daughter in her office at the Arizona Department of Health Services.
(Photo by Lauren Gilger - KJZZ)
Libby Puccio-Smith works in her office at the Arizona Department of Health Services while her infant daughter plays.

In most workplaces, it would seem a little odd to hear a baby giggling in a daily meeting. But at the Arizona Department of Health Services, it’s nothing to bat an eye at.

ADHS has been allowing new moms to bring their newborns to work with them since 2001. It’s part of the "Infant at Work" program, and now it’s being expanded to many more state offices because of all of the benefits to mom and baby.

I went out to ADHS recently to find out how it all works and spoke with Dr. Cara Christ, the department’s director. She said it actually started as a breastfeeding program, so that moms could bring their newborns to work and not have to stop breastfeeding.

How do you actually get work done when you have a newborn in your office?

So, I met up with Libby Puccio-Smith, the chief of the agency’s workforce development. She just returned from maternity leave about 3 weeks ago, and, now she has a new office-mate.

"This is Beckham Smith … she just turned 15 weeks,” she said.

Puccio-Smith took about 11 weeks of maternity leave, but when I asked her if she could have imagined leaving Beckham with a day care at the end of that time, she said no way.

Daughter Beckham will be able to come to work with her mom until she is six months old as part of the state’s Infants at Work program.

The program is rolling out to many more Arizona government offices soon.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect how long children can go to work with their parents.

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