Early Ed News and Updates - August 20, 2019
  1. Governor Kathleen Blanco’s Legacy of Transforming Early Care and Education in Louisiana
  2. BESE Establishes a Separate Rate for Infant Care in Louisiana’s Child Care Assistance Program and Raises Rates
  3. Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Offers a Webinar this Wednesday at 1pm CT for Candidates on Early Ed - and Other Materials for the Elections
Governor Kathleen Blanco’s Legacy of Transforming Early Care and Education in Louisiana

Kathleen Blanco, the first woman elected governor of Louisiana, died Sunday after a lengthy battle with cancer. She served as governor from January 2004 to January 2008. Although articles have been written about her legacy as a reformer of K-12 education and many other achievements, it is often overlooked that she also transformed early care and education in our state. 

During Governor Blanco’s tenure, and in the face of the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Louisiana designed and implemented its first rating system for child care, and was one of the first states in the nation to do so. Prior to 2007, there were no quality standards for child care in Louisiana, only requirements for basic health and safety. In addition in 2007, with her leadership and support, Louisiana passed our now nationally recognized School Readiness Tax Credits Package, which continues to be instrumental in incentivizing and supporting improvements in quality in early care and education settings. She expanded the Child Care Assistance Program to serve almost 40,000 children, in contrast with the less than 17,000 children being served now. Also during her tenure, the state investment in the LA 4 Pre-K program doubled, as did the number of four year olds served. Additionally, Louisiana developed a statewide Mental Health Consultation Program for child care, and again, we were one of the first states in the country to do so. That program continues today. 

Governor Blanco was deeply committed to the children of Louisiana, and to all its citizens. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is grateful for her leadership and public service, and especially for her enduring legacy in early care and education.
BESE Establishes a Separate Rate for Infant Care in Louisiana’s Child Care Assistance Program and Raises Rates

Last week the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) established for the first time in Louisiana a separate rate for infants in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), recognizing the higher cost of providing quality care for them, given the very low teacher to child ratios required for children under age one. In addition, BESE approved raising all the payment rates to at least the 25th percentile of the market rate survey, and preserved a higher rate for special needs children above the base rate. The funding for these increases was included in the new state appropriation for CCAP in the state’s 2019-20 fiscal year budget. To see the new rates, click here. The rate change was passed by emergency rule so that it can be effective in September. 

BESE should be applauded for these increases, and especially for establishing a separate rate for infants. However, it should be noted that Louisiana CCAP rates are still extremely low. In fact, even at these higher levels, CCAP will only be providing a subsidy equal to what one in four centers actually charge for child care. In addition, the rates are still substantially below the actual cost of care in quality centers. See Modeling Quality Child Care Center Costs and Revenues in Louisiana. It is hoped that the state will continue to raise rates to achieve the 75th percentile of the market rate survey, which is the rate recommended by the federal government, as other states are doing. 

Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Offers a Webinar on Early Ed this Wednesday at 1pm CT for Candidates - and Other Materials for the Elections

The 2019 state elections, for Governor, the Legislature and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, are quickly approaching, with the primary on October 12 and the runoff on November 16.

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is hosting a webinar, Investing in Louisiana's Youngest Citizens, on Wednesday, August 21 at 1:00 pm CT. 
This webinar is open to Louisiana citizens and qualifying candidates for Governor, the Legislature, and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education who want to learn about the state of early care and education in Louisiana and a plank on early care and education, which candidates can include in their platforms for the upcoming election.

To RSVP, email Rhea Lewis at rlewis@policyinstitutela.org.

In addition, the Policy Institute has created a number of materials to assist both candidates and citizens in raising early care and education in the election discussions.
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) advances policies to ensure that Louisiana's young children are ready for success in school and in life. We are a source of nonpartisan, independent information on issues concerning children ages birth through four in Louisiana. We also develop policy proposals informed by data, research, best practices and the experiences of other states for improving the outcomes of Louisiana’s young children, and then provide educational and outreach activities around these recommended policy solutions.

To learn how to support LPIC, click here . For the latest news and updates on early care and education, visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, contact Libbie Sonnier-Netto at lsonniernetto@policyinstitutela.org.