January 29, 2021

Dear Partners and Friends,

Happy New Year from the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children!

To kick off the new year, we just released the statewide findings for our parent survey conducted in the fall of 2020. This report focused on how Louisiana families with children under the age of 5 have been impacted by, and managed during, the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey results reveal that families continue to rely on child care to go to work or school while they face reduced incomes, increased stress, and concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic hit families of color and lower income families especially hard. Read the full report here and a summary here.

As the pandemic continues, we know that we must support both our state’s families and our state’s economic recovery. To do that, Louisiana must increase funding for child care assistance at the state and local levels, maintain expanded eligibility for essential workers to the Child Care Assistance Program, support the child care sector through public investments, and direct any additional COVID-19 related federal investments toward supporting child care providers. Fortunately, some progress is already being made on these fronts.

We are grateful for the federal funding for child care through the second coronavirus relief bill that Congress passed in late 2020. This bill provided $10 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding to provide immediate assistance to child-care providers and Louisiana received approximately $193 million. These one-time funds will be used by the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) to stabilize the child care sector. As we are currently in the process of conducting our fourth provider survey regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on child care, we intend to share the results of that survey with LDOE as they make their plans on how to distribute this latest round of relief funding.

Additionally, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) recently made changes to the Louisiana Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) to enable more Louisiana families to afford and qualify for child care assistance. These changes will both help families access quality care and help stabilize the providers who offer that care. Special thanks to BESE member Tony Davis, who is stepping down from the Board to take a new professional role. We thank him for his leadership and commitment to the children of Louisiana. We wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor!  

Finally, we are thrilled to cordially invite you to the fourth annual Early Ed Week sponsored by Entergy. This year, Early Ed Week will be completely virtual during the week of February 22nd - 26th. We are hosting several different events for parents, advocates, partners, child care providers, elected officials and business leaders. Highlights include our keynote speaker, Dr. Jack Shonkoff, a renowned pediatrician; a parent forum that will be hosted by Stand for Children Louisiana, Urban League of Louisiana, Parent Training Leadership Institute, and Power Coalition for Equity & Justice; and a screening of Brain Matters, a ground-breaking documentary on the critical nature of the early years of life. Find a full schedule of events here. A special thanks to additional sponsors of Early Ed Week 2021: Jones Walker LLP, The Committee of 100 for Economic Development, Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company, Save the Children Action Network, and Cox Communications.

We hope you can join us at Early Ed Week next month!
Best,
Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
In this Issue:
  • New Report: Struggling to Recover: The Impact of COVID-19 on Louisiana Families with Young Children
  • New Fact Sheet: 2019-2020 Performance Ratings for Publicly Funded Early Childhood Programs in Louisiana
  • Save the Date: Early Ed Week 2021
  • Resource: National Academy of Sciences
  • Resource: Stimulus Navigator Webinar Recording for Child Care Providers
  • A Tribute to Former Louisiana State Representative Steve Carter
  • Early Care and Education in the News
  • Upcoming Dates
New Report: Struggling to Recover: The Impact of COVID-19 on Louisiana Families with Young Children
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) released a new report, Struggling to Recover: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Louisiana Families with Young Children, which shares the findings of a statewide survey of parents with young children from September 21 - October 6, 2020.

This survey provides insights into the needs and challenges of families with young children in Louisiana, many of whom are struggling as the COVID-19 pandemic endures. Families continue to rely on child care to go to work or school while they face reduced incomes, increased stress, and concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic hit families of color and lower income families especially hard. Read the survey results.
New Fact Sheet: 2019-2020 Performance Ratings for Publicly Funded Early Childhood Programs in Louisiana
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children released this fact sheet summarizing the results of the 2019-2020 performance ratings for all publicly funded early care and education programs in Louisiana. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Louisiana Department of Education allowed sites to opt in to receive an updated Performance Profile based on 2019-2020 results. Of the total 1,579 sites, 57% opted in to use their 2019-2020 score, 42% used their previous 2018-2019 score, and 1% had no score. Despite these caveats, however, we are excited to report that this data shows that Louisiana’s child care providers continue to improve the quality of care offered to our state’s youngest learners.  Read the fact sheet to learn more about the 2019-2020 Early Childhood Performance scores.
Save the Date: Early Ed Week 2021
Keynote Address by Jack Shonkoff, M.D., Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Dr. Shonkoff – one of the nation’s foremost experts in child development – will speak to the science behind why early care and education is so critical to a child’s future success.
#LAEarlyEd Week Social Media Day of Action & Virtual Film Screening of Brain Matters
Join us for a virtual social media day of action to bring awareness to best practices and continued needs for early care and education in Louisiana. and a virtual screening of Brain Matters, a ground-breaking documentary on the critical nature of the early years of life.
  • Tuesday, February 23rd: All day, Time for virtual film screening to be announced
  • Registration information will be forthcoming

Parent Forum on Child Care Hosted in Partnership with Stand for Children Louisiana, Urban League of Louisiana, Power Coalition for Equity & Justice, and Parent Leadership Training Institute
The parent forum will feature an interactive conversation among parents with young children across Louisiana to share stories, connect with each other, discuss their needs, and learn more about how to advocate on behalf of Louisiana’s children.
  • Thursday, February 25th: Time to be announced
  • Registration information will be forthcoming

For up-to-date event information, visit https://www.policyinstitutela.org/LAEarlyEdWeek2021
Resource: National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences recently released a new brief in their “The Science Behind It” series on the question of whether high-quality early childhood education leads to more successful lives as adults. (Spoiler Alert: The answer is YES). Read the brief.
Resource: Stimulus Navigator Webinar Recording for Child Care Providers
Childcare Associates shared a toolkit and training on their child care learning hub. With help from Civitas Strategies, they developed a 20-page stimulus guide with “6 Questions for Every Child Care Business” to help providers simplify the stimulus process. Download the guide and worksheet available to download in English and Spanish.
A Tribute to Former Louisiana State Representative Steve Carter
It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of former Louisiana State Representative Steve Carter, who died of complications from the coronavirus at age 77 on Tuesday, January 26. Representative Carter, a Republican, served in the Legislature for three consecutive terms beginning in 2007, representing Baton Rouge, and was chairman of the House Education Committee from 2012 through 2015. He was a tireless advocate of education and early care and education in particular. He never missed an opportunity to teach his colleagues about the importance of early childhood, and he worked tirelessly to find funding for this critical time of life. His leadership helped foster the bipartisan support of early care and education that remains in the Louisiana Legislature today. As noted by former Senator Conrad Appel, “The great losers in the passing of Steve Carter are the children of Louisiana, children whom he never met, but whom he loved unabashedly. Never has there been a humbler and stronger champion of their cause...” Representative Carter is survived by his wife, Gloria, two children and four grandchildren.
Early Care and Education in the News

"The Louisiana Policy Institute also said almost half of parents saw their monthly income decrease during the pandemic."

- BR Proud

"The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children applauds the Louisiana Department of Education and BESE for making the necessary changes to both the reimbursement rates and eligibility criteria of the Child Care Assistance Program,” said Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Executive Director Dr. Libbie Sonnier. “These changes will help more Louisiana families get back to work to support our economy as well as support the growth and development of young children entering kindergarten ready to learn.”

- Beauregard Daily News


"In Caddo Parish alone, there are approximately 10,710 children between the ages of 0 and 4 in need of quality early childcare. While 94% of the four-year-olds in need are served, only 48% percent of three-year-olds have quality care – versus 10% of two-year-olds, 6% of one-year-olds and 3% of infants."

- Shreveport Times
Upcoming Dates
  • Tuesday, February 9, 2021 (10:00 am - 12:30 pm), Children's Cabinet Advisory Board (CCAB) Meeting
  • Wednesday, February 24, 2021 (1:00 - 4:00 pm), Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Advisory Council Meeting

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that is a source of data, research and information for policymakers on issues concerning young children in Louisiana.  

For more information, contact Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D. at lsonniernetto@policyinstitutela.org.