June 30, 2020
Dear Friends and Partners, 

This month has been unlike any other I can remember.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have focused on specific actions and policies to help mitigate challenges facing families, early care and education providers, and our economy. While these challenges continue, the past month has brought us front and center with images and stories of how racism is killing Black people and the collective outrage over it, difficult conversations families are having with their children about race and public health, and the reminder that none of this is new with the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, commemorating when enslaved Texans were finally freed two and a half years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

These times only deepen our determination to lay the foundation for all of our young children to succeed.  

I am inspired by the collective efforts of our communities. Countless individuals contacted their legislators about important issues affecting young children during the 2020 legislative session and special session. Our research on the impact of COVID-19 on Louisiana child care providers has resulted in several policy and funding changes. In response to our research and recommendation, the Louisiana Department of Education provided $19 million in emergency grants to keep child care centers viable and able and to serve more families, expanded child care assistance to more than 3,800 additional essential workers and distributed safety supplies to 1,649 licensed child care providers across the state. Furthermore, our research has been cited in 42 articles across the state of Louisiana and replicated in Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, and Nebraska , to tell the story about why early care and education is so critical. I had the opportunity to share what we learned about the current experiences and concerns of early care and education providers in delivering a keynote address for the annual National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators conference and to participate in an education tele-town hall hosted by the Urban League of Louisiana ( watch the recording ). Lastly, more than 80 donors demonstrated their appreciation for our work earlier this month during GiveNOLA Day, shattering all of our previous records and exceeding our goals, despite these challenging economic times.

While we face daily reminders of how much work we have ahead to ensure every Louisiana child has access to a quality early care and education, we have experienced inspiring signs of hope and progress.

I am so appreciative for the incredible and diverse community of supporters who are dedicated to ensuring a smart start for all children in Louisiana, regardless of their race, where they live, or the economic situation of their household.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do.

Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
In this issue:

  • 2020 Legislative Session Recap: Early Care and Education
  • Submit Your Questions to be Featured on Louisiana Public Square “Reopening Education" Episode 
  • State of Our Babies
  • Resources to Talk to Children About Racism
  • Early Care and Education in the News
  • Upcoming Dates
2020 Legislative Session Recap: Early Care and Education
As the first 2020 Special Louisiana Legislative Session draws to a close, there are reasons to celebrate and reasons to work even harder for children and families.

This month, we researched potential funding sources the state could put towards early care and education including dollars from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief ( GEERs) funds, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. We joined over 90 organizations from the Ready Louisiana Coalition to reach out to legislators and educate them about the importance of early care and education and why they should prioritize funding it in the state budget.

While we did not get any new funding for the 2020 legislative session, we did:

  • Protect the $18.8 million in additional state funding we received last year for families in the Child Care Assistance Program.
  • See widespread support for HB 251 to continue the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Commission and create a task force to study sustainable funding streams for early care and education.
  • Support the passage of HB 64, which dedicates a portion of sports-betting tax revenue to the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund, and moves on to the Governor’s desk for signature.
  • Ensure that family child care policies centered the health and safety of children, in line with national best practices, and which we will continue to work on in the coming months.
Submit Your Questions to be Featured on Louisiana Public Square “Reopening Education" Episode
Are you an early education provider or a parent with concerns about the reopening of early learning centers? Submit your written or video questions to www.lpb.org/reopening now , and Louisiana Public Broadcasting will try and get you answers during the July Louisiana Public Square episode “Reopening Education.” If you have problems with the URL, please submit your questions to publicsquare@lpb.org including your name and title, i.e., “Parent of a 3-year old.”

The program will feature many education leaders including Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, Libbie Sonnier, Ph.D.
State of Our Babies 2020 Yearbook
The 2020 Yearbook reveals that the state where a baby is born makes a big difference in their chance for a strong start in life. Louisiana is home to 182,972 babies, representing 3.9 percent of the state’s population. As many as 52.8 percent live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line (in 2018, about $50,000 a year for a family of four), placing them at economic disadvantage.

Check out the state of Louisiana's babies by clicking below.
Resources to Talk to Children About Racism
It is important to talk to young children about racism in ways that are developmentally appropriate. Here are some resources that can help.

Early Care and Education in the News
Child care providers and families face increased costs as state reopens, experts say

" Considered "the business sector that supports all sectors," child care centers and the families they serve will face new challenges from the pandemic, which experts say will have far-reaching effects."

- Leigh Guidry from The Daily Advertiser
‘I Wouldn’t Give Us 30 Days’: New Orleans Child Care Centers Struggle With New Costs, Low Enrollment

" New Orleans’ child care industry was in poor health long before the coronavirus hit...Now with more than half of the city’s centers closed due to the pandemic, many are questioning whether they’ll be able to re-open at all. "

- Aubri Juhasz from WWNO
The Economic Engine of Child Care

" Childcare has long been a silent economic engine – providing the essential infrastructure for parents to work or to receive job training or other education. Childcare contributes directly to both household and business bottom lines; and without it, both families and businesses are economically handicapped."   

- Laura Alderman from The Shreveport Times
Upcoming Dates
  • July 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm: Early Literacy Commission Meeting 
  • July 22, 2020 at 1:00 pm: Early Childhood Care and Education Commission Advisory Council Meeting
About Us
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-Netto
at lsonniernetto@policyinstitutela.org.
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