Early Ed and the State Budget
With little more than a week left to go in the 2019 Legislation Session, the state budget bill, House Bill 105, has now passed the House and passed out of the Senate Finance Committee to the Senate floor. Next step is to pass the Senate floor, and then it will probably go into Conference Committee before heading to the Governor.  It should be noted that amendments are likely to happen at each step in the process.

Although House Bill 105 started its path with $0 new dollars for early care and education, at this point in the process it now contains a total of $15.2 million in new funds for early ed as follows: 

New funds for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)

This is the first time in ten years that the Legislature has added state general funds into CCAP.  
  • $2.267 million in new state dollars to raise the subsidy rates for the current 15,000 children in the program. Louisiana is under federal corrective action for the federal block grant that funds the subsidies because our rates are so low.  
  • $8.9 million in new state dollars to restore CCAP slots. This will fund 1,450 CCAP slots out of the 5,500 children on the CCAP waitlist or are authorized and unfunded.  

However, the bad news is this still leaves 4,050 children waiting for CCAP funding. To serve the additional 4,050 children would take an additional $25 million.   

CCAP is the only state administered program for children birth to age three, and is for low-income families whose parents are working, in school or job training. CCAP has been cut dramatically over the last ten years. 

New funds for 4 year old Pre-K

  • $4 million in new state dollars to cover 800 Pre-K slots that are ending due to an expiring federal grant.    
Early Ed Day at the Capitol a Huge Success!
It was a sea of green last Tuesday as over 120 business, civic and education leaders took to the Capitol to advocate for more funding for early care and education. 

Participants spoke with dozens of legislators throughout the day, and during the standing-room-only lunch, Governor John Bel Edwards pledged an additional $4.3 million to the Child Care Assistance Program. For more information, view Governor wants $4.3M more for early childhood education in new pledge of support; here's why (The Advocate) and Advocates push for early childhood education at the Capitol (WWL Radio), and the video of the luncheon presentations.

Special thanks to everyone who made the 2019 Early Ed Day at the Capitol such a huge success!
Lack of High Quality Care for Infants and Toddlers a National Focus
The lack of affordable quality child care is a national crisis. In 35 states, families pay more for child care than for mortgages, and in no state does the average cost of infant or toddler care meet the federal definition of affordable. Americans spend roughly six times less on toddler and infant education than we do on K-12, which shortchanges our children exactly when the potential benefit is greatest.

A recent op-ed in the New York Times entitled How to End the Child Care Crisis explains the importance of quality early childhood care and education, which leads to success in school, increased earnings, improved health, stronger families and reduced crime rates. The piece also proposes four key steps needed to take to address the child care crisis:
  1. Improving compensation for early-childhood educators so that they earn the same as schoolteachers
  2. An infusion of public funding for child care subsidies that makes a system of sliding-scale tuition possible
  3. Public financing of teacher training
  4. Six months of paid parental leave to help address the shortage of infant child care and allow critical family bonds to develop.

The op-ed concludes by saying, “Quality early care and education is not a luxury. It is a fundamental right we must guarantee for every child and every family.”
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 Melanie Bronfin, mmbronfin@policyinstitutela.org.