COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update
March 25, 2020
Dear Partners,

I wanted to share a brief update about our work in response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting early care and education and all aspects of our social and economic life, the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children is working to respond to this ongoing crisis.

We have disseminated a statewide survey to gather data on the impact that COVID-19 is having on our child care providers, i n partnership with Agenda for Children, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Louisiana Association of United Ways, and resource & referral agencies across the state. An initial analysis of the survey findings will be used to inform policy and practice recommendations to stabilize and support the early care and education sector during this extraordinary time.

We already have national data from the National Association for the Education of Young Children suggesting that 49% of child care providers are currently losing money due to parents being unable to pay, while some providers are closing altogether to protect their employees and the children they serve from the spread of COVID-19. Disturbingly, only 11% of the more than 6,000 surveyed providers are confident in their ability to reopen their businesses after an indefinite closure.

LPIC is also recommending policy changes needed to support children and families and stabilize the early care and education sector. Examples include waivers of co-pay requirements for families receiving child care assistance whose work has been affected by COVID-19, removing attendance requirements for child care subsidies, and requiring practice changes to protect the health of child care workers and families.

The fact is, having access to reliable, affordable child care is what allows parents to go to work. Access to quality early care and education was a problem before COVID-19. If only 11% of existing providers in our state are able to remain open through this crisis or reopen after this crisis abates, as a national survey suggests, lack of access to quality early care and education will cripple Louisiana’s recovery efforts and grind our economy to a standstill. Our goal is to ensure that Louisiana's child care workforce and young children and working parents who are getting us through the crisis are being supported during this difficult time.

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

  • COVID-19 Statewide Resources
  • LPIC Releases New Report: Balancing Act
  • 2020 U.S. Census is Underway!
  • Early Care and Education in the News
  • Upcoming Dates
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Statewide Resources
LPIC Releases New Report: Balancing Act
The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children (LPIC) recently released a report, Balancing Act: The Financial Challenges of Child Care Facing Louisiana’s Working Families. LPIC, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Education, conducted a survey of families on the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) waiting list. Results from the survey show the significant challenges facing working families who must balance the care and education of their children with their other basic needs.
2020 U.S. Census is Underway!
It's time to complete the 2020 Census! It has never been easier to respond on your own, whether online, over the phone or by mail—all without having to meet a census taker. 

Children birth to five are undercounted in the census at a higher rate than any other age group . Census data directly impacts schools including classroom sizes, food in children's bellies, books for students and more. Each person who goes uncounted costs Louisiana $2,291.

Let's make sure that we count everyone in the 2020 Census, especially our children!
Early Care and Education in the News
Louisiana can handle a few weeks of coronavirus closures. Any longer could cause budget problems.

" The Center of Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C. think tank, said Thursday that Louisiana was one of the least prepared to weather the coronavirus impact because the state’s income is heavily dependent on taxes from now falling energy production and with services weakened by years of budget cuts.

Officials in Louisiana are more optimistic saying the state starts off in pretty good fiscal position. The rainy-day fund is flush. Surplus money is in pocket from last year with more calculated to come in this year and even more projected for next.
Still, they agree the task is suddenly daunting. "

- Mark Ballard from The Advocate
Child Care in Crisis: Understanding the Effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic

To understand the breadth of the deepening crisis, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) shared a brief survey with child care programs to learn more about the challenges they are facing across states and settings, and the impact a closure without significant public support would have on a program moving forward. 

- Brief from The National Association for the Education of Young Children
Most Louisiana families on child care aid waitlist forego basic needs to cover care, report says

"The majority of Louisiana families waiting to receive child care assistance are sacrificing basic necessities and borrowing money to pay for child care services, according to a new Louisiana Policy Institute for Children  report  released Tuesday, March 17."


- Kaylee Poche from Gambit
Upcoming Dates
  • April 20-21 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) Meeting
  • May 5 Early Ed Day at the Capitol
  • May 13 Early Childhood Care and Education Commission Advisory Council Meeting
  • May 19 Children's Cabinet (CCAB) Advisory Board 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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