September 26, 2019
In this issue:

  • Candidates Should Focus on Youngest Louisianans
  • Early Childhood Care and Education Commission Begins 2019 Meetings
  • Save the Date: Upcoming Meetings of Interest 
Candidates Should Focus on Youngest Louisianans
In a recent op-ed in the Advocate, the Policy Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Libbie Sonnier-Netto, makes the case for prioritizing early care and education and urges voters to make sure they are supporting candidates who believe that an investment in early care and education is an investment in our state’s future leaders. “With the 2019 election season in full swing,” she says, “Louisianans and our elected officials must make early care and education a priority in order to secure a stronger future for our state.”

In her response to the opinion piece, Dr. Roberta Vicari, president of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, applauds Dr. Sonnier-Netto, and she attests that the research data is clear: “Prenatal development and early experiences affect the very development of the brain architecture, which provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health.”

Retired Major General Ronald Richard also responded to the op-ed , saying “We have a serious problem when 75% of young people in Louisiana cannot qualify for the military, the third highest rate in the country.” He points to research from the nonprofit Mission: Readiness, which shows high-quality early care and education programs can support children’s success and military readiness.

The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Major General Richard all support the bipartisan Ready Louisiana Coalition , a statewide coalition seeking sufficient investment in quality, affordable early care and education in Louisiana. Sixty-two organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, United Ways, multiple advocacy and community organizations, have signed onto the Coalition’s Joint Statement of Support asking all candidates running for governor, the Legislature and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to include a comprehensive plank providing for a substantial increase in investment in early care and education in their platforms. Currently, our state invests less than 1% of its state general funds on early care and education.
According to a poll commissioned by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, this is a critical bipartisan issue. Eighty-six percent of likely voters in Louisiana said that quality, affordable care for children is an important issue in their communities, and 64% believe that government should have some role in providing child care. Increasing state funding for quality child care for working parents had 62% of support from likely Louisiana voters, including 50% of conservatives, 70% of moderates and 86% of liberals.
   
We encourage Louisianans to make sure all candidates for public office are informed and prioritize young children have access to quality, early care and education while their parents work. For more information on the 2019 elections, check out our website www.policyinstitutela.org/2019-elections .
Early Childhood Care and Education Commission Begins 2019 Meetings
Act 639 of the 2018 Legislative Session established the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission to create a vision and framework for the future of early childhood care and education in Louisiana. The law mandates that the Commission provide reports to the Legislature, the Governor, the state Superintendent and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education prior to the 2019 and 2020 Legislative Sessions. 

After its first year, the Commission released its recommendations for improving early care and education in Louisiana in January 2019. The Commission’s report, Funding Our Future: LA B to 3 , recommended that the state build on its success with LA 4, which currently serves over 90% of Louisiana’s low income four year olds, with a state investment of $85.8 million and an increase of nearly that amount annually over the next decade through combined local, state, federal and private funds. These funds will expand quality seats to serve 114,000 children in need, prioritizing birth to age three, an increase from only 22,000 served today in that age range, and strengthen resources for all families, regardless of need, that support nurturing relationships with young children. 

The Commission deferred to the current year to study a number of additional issues, including:

  • Locally-driven decision making: To study the Ready Start pilots where (a) the community establishes a formal local governance structure for shared decision making, (b) continually measures the need for affordable access and available resources and services for children ages birth through four, (c) identifies and maximizes resources and (d) determines how future access and quality dollars should be spent. 
  • Quality: To study promising practices in evidence-based programs that provide guidance and assist families on healthy development and positive adult-child relationships, particularly for infants and toddlers. Investments should be made in the most effective and impactful programs. 
  • Affordability and Access: To study best practices, such as shared services, to maximize investments and ensure providers stay in business, while maintaining affordability for families. 
  • Public Awareness and Collaboration: To identify opportunities for greater collaboration between and coordinated communication from stakeholder groups—state agencies, business and industry, workforce development, philanthropy—to sustain funding.

In the Commission's second year, it has met twice. The August meeting was a review of year one, the progress on the LA B to 3 plan, and the priorities for year two. Click here for the PowerPoint presentation from August. In September the Commission received a report about the Ready Start Networks that are piloting local governance models at the district level. They also addressed public awareness and coordinated communication through a presentation of an LA B to 3 Communication Toolkit developed by the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. Click here for the PowerPoint presentation from September.

The next meeting of the Commission will be held on November 18 from noon to 3:00 pm (see details below).
Save the Date: Upcoming Meetings of Interest
The following meetings are scheduled for October and November 2019. Agendas, materials, and a link for live streaming are posted approximately a week before each meeting on the BESE website .

Early Literacy Commission
  • October 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm (Location: Room TBD, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge)

Children’s Cabinet Advisory Board
  • October 15, 2019 at 1:00 pm (Location: Rooms 1-136 A&B, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge)

State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)
  • October 15-16, 2019 at 9:00 am (Location: Louisiana Purchase Room 1-100, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge)

Early Childhood Care and Education Advisory Council
  • November 13, 2019 at 1:00 pm (Location: Thomas Jefferson Room 1-136, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge)

Early Childhood Care and Education Commission
  • November 18, 2019 at 12:00 pm (Location: Thomas Jefferson Room 1-136, Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge)
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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