Ready Louisiana Coalition Celebrates Historic Investment in Child Care Assistance

Published 3:23 pm Monday, June 12, 2023

Louisiana lawmakers prioritized young children and their parents by allocating $44 million in new funding to early care and education

 BATON ROUGE, LA (June 12, 2023) – In the final hours of the 2023 legislative session, Louisiana lawmakers prioritized young children and their parents by allocating $44 million in new funding to early care and education. This represents the largest state investment into the Child Care Assistance Program in over a decade.

With child care often representing the largest portion of a family’s budget, and child care breakdowns costing Louisiana businesses over $760 million every year, this truly represents an investment in children, families, and businesses. The Ready Louisiana Coalition applauds the legislators who voted for this measure, and in particular thanks Rep. Zee Zeringue, the author of HB 1, and the five other legislators who served on the bill’s conference committee for their leadership: Speaker Clay Schexnayder, Representative Jason Hughes, President Page Cortez, Senator Bodi White, and Senator Gregory Tarver.

“A child’s earliest years are the most crucial years, with 90% of brain development occurring before age four,” explains Dr. Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. “This investment means more children are able to have high-quality early learning experiences in this period, setting them up for success in school and in life.”

“As the owner of a high-quality child care center, I see firsthand the role that child care plays in helping families get by and get ahead,” says Rochelle Wilcox, co-founder of For Providers By Providers. “This investment is going to help more parents access what they need, more children arrive at school kindergarten-ready, and more families live stable, empowered lives.”

“Accessible, affordable childcare is truly a business issue, which is why we have been so proud to be a part of the Ready Louisiana Coalition,” says Dr. Tim Magner, president of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. “Our state’s economy loses $1.3 billion every year due to childcare breakdowns, and investing in young children yields a 12-18% return-on-investment. We commend legislators for their foresight on this issue.”

“Louisiana lawmakers heard their constituents loud and clear on this issue,” says Ashley Shelton, executive director of the Power Coalition. “Budgets reflect our priorities, what people in power actually value, and this investment is a step in the right direction. We will use all the tools available in a democracy to ensure that the people at the margins of the margins continue to be centered in the policies that impact them most.”

“The wave of support for early care and education only continues to grow in Louisiana,” adds Charmaine Caccioppi, United Way of Southeast Louisiana executive vice president and chief operating officer. “This new funding is the result of businesses, nonprofits, child care providers, parents, and so many others uniting their voices to show legislators that investing in children must be our top priority. We are grateful for the $44 million and will continue to advocate until every young child can access quality early childhood education.”

###

About the Ready Louisiana Coalition: The Ready Louisiana Coalition, an alliance of over 150 members representing businesses, chambers of commerce, advocacy groups, and civic organizations, is committed to securing increased investments in quality early care and education. The Child Care Assistance Program being lost as a result of expiring federal funds. To learn more about the Ready Louisiana helps working and in-school low-income parents secure quality child care. Coalition members wrote emails, made phone calls, met in person, secured billboard and newspaper ad space, and more during the 2023 legislative session in hopes of saving 16,000 child care seats that were Coalition, visit www.readylouisiana.org.