Feb 06, 2020

Investment of $85.8 Million in 2020 Would Increase Number of Children Served by Over 30 Percent 

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The Louisiana Early Childhood Care and Education Commission has released an addendum to its "LA B to 3" report that, for the second year in a row, calls for an initial state investment of $85.8 million and an increase of nearly that amount annually over the next decade to expand access to affordable, high-quality early care and learning for thousands of working families in need, particularly those with children below age 3.

The addendum, which comes a year after the original report was unanimously adopted and endorsed, also calls for community-led fundraising efforts to narrow the gap in services among 4-year-old children in-need and those who are younger. Currently, 94 percent of 4-year-old children in need have access to quality early learning, yet fewer than 7 percent of in-need children birth to age 2 and fewer than 33 percent of in-need 3-year-old children do. This lack of affordable access adversely affects the state's workforce, economy and communities.

"The state made an initial appropriation during the 2019 legislative session of almost $20 million to increase access to quality seats, including both pre-K seats for 4-year-olds, as well as a small number of birth to 3-year-old seats," said Stephanie Hilferty (R-Metairie), co-chair of the commission who sponsored legislation to form the group. "While that investment is a good start, Louisiana must do more. We need to make a strong commitment in 2020."

"By investing $85.8 million this year, Louisiana can increase the number of in-need children birth to age 3 served in quality programs by more than 30 percent, as well as increase the amount of money given to each site providing services," said Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), co-chair of the commission. "Incremental increases over the next decade could dramatically change the landscape of Louisiana's early care and education system."

In the addendum, the Commission stands by the initial recommendations made in the "LA B to 3" report to:

  • Expand quality seats in Louisiana to serve 114,000 children in need, prioritizing children birth to three, a substantial increase from the only 22,000 served today;
  • Invest $85.8 million of state funds to launch "LA B to 3," and invest in increases of nearly that amount every year for 10 years; and 
  • Expand existing family resources for all families, regardless of need, that support nurturing relationships with young children.

It also puts forth the following new recommendations to:

  • Continue to find funding sources to utilize the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund, a state matching program that will provide $1 for every $1 raised by the local government to improve and expand early childhood education; and 
  • Study long-term solutions for the continued expansion of "LA B to 3" through local, private, and philanthropic contributions to early care and education in Louisiana.

Read the full "LA B to 3" report addendum.

"With this bold vision, we can position Louisiana to shift its economic reality," said Assistant State Superintendent of Education Jessica Baghian. "Children need quality early learning to prepare them for success in school and beyond. Their families need the support to productively participate in the state's workforce. The investment can improve the lived experience of our citizens and put Louisiana on track to attract new industries."

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