Lawmakers approve $44 million in funding to help low-income families afford childcare

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Lawmakers approve $44 million in new funding for the Child Care Assistance Program to provide financial assistance to low-income families statewide. Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Director Libbie Sonnier says this investment will help thousands of people across the state.

“That replaces 3,500 seats of 16 thousand childcare seats we’re about to lose. So we’re grateful that we’re going to be able to hold on to 3,500 but we still have a lot of families that are going to lose access to childcare.”

The state was relying on COVID relief money to keep the program afloat but the new funding allows over 3500 children to continue their early learning. With childcare often representing a large portion of a family’s budget, and childcare breakdowns costing Louisiana businesses over $760 million every year, however, Sonnier believes…

“What we really need is a $150 million investment every year for a decade to be able to serve the majority of our at-risk birth to four in the state.”

Sonnier says early childcare and education was only 1.2 percent of Governor John Bel Edward’s original $52 million 2023-24 fiscal budget.

“It’s really not that much and overall what the state invests in early care and education it’s less than half of 1 percent of the state’s budget. And so if we say children are priority, we really do need to invest in them when they’re young.”    

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