Ready Louisiana Fall Special Session Joint Statement

The early care and education sector is the industry that allows all other industries to go to work. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this sector is financially vulnerable at a time when access to quality early care and education is increasingly critical but out of reach for too many Louisiana families. Survey results from the Louisiana Association of United Ways found that changes in child care access during the pandemic led to a loss of jobs for 28% of ALICE (asset-limited, income-constrained, employed) caregivers and 15% of ALICE caregivers reducing their work hours.

 

The Ready Louisiana Coalition, a bipartisan group of more than 90 Chambers of Commerce, civic organizations, and advocacy organizations, urges local, state, and federal leaders to invest in early care and education to meet the needs of Louisiana families and businesses as the pandemic continues and our economy recovers. Investing in early care and education prepares our youngest children for school success, allows their parents to go to work, provides businesses with a reliable workforce, and pays dividends into our economy.

 

We urge our leaders:

  • At the local level, to investing in early care and education for children aged birth to three, using federal emergency funds or the upcoming budget cycle. A dollar-for-dollar state match may be available as funds from dedicated sources flow into the Louisiana Early Childhood Education Fund.

  • At the state level, to invest additional funding toward helping families access early care and education. To continue to serve the children of the essential workers on the front lines of the pandemic when federal funds are exhausted, $25 million is needed. To begin closing the access gap, the state must invest $86 million a year for 10 years, as outlined in the state’s LA B to 3 plan.

  • At the federal level, to dedicate at least $45 million a month in funding for the duration of the pandemic to stabilize the child care sector and maintain the state’s supply of child care providers.

 

Ninety percent of brain development takes place between birth and age four. The brain is like a house, and the foundation is built during the early years. While it is possible to go back and repair a weak foundation, it is extremely difficult and expensive to do so.

 

Research shows that children who receive high-quality early care and education experience long-term improved outcomes in education, health, and social behaviors. However, high-quality child care is neither accessible nor affordable for many families in Louisiana. Currently, the cost of child care is equivalent to an annual tuition at a public college, but parents don’t have 18 years to save for it. Less than 15% of Louisiana’s at-risk children, aged birth to three, have access to publicly funded early care and education.

 

This proves very difficult for both working families and businesses, and results in Louisiana employers losing hundreds of millions every year from employee absences and turnover due to child care issues. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Louisiana’s economy lost $1.1 billion annually due to child care breakdowns. Meanwhile, the pandemic is having a devastating impact on the child care sector, causing many child care providers to close--some, permanently. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children has found that in the first three months of the pandemic, the early care and education sector had lost an estimated $137.5 million. Louisiana cannot afford to lose its capacity to offer early care and education to its working parents.

 

We know that investing in early care and education is one of the best investments we can make, with a return on investment of up to 13% per year. We know that the lack of affordable, quality early care affects not only the workforce of tomorrow, but also has a substantial impact on the workforce of today, in terms of both worker participation and productivity. Finally, we know that providing children with high-quality early care and education will help to ensure that they are prepared to be successful students and thriving members in their communities. Now, more than ever, Louisiana needs to invest resources in high-quality early care and education.

The Following 92 Organizations Join In Support of This Statement
​Business Organizations
  1. Baton Rouge Area Chamber
  2. Business Council of New Orleans
  3. Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce 
  4. Chamber Southwest Louisiana
  5. Citizens for One Greater New Orleans
  6. Committee of 100
  7. Committee of 100 of Northwest Louisiana
  8. East St. Tammany Chamber
  9. Gambel Communications
  10. Greater New Orleans Inc.
  11. Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
  12. Gulf Coast Resources Louisiana
  13. Hayes Strategic Solutions
  14. Hispanic Chamber of New Orleans
  15. Innovations in Education
  16. Jefferson Business Council
  17. Jefferson Chamber
  18. Kenner Business Association
  19. Link Restaurant Group
  20. Louisiana Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives
  21. Louisiana Early Childhood Business Roundtable
  22. Monroe Chamber of Commerce
  23. MMB LA LLC
  24. Natchitoches Chamber
  25. New Orleans Business Alliance
  26. New Orleans Chamber
  27. New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce
  28. North Louisiana Economic Partnership
  29. Northshore Business Council 
  30. One Acadiana
  31. River Region Chamber of Commerce
  32. Ruston Lincoln Chamber of Commerce
  33. ResourceFull Consulting 
  34. Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance
  35. St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce
  36. The New Orleans Coalition
​United Ways
  1. Capital Area United Way
  2. Louisiana Association of United Ways
  3. St. John United Way
  4. St. Landry Evangeline United Way
  5. United Way of Acadiana
  6. United Way of Central Louisiana 
  7. United Way of Iberia
  8. United Way of Northeast Louisiana
  9. United Way of Northwest Louisiana
  10. United Way of Southeast Louisiana
  11. United Way of Southwest Louisiana
  12. Women United – United Way of Southeast Louisiana
  13. Women United – United Way of Southwest Louisiana
  14. Women United – St. Landry Evangeline United Way
Faith Organizsations
  1. Louisiana Association of United Ways
  2. St. John United Way
​Community & Advocacy Organizations
  1. Agenda for Children 
  2. American Association of University Women of 
         Louisiana
  3. Beary Cherry Tree
  4. Carlie Care Kids
  5. Center for Development and Learning
  6. Child Care Association of Louisiana 
  7. Children’s Coalition of Northeast Louisiana  
  8. Citizens for One Greater New Orleans 
  9. Education's Next Horizons 
  10. Education Reform Now Louisiana
  11. Health and Education Alliance of Louisiana
  12. Independent Women’s Organization
  13. Institute of Mental Hygiene  
  14. Jefferson Early Childhood Collaborative Network
  15. Kids of Excellence
  16. Kingsley House
  17. League of Women Voters of Louisiana 
  18. Lift Louisiana
  19. Louisiana Budget Project
  20. Louisiana CASA
  21. Louisiana Children’s Museum
  22. Louisiana Chapter - American Association of Pediatrics
  23. Louisiana NOW
  24. Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families
  25. Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
  26. Louisiana Progress
  27. Louisiana Public Health Institute
  28. National Council of 100 Black Women, Greater New Orleans Chapter
  29. New Orleans Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
  30. New Orleans NOW
  31. Orleans Public Education Network
  32. Ready Start Jefferson
  33. Save the Children Action Network
  34. Step Forward
  35. Stand for Children Louisiana
  36. The Early Childhood Development Center of Avoyelles
  37. The Education Trust
  38. The Power Coalition for Equity & Justice
  39. Urban League of Louisiana
  40. Volunteers of America Greater Baton Rouge