4,500 Children Removed from Child Care Waiting List Due to One-Time Funding

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BATON ROUGE, La. The Louisiana Department of Education today started the process of serving 4,500 children in child care programs, removing their names from the waiting list for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which provides financial assistance to low-income families while parents are working or attending school. The action comes after Congress appropriated additional one-time child care funds to Louisiana. Families eligible to be removed from the waiting list will start receiving digital and mailed notices today and will be able to access child care using CCAP funding in the week following Labor Day at the earliest.
In 2017, the Department, which oversees CCAP as a result of the landmark Act 3 legislation of 2012, established a waiting list due to overwhelming demand from working parents. Approximately 2,500 children will remain on the waiting list after today’s actions. That number will likely return to at least 7,000 when the one-time funds have been spent.
Earlier this year, as the result of Congress passing the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the federal Office of Child Care announced additional money to the federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) grant would be made available to states this fiscal year. Louisiana is required to spend its one-time allotment of $39 million on expanding the number of available seats at child care centers, initiatives to improve the quality of care, and infant and toddler-focused programs. Approximately $28 million of the funding may directly benefit CCAP.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide affordable child care to thousands more of the hard-working families who have patiently waited for this opportunity,” said State Superintendent John White. “But it is important to remember this money is only guaranteed for one year and is only a small portion of the amount of funding needed to help our most vulnerable children.”
In order to completely clear the remainder of the waiting list, it would cost nearly $16 million, about $6,300 per child, for one year.
“Families across our state have a demonstrated need and a desire to participate in CCAP,” said Tony Davis, member of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. “We must not go back; it is of utmost importance that we continue to accommodate the growing number of families who are putting themselves on the waiting list, and while doing so, to ensure the highest quality across all providers statewide.”
Even if the waiting list was eliminated, the program would still be serving far fewer children than it was a decade ago, said Melanie Bronfin, Executive Director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. In 2009, CCAP served close to 40,000 Louisiana children; today, it serves just over 14,600.
“This is due to the huge cuts that have been made in the state funding for the program,” Bronfin added.
“We encourage our state policymakers to prioritize state funding of CCAP so that these families can continue to receive quality child care assistance while they work toward self-sustainability,” said Jonathan Pearce, President of the Child Care Association of Louisiana (CCAL). “CCAL will continue to collaborate with LDOE and other advocates to find ways to fund access to quality early childhood care and education programs.”
State and local leaders have committed to working together to develop a long-term statewide strategic plan for early childhood education and to strengthen local governance so communities can expand access, drive quality improvement and address other critical needs of their children. The first step has been the creation of the state-level Early Childhood Care and Education Commission.
In addition to addressing the CCAP waiting list, the commission must take into consideration the maximum number of at-risk children still in need of services. Louisiana is currently serving 56,588 at-risk children through various federal and state funds, but according to state data from October 2017, there are nearly 200,000 at-risk children birth to age five. This means about 70 percent more at-risk children remain eligible for assistance and may be in need of services.
Moreover, the commission must assess the gap in access to high quality, affordable child care and how it differs by age. The state serves 90 percent of its at-risk four-year-old children, for example, but it reaches just 30 percent of its at-risk three-year-old children.
The Early Childhood Care and Education Commission will convene for the first time at 1 p.m. today in Baton Rouge.

A native of New Orleans, who left her beloved New Orleans to spend twenty years of living in the land of Minnesota Not So Nice. Minnesota was full of opportunities but would learn that the soul of the state and the people who made it was just as icy cold as the temperatures. After the years and my 40th birthday flew by, I decided it was time to pack up my youngest child and come back to my roots, my birthplace the city that not only birthed me but gave me life. I would not be who I am without my New Orleans beginnings. I am all things that would challenge the belief of growing up in New Orleans. I was a 16yr old teen mother of a premature baby born with a severe medical disability. And only With the help of my mother, was it possible for me to BE! I was able to endure and survive the obstacles laid before my child and me. In a city that was built by my family, but did not allow for us to reap the benefits I overcame. Charity Hospital was my second home — a building filled with miracle workers who made it possible for my daughter to have life. I have lived a life of rainy days with peeks of sunshine, that are my children, including those not of my womb. I'm the proud mother of three and a grandmother of three. My dream was to live the life of the nursery rhyme of ”The Old Lady Who lived in a shoe,” and for the most part, I did. I cared for several children over the years as a special needs foster parent. I would learn that my love was not enough for some children, but I loved them through their pain. I'm not sure if I ever had a case of true love or came close to what love looks like on television, but I had my share of men and the mirage of love. I survived two abusive marriages. Though I longed to return to New Orleans on a daily bases, I must admit my move was one of the best decisions made for me. I am a college graduate; I was a successful entrepreneur. I coowned a soul food restaurant and catering company in Minnesota for 12 years. I developed the talent of creating custom cakes after the murder of my beloved cousin Melvin Paul. He survived Katrina only to go to Minneapolis six months later to be murdered over a parking spot dispute. But with the challenge of creating a simple wedding cake, I was able to find healing. I created the House of Cakes in honor of him. Minnesota life had me pretty materialistic. I worked to the point I do not remember much, but work and handing my children love money. I thought by having the big house on the hill, a husband, having a family, the ultimate provider and being involved in all things that matter, plus having the funds to match would cure me of what I was told was a generational curse of lack of everything from money, love to even self-love. But for the most part, that life poisoned my heart and soul. I was blinded by visions fed to me by the media. I was told I wasn't anything unless I was better than the Jones's. I lived being ok with a broken, bleeding heart. Life like this did not exist in my family while living in New Orleans from what I viewed with my eyes and soul. We may not have had all the things I acquired over the years, but we were happy, we were together. Family outside of New Orleans wasn't family anymore. We lived separate lives and had awkward moments when we bumped into each other in public. I hated living in Minnesota even though life their helped me in so many ways. I felt deep down the only way to repair it was to get back to my roots, my soul, my home, myself, my New Orleans. I'm here, and I love it. Even being in the so-called Blighted Area of New Orleans and not having all the financial and material security, I'm happy. I am determined that She, yes, New Orleans is a woman is just like me; together, we will overcome and will rise from all that tried to kill our spirit. Nothing like starting from the bottom and making your way back up!. I just know in my heart that New Orleans will provide for me. There's a bank account with funds in it owed to me by way of back pay for my ancestors. And I will receive my inheritance, and I will continue the traditions and customs of the old to keep the heartbeat of New Orleans beating. I'm down in the boot, living the life that feels right to me awaiting my destiny...

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