High-quality early care and education has a proven impact on promoting employment, reducing poverty and setting children on a path to life-long success
·The percentage of children receiving subsidies who are enrolled in higher quality child care centers doubled since the start of the program;
·The number of higher quality centers in the state more than doubled under the tax credit program;
·The number of childcare staff enrolled in professional development courses increased from more than 1200 to over 5800 individuals.
“Parents who work in Louisiana are struggling to afford early child care and education. It is a need which everyone pays for and in the average case, costs almost as much as a college education each year,” said Louisiana Policy Institute for Children Director Melanie Bronfin. “The good news is we can show even a little investment in supports for working families goes a long way. The Louisiana School Readiness Tax Credits are a real success”
“The bad news is there are more than 20,000 families in our state who qualify for help and which are not getting assistance.”
While the State of Louisiana has taken one step forward with the School Readiness Tax Credits Program, the Louisiana Policy Institute is starting meetings with Louisiana Legislators about the need to invest directly in early childhood care and education for working families. State funding for such programs over the past eight years has been cut by almost 70 percent, according to Ms. Bronfin.
“The bottom line is clear: if financial incentives are in place, child care center teachers and directors will pursue professional development to increase their credentials, improve teaching practices, and thus help children better prepare for lifelong learning,” said Ms. Bronfin.
“The State has focused on attracting higher-quality child care providers to serve high-needs children and lowering family co-payments through these tax credits. Given that over 66 percent of Louisiana children have both parents in the workforce, this is a proven a game-changer,” said Ms. Bronfin.
Added Jonathan Pearce, President, Childcare Association of Louisiana, “The School Readiness Tax Credit has helped by giving child care teachers classroom resources, such as new books, manipulatives, creative arts and dramatic play items, to enhance the learning environment. They reward the efforts of teachers that obtain higher education. This directly enhances the experience for the children in their care: A win - win for everyone! The School Readiness Tax Credits have proven to be a cost-effective tax credit for the state.”
The State of Louisiana is poised to support the continuation of the School Readiness Tax Credits, which were created in 2008 and helps leverage $80 million in federal funds for the state’s Child Care Assistance Program. Ms. Bronfin said Louisiana has invested heavily in creating a high-quality Pre-K program for four-year-olds, but supports for younger children to access affordable, quality child care and education are missing and need to be restored.
Media contact: C. Brylski/H. Harper (504) 897-6110 or (504) 460-1468
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Louisiana Policy Institute for Children
Melanie Bronfin is the Executive Director at the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, a non-partisan, non-profit, independent source of data, research and information for policy makers, stakeholders and the public at large around issues related to young children in Louisiana. The Institute develops policy proposals informed by research, best practices and the experiences of other states and performs educational and outreach activities around these recommended policy solutions.