La. should focus on child care for youngest children

The American Press

Louisiana needs to improve its availability of affordable child care. The numbers are startling, especially when you consider the nearly 212,000 children ages birth to 4 statewide who are part of low-income families.

Of those eligible for public programs, only 5 percent are infants, 9 percent are 1-year-olds, and 13 percent are 2-year-olds.

These statistics improve for 3-year-olds (35 percent) and 4-year-olds (93 percent).

The numbers increase with older children, but the state certainly is lacking when it comes to offering care for our youngest. And national experts are taking notice.

Louise Stoney is the co-founder of the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance and the Opportunities Exchange. The Advocate reported her remarks to the Early Childhood Care and Education Commission — a 37-member panel that is assigned with trying to research ways to open up care and education for children from birth to 4 years old. State lawmakers will hear recommendations from the commission in February.

Stoney acknowledged the cost associated with opening more care for children, especially considering the state’s ongoing budget problems. It usually costs thousands of dollars more per child to care for an infant and toddler than it does for a 3 or 4-year-old. State financial assistance helps, but still leaves the costs high.

Children need this care during these developmental years. It is considered a way to make sure they are ready once they start Kindergarten. Plus, it helps those mothers who have to return to work to support a young child.

Where do these solutions lie? Stoney said the money needs to come from the local, state and federal levels. Also, the state shouldn’t make the mistake of overbuilding care centers until existing ones are full.

Stoney acknowledged that there isn’t “enough money to do all that we want to do.” But doing nothing will just make a bad problem worse.

Offering child care for poor families is key, but it’s going to take money for that to happen. The Early Childhood Care and Education Commission should take the remarks from Stoney and other experts and turn them into possible solutions that can turn these dismal figures around.

””Early Childhood care graphic

Local News

Pair has passion for civic engagement

Local News

Nonprofit director to retire: Hickman has worked for BArc for 39 years

Local News

Christian Youth Theater opens season with ‘Adam’s Family’

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Let health experts call shots

high-school Football

Jennings High comes to aid of former foe

Local News

Victims of Ida get glimpse of journey ahead

Local News

Support workers not pleased with supplemental pay plan in Jeff Davis

Local News

Only a fraction of funding reimbursed to Cameron by FEMA

Local News

15 child deaths attributed to COVID in La.

Local News

School Board extends COVID-related sick leave policy

Local News

Kind Vibes Only: CPSO hosts one-mile anti-bullying walk

Local News

Sowela rolls out fifth annual Flying Tigers Car Show

Local News

Parents urge Jeff Davis School Board to oppose any vaccine mandate

Local News

City hiring two agencies to help with disaster recovery financial advocacy

Crime

Man arrested in Monday shooting near McNeese campus

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:State’s election system secure

Local News

Transfer of Mallard Cove Golf Course to Chennault complete

Local News

Maplewood schools will remain closed Thursday

Local News

Kinder Future Farmers of America collect, deliver fuel to Lafourche Parish

Local Business News

Disaster assistance request for SW La. makes it to budget

Local Business News

Area LyondellBasell plant receives ISCC PLUS certification

Local Business News

When it comes to headwear, Anne Monlezun and Kevin Mattingly have got you covered

Local Business News

Elizabeth Jimney column: Building a website that works for you

Local Business News

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business