The lack of attention to quality early child care and education is harming Louisiana’s economic progress and qualify of life, says a coalition of 30 business, education, religious and nonprofit groups advocating for additional state funding for early care and education programs.
In a letter delivered to state lawmakers this week, the coalition—which includes groups like the Committee of 100, the Louisiana Budget Project, Louisiana Early Childhood Business Roundtable and Louisiana Association of United Ways—calls for Louisiana lawmakers to invest more in expanding access to quality early child care programs.
“High quality early care and education will prepare our students for a smart start in life, enable families to be productive in the workforce, and serve as an economic engine for local communities. That is why we support expanding access to high quality early learning across the state of Louisiana by restoring funding,” the coalition says in a joint statement.
A robust and healthy child care system will benefit the economy in Louisiana, which is facing about a $440 million budget shortfall in the budget that ends June 30 and a $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018, the coalition says.
For many Louisiana families, the cost of childcare outweighs the benefits of staying in the workplace, and unreliable child care can impact work productivity, the coalition says.
“For every dollar invested in early care and education centers, $1.78 is generated by the centers for the local economy in terms of purchased services and goods,” the coalition says. “An investment in early care and education is an investment in Louisiana’s economy. We are committed to ensuring that Louisiana’s dollars are spent locally.”